Albeit, KFSN closed its doors in 1976, the importance of the school is relevant in that “The education and practice of nursing has finally caught up with what Kaiser nurses were taught over 70 years ago”. KFSN laid the foundation for nursing within Kaiser Permanente and has a legacy that continues today.
Oakland Medical Center’s Rich History is being told
The 2015 opening of the new Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center offered a unique opportunity to commemorate KFSN’s contribution to the heritage of Kaiser Permanente. Medical Center planners set aside space in the main corridor of the new specialty Medical Office Building for the recounting of Oakland’s history. The KFSN Alumni Association collaborated with Medical Center leaders and the Kaiser Permanente Heritage Resources staff to develop a portion of the display to recognize the School of Nursing and the important place that it had in the history of the organization.
Furthermore, the Alumni Association raised funds to commission a life-sized bronze sculpture of a Kaiser student nurse that was gifted to the Oakland Medical Center, home of KFSN. The sculpture, entitled Nursing: The Heart of Health Care, not only commemorates KFSN and its legacy, but also honors all nurses and the profession. The likeness of the student nurse with a child reminds passers-by of the essential contribution nurses make to the health of the community and the care they provide to all patients. The sculpture was created by Betty Saletta from Oakdale, California and dedicated in June 2015. It is located in the plaza between the parking structure and the entrance to the hospital. A generous contribution from Kaiser Permanente closed the gap in funds raised by alumni and friends.
The Legacy Continues
The legacy of KFSN continues through the telling of the story of KFSN and the granting of scholarships to nursing students. An award winning video, The Legacy of Nursing: Honoring Our Past, was produced with the voices of alumni in 2016 by Kaiser Permanente’s Nurse Scholars Academy and Kaiser Permanente MultiMedia Department. A second video was also produced entitled: Memorable Care Experiences. Both videos are available at https://nursescholars.kaiserpermanente.org/story/legacy. An article, Kaiser’s School of Nursing: a 70 year Legacy of Disruptive Innovation, was published in Nursing Administrative Quarterly in January 2018. Documentation of the history of the school and its legacy and how it relates to nursing education and practice today continued through the writing the story of KFSN. The book, Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing-A Legacy of Disruptive Innovation, 1947-1976, was published June 2020 by Moss Communications.
Yearly, scholarship are granted to nursing students to assist them in meeting their financial goals to continue their nursing education. A minimum of $10, 000 is targeted each year for scholarships. The amount granted is dependent upon money raised for the scholarships. The single largest source of funds is from donations from alumni and friends. Proceeds from the sales of maquettes (miniatures of the sculpture) and from the sale of the book also go into the Legacy Scholarship Fund. An annual corporate contribution from Kaiser Permanent which assists with overhead costs enables the full amount donated to go to scholarships. Community Initiatives, a 501(c)(3) organization, serves as KFSN Alumni Association’s fiscal sponsor, thus all contribution are tax-exempt, as allowed by law.
It was evident that Lincoln Cushing’s on-line presentation on November 7 peaked his audience’s interest in Kaiser Permanente’s rich history. The history of KP continues to be richly revealed in the recently released book about the Kaiser school of nursing...
The 2002 Board of Directors, under the leadership of Phyllis Moroney, had an unfaltering vision to ensure that KFSN is not forgotten. The Board’s journey began with the commissioning of the sculpture of the Kaiser Student Nurse and its dedication to the Oakland Medical Center in 2015. The journey concludes with the completion of the book, Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing: A Legacy of Disruptive Innovation, 1947-1976. The book not only ensures the School is not forgotten, but also documents its place in the rich history of Kaiser Permanente (KP) and gives voice to the KFSN’s legacy of disruptive innovation in nursing education and describing its ongoing relevance.
It is most fitting that the timing of publication coincides with the 75th anniversary of the founding of KP, since it recognizes nursing’s integral role in the successful implementation of this revolutionary approach to the delivery of health care. The 2020 publication has additional special significance as 2020 is designated by the W.H.O. as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife; it is the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale; and it is marked by the pandemic caused by the COVID19 virus, calling upon nurses everywhere to care for pandemic victims, exemplifying nursing as the Heart of Health Care.
This volume is a product of contributions by all graduates and instructors– many through sharing the stories that gave structure to the book – all, through living those stories, thus shaping our history and legacy. Steve Gilford, Kaiser Historian, took the stories from alumni and material from the Archives, to create this documentation of KFSN. Terri Moss served as project leader in the endeavor to write the book and her company, Moss Communications, was our publisher. The KFSNAA Editorial Board members represented the alumni in the journey. We are also most grateful to KP nursing leadership, guided by Jim D’Alfonso, who recognized the importance of our legacy to KP nurses and the profession, and provided for the writing and production of this book.Our sincere thanks to all.
Enjoy reading and recalling the memories the book brings back.
Many thanks to Angie’s classmates that set out on a quest to locate her with a current address.
As a 23 year Kaiser Permanent (KP) registered nurse, I found the history of the Kaiser School of Nursing fascinating. I was pleased to learn not only that there actually had been a school but that it was such an important part of KP history, and how forward thinking it was in educating nurses. I also found it interesting to learn why the school closed in 1976. My Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG) physician colleagues as well as my KP Health Plan and Hospital nurses colleagues would appreciate the nursing school’s approach in educating nurses and how this contributed to the impact that KP has made to health care in the country. Every healthcare provider of KP (past and present) should have a copy of this book on their bookshelves. This also could be a great reference for schools of nursing curriculum as an excellent example of nursing’s influence and contribution to health care. Review submitted by Terry Bream, retired Chief Nurse Executive SCPMG (September 2020)