St. Vincent Hospital established the first school of nurse anesthetists in the world.
In 1909 Portland’s St. Vincent Hospital in Portland established what many medical historians argue was the first formal school of nurse anesthetists in the world. After medical interns refused to continue administering anesthetics at St. Vincent and Good Samaritan Hospitals, efforts to train nurses in anesthesia began at the former. Agnes McGee served as the first director of the school. The initial course of study was four months, later expanded to one year. Students studied anatomy, physiology of the respiratory tract, pharmacology of anesthetic agents, and techniques of the administration of anesthesia. The school closed in 1956, during a time when physicians, rather than nurses, began dominating the field of anesthesiology.