History of the College of Nursing
In a blaze of excellence
It was in the hustle and bustle of the late 1960s that the UERMMMC College of Nursing was founded. The College owes its beginnings to the pioneers of the then newly established medical center as well as to prominent benefactors.
Though the groundwork for the College began as early as October 1958, students were admitted only in the following year. This is because the foundations of what is to be a premier institution had to be carefully laid out.
The initial step was in many ways a mighty challenge for the forerunners of the College. They were aware that their exploits and feats would become the benchmark with which their successors will build the next years of the College’s acclaimed history.
The Pioneer Class
The initial offering of the College provided for a comprehensive nursing education that encompasses all facets of health. The College envisioned its graduates to be professional health providers who are more qualified to pursue higher education. Thereat, a five-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing was considered.
During the first year of operation, only the last three years of its five-year program was offered in the Medical Center. The first two years were devoted to the study of liberal arts. Courses in the physical, biological, social sciences and humanities were taught at the University of the East Manila campus.
At that time, forty seven (47) students were accepted into the college. They were students admitted to the third year and were selected from among the applicants who have either finished a bachelor’s degree, an associate in arts degree or a preparatory medicine course.
In January 1960, the first capping ceremony of the College of Nursing was held, with Dean Jovita V. Sotejo of the University of the Philippines College of Nursing as guest speaker, Rev. Fr. Fritzgerald, SSC as officiating priest and UE President Francisco Dalupan,Sr. giving the closing remarks.
In April 1962, thirty (30) out of the forty-seven (47) nursing students admitted during the first year of the College of Nursing graduated and became the first class to receive the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the UERMMMC.
The 100% passing mark of the PIONEER class in the nurses board exam given that same year was a precedent that eventually became a traditional mark of excellence.
The Nursing Alumni Association was organized through the encouragement of Dean Asperilla and its first president was Ms. Corazon Abrillo-Moraleja ’62.
Alumni chapters were subsequently formed as graduates migrated and established their nursing practice in the United States of America. Presently there are a total of 7 chapters all-over the United States.
The alumni association had serve as a strong arm in assisting the college through the following: scholarship grants to undergraduates and graduate students, community projects, best teacher awards, improvement of infrastructure and facilities, acting as resource persons/lecturers/ speakers, donations of books, journals, teaching models and other equipment.
The Founding Dean
Dean Purita F. Asperilla, Ed.D. is the brains and heart behind the birth of the nursing curriculum. Dean Asperilla paid great attention to the details working on faculty line-up and loading, to the physical set-up to and budgetary allocations.
The pioneer faculty members of the College of Nursing were Paz de Leon, Patricia Villacorta and Natividad Espiritu, and Pricscilla Sabinay. Even early in the College’s history, faculty members were master degree holders from esteemed institutions here and abroad.
The Dean Emeritus
(1968-1971 Acting Dean: 1971-1984 Dean)
Dean Evangelina M. Dumlao took over when the founding dean went on a study leave. Her dynamic leadership propelled divergent achievements for the College as board ratings soared to its highest and enrollment more than doubled. This necessitated the addition of classrooms, laboratories and faculty members to accommodate the increase number of students. Faculty development received primary attention, as faculty members were sent to study in prestigious institutions and on-the job training for clinical enrichment.
The mid 1970’s saw a pivotal change in the nursing program. The five year nursing program was revised to create a new four-year nursing course. Class “Hiyas” graduated as the last batch with the five-year curriculum and “Sulo” as the first graduate of the four-year curriculum in April 1980. However, even in the midst of the shift, the College was able to record high ratings on local board exams proving that the shift in curriculum was effective.
Dean Dumlao known in the College as putting a premium producing nurses who are professional nurse practitioners and the nurse managers. This is in a firm belief that a nurse leader is someone who radiates a genuine way caring and who is capable of making intelligent decisions and who is able to relate with others in the highest degree of professionalism.
In the late 1970’s a as keconomic turmoil affected countries that have been working hard to boost their respective economies. The Philippines was not spared even a bit as it received hard economic blows. When the demand for nurses in foreign lands especially the United States slumped, the College was hit with a sudden decline in enrollment that resulted to a surplus in classrooms and faculty members and gave low income for the College.
During all these time, Dean Dumlao was at the forefront bravely developing relevant strategies that would combat the challenges of the times. It was during this period that BSN Supplemental was offered due to the demands of graduate nurses from GN program to enroll in the college. While the college opens its doors to these students, strict adherence to screening procedure was implemented. This was also an opportunity to improve the college’s economic position.
Dean Dumlao was appointed as Chief Nurse and Hospital Administrator in 1984, which made her relinquish responsibilities to her successor. Prior to this she was performing dual roles as Chief Nurse of the Medical Center and Dean.
The First Alumna Dean
Dean Carmelita Dela Cruz-Divinagracia (Pioneer ‘62) holds the distinction of being the first alumna dean of the UERMMMC College of Nursing. Her tenure kicked-off with the introduction of the competency-based community-oriented curriculum which brought the “Saril-anyo” Class of 1988 as its first batch of graduates.
At the incipience of her role as navigator of the College, Dean Divinagracia stood at the forefront of change. She stood poised as she identified new targets and discerned new directions for the College.
During this time the student population doubled charting a new course for the College. Four sections were opened for regular students and one additional section to accommodate irregular students in the first-year alone. Aware of the role of a productive institution, Dean Divinagracia spearheaded the construction of more rooms, accrual of the library collection, hiring more faculty members, orientation and re-orientation of personnel and faculty.
The revised curriculum being community-oriented necessitated the adoption of a community in Antipolo, Rizal made possible in collaboration with the UERMMMC Alumni and Friends foundation. The initial social investigations in the adopted community began in June 1987. The strong linkages were built with the National Housing Authority (NHA), Local Government of Rizal, Municipal and District Health Offices, Department of Social Welfare and development (DSWD), the Homeowners Association and other existing community and people’s organizations to facilitate the continuous process of community organizing.
The community immersion program opened the doors for the College to fulfill its social responsibility through the provision of healthcare to partner communities. In the community immersion program, students and faculty members from the colleges of medicine and nursing stayed with selected families in the community to imbibe true community life and in order to become better health care providers answering the relevant needs of the Filipino society.
Taking the social responsibility to a higher level, UERMMMC Alumni and Friends Foundation purchased a piece of land where the future Primary Health Care Institute of the Medical Center will be established. Funding and other support in varied forms are being solicited at the moment to realize this vision for the FILIPINO people.
Continuing the Tradition of Excellence
It was in 1988 through the initiative and leadership of Dean Divinagracia and with full support of the students, faculty members and other support services that the College of Nursing formally presented its program of studies and facilities for the preliminary investigation of the Philippine Accreditation Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU). In August 1988, The Federation of Accreditation Association of the Philippines (FAAP) and the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) certified the accreditation of the college. In September 1989 a deregulated Level 2 Status was granted to the UERMMMC College of Nursing.
Tracing back the historical development of our College Accreditation, the concept started with the invitation of the teaching staff to Dr. Helen Mussalem, WHO consultant as resource person, who gave some insights on the process and content of self-assessment of the school program. The accreditation movement started as early as 1970. The plans only materialized in 1988 with the full support of the President of the Medical Center, Dr. Isidro D. Carino.
The standards adopted in accreditation are usually over and above those prescribed as minimum requirements for government recognition. To become a fully accredited program or educational institution, there are four levels that have to be successfully satisfied as contained in CHED Order No. 31,s. 1995. The classification is also adopted for purposes of progressive de-regulation and grant of benefits per level of accreditation. Curricular autonomy, financial deregulation in school fees, authority to graduate students without the need for special orders from the CHED, and government subsidy for faculty development including acquisition of library holding are just some of the benefits derived by the institution consequent to accreditation.
The results of the PAASCU’s initial visit, made it possible for the college of nursing to be transferred from the old building behind the UERM quadrangle stage and basement to its present location at the second floor of the administration building (previously occupied by the College of Dentistry) in June 1988. This further enhanced the academic image of the College. More scholarships and financial supports for the academic development and other faculty development programs were solicited under the ardent leadership of the incumbent dean.
The PAASCU visit came after five years in February 18-19, 1993. This time the College with its experienced faculty members and trained staff were much prepared. The motivation brought about by previous PAASCU visits gave stronger conviction to pass to Level III status. Being an accredited institution is one giant contribution of the College of Nursing to quality education to the nursing profession and to the Filipino people.
As anticipated the re-survey resulted in the granting of a full five-year accreditation status of the College of Nursing given in September 1993.
It has been five years since the last formal survey by the PAASCU. Last December 3 and 4 1998, the PAASCU team visited and resurveyed the College’s program. After six months of waiting last June 14, 1999 the office of the President received the letter containing the unanimous agreement of the survey team that the UERMMMC College of Nursing was granted reaccredidation for a period of five years, making the College of Nursing the first and the only unit in the Medical Center with such accreditation status. One of the best features contained in the report is the unraveling support of Administration headed by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, P. O. Domingo.
Once more, on May 14, 2004, the PAASCU awarded the College a reaccreditation status as Level III Nursing Program for 5 years for having satisfactorily met the standards and fulfilled the requirements of the association.
To give due recognition to the commitment and dedication rendered by a dean over and above the standard expectations, Dean Divinagracia conceived the title of Dean Emeritus. For the first time the title of Dean Emeritus was vested upon Dean Evangelina M. Dumlao,
a special convocation last January 27, 1999.
School year 1998-1999 the college of nursing opened its doors to the new re-configured curriculum. Implementing the Associate in Health Science Education (AHSE) in compliance to the mandate of the Commission of Higher Education (CHED). This curriculum provides a common-two-year course to all health allied course and allowing students to shift on the third year to whatever course of their interest. Class 2002- Centum Nightingales is the first AHSE graduates of the College of Nursing.
The past performances of our graduates in the licensing board exams placed our school as one of the best in the Philippines. Class 1995 has bagged 32 places in the top 20 and Ms. Cari Mele Medina garnered first (1st) place in the 1998 Nurses’ Board Exam.
In 2005, the Commission on Higher Education Regulation Commission released the nursing school board performance for the last 5 years (2000 - 2005) and the College of Nursing was among the 12 schools recognized as Outstanding Performing Nursing School in the country.
To date, UERMMMC continues its brand and tradition of excellence as it steers its way towards greater glory in the new millennium.