CNHS - Begbie Hall - Victoria, BC
N 48° 25.869 W 123° 19.763
10U E 475634 N 5364274
Quick Description: Begbie Hall, Nurses' residence at the Royal Jubilee Hospital.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 1/10/2008 9:41:17 PM
Waymark Code: WM2YGR
Begbie Hall is one of 5 former nursing residences across Canada to be recognized not for the architecture of the buildings but for their integral part in the development of the nursing culture. These buildings were the base where the training and professionalism of nurses was nurtured. It was also central to the nurse’s social life and development of their unique culture.
In the 1800s and early 1900s Canadian hospitals evolved from institutions dedicated to custodial care of the poverty-stricken to centers of scientific medicine. This required a very skilled nursing workforce. Hospitals began to adopt the "Nightingale" system of nursing that was spearheaded decades earlier by Florence Nightingale. This system brought respectability and professionalism to the nursing field along with cleaner and safer working conditions. As a side note, in Florence Nightingales time, 90% of people who entered a hospital died whereas those who didn't go to hospitals (the rich) but had similar problems had only a 60% mortality rate.
The School of Nursing at the Royal Jubilee Hospital was inaugurated on December 16, 1891 becoming the first school of nursing in BC. The first class had an enrollment of 6 students and was a 2 year course. The first residence was built in 1909 accommodating 25 nurses. It was expanded in 1918 and still is in use today by other hospital departments.
In 1929 the building that would become Begbie Hall was built. It would house 209 students in 57 single and 74 double rooms located on all 3 floors. The idea of nursing residences was to attract middle-class girls to nursing and to reassure their parents that their unmarried daughters were well chaperoned and protected while away from home. Curfews were enforced and nurses were not allowed to live outside the hospital.
Although the building is no longer used as a residence, it continues to be an important area of the Royal Jubilee with many outreach and outpatient programs operating from here.
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