Manitoba Nurse: Isabel M. Stewart

stewartA 1902 graduate of Winnipeg General Hospital (WGH) Training School for Nurses, Isabel M. Stewart was a founder of the WGH Nursing Alumnae and member of the first legislative committee that worked toward establishment of the Manitoba Association of Graduate Nurses. 

She obtained a diploma in hospital economics (1909), Bachelor of Science (1911) and a Master of Arts (1913) degrees from Columbia University. She remained on the staff of the Department of Nursing at Teachers College, Columbia, serving as Director from 1925 to 1948 and starting the first program for teachers of nursing. An active member of the executive of the Education Committee of the National League for Nursing (NLN), she was the driving force behind the preparation of the 1917, 1927, and 1937 NLN curriculum guides. As chair of the Education Committee of the International Council of Nurses from 1925-47, she had an international impact on standards of nursing education and standardization of nursing curriculum. Her curriculum guide, The Educational Program of the School of Nursing was distributed in translation to countries worldwide. She also played a leading role in organizing nursing education during both World Wars I and II. 

A prolific writer, Isabel M. Stewart authored books on nursing history and education, 123 articles and 20 monographs. Her extensive editorial work included nearly 20 years as editor of Nursing Education. Her outstanding contributions were recognized through many awards, including honorary degrees from three universities (Western Reserve, 1948; Columbia, 1954; Manitoba, 1956); a medal from the Government of Finland from her humanitarian work; Florence Nightingale Award from the Red Cross Society; a chair in her name at Columbia University and honorary life memberships from several organizations, including the CNA.

1908                To Teachers College, Columbia University, New York to take course in Hospital Economics and Institutional Management established by M. Adelaide Nutting. 
1909 Diploma in Hospital Economics, Teachers College, Columbia University. Became assistant to Professor Nutting. 
1910 Developed first program for preparation of teachers in schools of nursing. Honorary membership in Swedish Nursing Association.
1911 Bachelor of Science degree, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, June 7, 1911.  
1913 Master of Arts degree, Columbia University, New York. Master of Education degree, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York., June 4, 1913; the first nurse to receive a master's degree at Columbia University.
1914-19  Secretary to the Education Committee of the National League of Nursing (NLN) from 1914 to 1919. Was Chair of the Committee from 1920 -1937, then honorary chair.  
WW1 Chair of the Vassar Training program.  
1916-21 Editor of the Department of Nursing Education, American Journal of Nursing.  
1917 Appointed Assistant Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. Was a major author of the first NLN Curriculum Guide. The 1927 and 1937 revisions were prepared under her direction.  
1920 Registered as a Registered Nurse in the State of New York, #7922.
1923 Appointed Associate Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York.  
1925-47 Chair of Education Committee, International Council of nurses (ICN). Her curriculum guide The Educational Program of the School of Nursing was distributed in translation to several countries through the ICN and Red Cross Society. Was also a member of the Florence Nightingale International Foundation and an advisory member of the Florence Nightingale Memorial Foundation Committee.  
1925-48 Appointed Professor, succeeding Mary Adelaide Nutting as Director of the School of Nursing Education, Teachers College, Columbia University. She held this position until her retirement in 1948. Credited with developing teacher training in the department. During her tenure, students first began to qualify for doctoral degrees.  
1927 Received a medallion from Columbia University, New York.  
1928 Honorary member of the History of Nursing Society of McGill University, Montreal, Quebec. 
1940 Instigated formation of the U.S. National Council for National Defence. Member of Pi Lambda Theta.
1944  Elected second vice-president of the American Council on Education.
1945 Life member of the Winnipeg General Hospital Alumnae Association.
1946 Finland Medal for Humanitarian Work.
1947 Mary Adelaide Nutting Award and Medallion, American Red Cross. 
1948 Honorary Doctor of Laws, Western Reserve University, Cleveland, June 16, 1948. 
1950 Completed a study of post-graduate education for the ICN.  
1954 Honorary Doctor of Human Letters, Columbia University, New York. Silver Bicentennial Medallion, Columbia University, New York.  
1955 Florence Nightingale Medal, International Committee of the Red Cross.  
1956 Honorary Doctor of Laws, The University of Manitoba, May 23, 1954.  
1959 To mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Department of Nursing at Teachers College, a chair was endowed, named the Isabel Maitland Stewart Research Professorship in her honour.  
1960 Honorary Life Member of The University of Manitoba Nursing Alumni Association.  
1963 Honorary Life Member of the Canadian Nurses Association. MARN donated $5,000 to the Canadian Nurses Foundation in Isabel Maitland Stewart's name to recognize her contribution to the establishment of the Association. Isabel Maitland Stewart died October 5, 1963 at the home of her nephew, Henry E. Sharpe, in New Jersey.

Sources: Winnipeg General Hospital/Health Sciences Centre Nursing Alumnae Association Archives (articles, photographs, artifacts).