In 1886, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis founded St. John's Hospital School of Nursing.

Their mission was to care for the sick and needy of the community in a spirit of joy, respect and commitment to competence. From that day to the present, the values and vision of the Hospital Sisters have underscored and directed the efforts of the faculty and students.

Initially the school was created as a two-year diploma program to educate members of the founding religious order. In 1912 the school accepted the first lay women. In 1952, when the National League for Nursing first began its accreditation program for schools of nursing, St. John's was among those who came forward to meet this new challenge. 

St. John's School of Nursing transitioned into St. John's College in 1991. Today, St. John's College students can earn a bachelor or master's of science degree in nursing. Students may attend a wide variety of colleges and universities to study the arts and sciences prior their immersion in nursing theory and practice at St. John's College.

St. John's has been cited as the oldest Catholic hospital based school of nursing in the United States. During our long and rich history, we have undergone many transitions. However, the constant has been dedication to the education of professional nurses whose practice exemplifies excellence in health care. 

Commitment to Diversity

As a Black woman, I have experienced racism on several occasions throughout the years. My parents shared many stories of being denied access to certain establishments because of the color of their skin. They always encouraged my siblings and me to work hard, reach for our dreams but be careful of our surroundings.

I was reminded of the real dangers that still exist in our black communities after watching the tragic murder of George Floyd by a white police officer shared on video across the world.

After this tragedy, I am encouraged by the peaceful protesting in our communities and across the world in the pursuit of change. We are witnessing a movement of extreme significance. I encourage everyone to safely advocate for equal rights for all.

This is something I have made a priority in my career and will continue to advocate and ensure equal access to education and safe environments to learn. Our mission at St. John’s College of Nursing is foundational from the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, to provide spiritual, ethical and professional nursing development to all students, no matter the color of their skin. Diversity is embraced at the college and at Hospital Sisters Health System facilities.

I want our current students, prospective students and parents to know they are welcome to speak freely, collaborate and will be prepared for the future of nursing at our college. We are all in this together, let us be the change.

Charlene Aaron, PhD, RN
Chancellor of St. John's College of Nursing

SJC Nursing Diversity & Inclusion Plan 2019