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Early Student Residences: Home Away from Home

A woman in a dress before a mirror, another in nurse's uniform sitting on a bed, and a third sleeping. Three beds in the room.

Student nurses’ dormitory room.

Sometimes I wonder whether I missed something or whether I should be a bit jealous because we used to hear the senior people talking about the houses that were the residences at the time and they told wonderful funny stories about the residences.

Pat, Class of 1958

Student nurses worked rotating day and night shifts on the wards. They helped to deliver babies, any time of day. They also assisted doctors in emergency surgeries. Nursing students needed to be close at hand. The school required them to live in the student residence for the entire two to three-year nursing program.

A printed page, featuring various fonts.

Rising hour.

Originally, Women’s College Hospital rented a small house to accommodate its first class of students. But as the school grew in size, the Hospital looked for a permanent student residence.

With the help of Lady Eaton, the hospital completed a successful fundraising campaign and was able to purchase a large nearby house for its students. The house was transformed into a student residence in June 1918.


The residence had eighteen bedrooms and five bathrooms. Two to three students shared each bedroom. There were many rules that the students had to obey in the residence. Rulebooks issued to new students addressed everything from curfews, visitors, hours of sleep, bathtub use, and bed making to the proper storage of clothing.

Listen to Dorothy, Class of 1932, speak about the early student residences of the Women’s College Hospital School of Nursing.

Audio clip with transcript: Dorothy talks about the early student residences.