Dr. Rebecca Parish joined by two American missionary nurses, founders of Mary Johnston Hospital, Directed zealous efforts towards the establishment of a school of nursing. With the pioneering spirit of these three women, the Bethany Clinic, forerunner of the present MJH was established in 1907. Thus, the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States became the moving spirit behind the great adventure in love and concern and still are to this day.
The Bethany Clinic was equipped with only 10 bamboo beds with a three-room accommodation to take care of the emergency cases as well as the very ill. Three young Filipino girls with elementary education were accepted to help in the clinic. These girls in their plain white camisas, panuelos and blue cotton skirts, met the tremendous problems and needs of the nursing service and at the same time attended regular classes each day on the rudiments of nursing
The Dispensary spread out into other three small rooms and two bamboo seats were purchased, some cotton pillows made and some condemmed sheets, pillows cases and blankets were purchased at an army sale. Three girls for the Bible Training School began.
Some patients came voluntarily, others were referred from the dispensary; each nurse pupil was responsible for one room, slept there and cared for the patients if anything was needed during the night, then nurse her own cases by day. Food for the patients were furnished bu the Training School at the rate of twenty centavos per day, the government provided part of the drugs used, free and the interest from the Martinique fund furnished the needs.
Seeing the homes where patients could not be taken cared of intelligently and properly, it was realized by Dr. Parrish, the missionary nurses and the Foreign Missionary Society that a hospital was badly needed and the nurse pupils could be given a standardized course training.
Mrs. Bishop Joyce in Minneapolis, Minn. was secretary of the Philippine work for the foreign Missionary Society knew this need long before the arrival of the doctor. Mrs. Joyce heard of Mrs. D.S. Johnston whos wife Mary Johnston bad passed. Mr. Johnson desired to build a memorial somewhere, to honor his departed wife, So, Mrs. Joyce went to see Mr. Johnston and told him about the great need of hospital for Filipino women and children and asked him point blank to build it as a memorial. Soon the check was forthcoming- USD 12,500.00 and the construction of the Mary Johnson Hospital was secured. It was Dra. Rebecca Parrish and the nurse who chose the present site of MJH.
In 1908 during the Methodist Conference, Bishops Oldham and Robinson laid the cornerstone, and in June of the year, the building was completed. the care of workers consisted of one doctory, two American nurses and four pupil nurses.
The original building was a two-storey stone and frame structure, with corrugated iron roof, well built, though small, 55 patients could be accommodated, counting the babies and they were always being counted. This Small building had also to house the missionaries, nurse pupils, dispensary, surgery, and everything had to be under one roof. The general kitchen was built outside.
In the new location, patients flocked into the dispensary, using the front hall for a waiting room; slowly the became accustomed to the thought of hospital care, and gradually the hospital was filled with the poor, the sick, starving and ill-cared patients as well as the neglected women.
In those early days, the streets were muddy, narrow, filthy and un-cared for; bamboo huts crowded to the very doors of the hospital. Before the hospital work was scarcely began in the new building, the workers found themselves in the throats of the cholera epidemic not only in Manila but in surrounding provinces. The Assistant Director of Heal and Dean Worcested, the Secretary of the Interior, came to formally request the use of the hospital for emergency cholero work, as the contagious hospital was already overcrowded and dozens of new cholera cases were developing each day. The hospital was turned-over for their use and under the combined staff of the military and the bureau of health men. it was a cholera hospital for three week, with 51 cases, many of them were foreigners. The city government paid well for the use of the hospital and they left the place immaculately clean with commendatory letters and gratitude.
Feb 25, 1911, was the date of a most disastrous fire in the thickly populated section surrounding the hospital. Thousands of people swept like rivers from the crowded streets on flames; many were rushed to the hospital, being unable to get ambulances, the beds of all the sickest patients were carried in to the shallow water, nurses were told to take armloads of babies and flee for safety. It was nine o’clock that night before all babies were reunited with their respective mothers. A 1PM to 3PM the whole section was black waste, the patients were scattered, the nurses in tears and everything seemed in ruins. Before the fire was out a poor Filipino preacher came and said. “Here is Php 500.00 to rebuild the hospital.” It was a much appreciated gift. though the repairs and improvement costs, when finished was about Php 19,000.00. This was made possible trough an emergency fund from the States, insurance and gifts, and it was not only rebuild and repaired at once, but a third floor of frame was added for student nurse’s dormitory. In every way, it was better than before.
The City Council was petitioned, and forbade building so close to the hospital again. Even the neighbors along side were forbidden to build bamboo and dried palm leaf house(which added protection from fire and made possible the purchase of land which had been long been needed but seem imposible to obtain). In four months the building was all completed and reopened for service.
In 1911, the Philippine Assembly(First Philippine Congress) in appreciation of the work of the Mary Johnson Hospital appropriated a monthly sum of Php 1,000.00. This twas the gift with no strings attached at all. Two or three Congressmen paid annual friendly visits to the hospital to show their greatest sympathy and approval of the work.
In accordance with beliefs and ideal of the faculty, the school of nursing gradually improved its curriculum and the first class of six promising women were graduated in 1911.
In 1913, the government appropriated Php 22,000.00 in addition to the government grant to erect a new building “Assembly Pavilion to house a Maternity Ward”. Dispensary and Milk Station, which when completed became very splendid, served well and became a blessing to thousands.
In 1917 the U.S Congress passed the “Jones Bill” which made it impossible for the Philippine Money to be applied to the work of the secretarial institution, this stopped off without warning the appropriation of Php 1,250.00 a month(the amount was increase before) greatly crippled the work. paralyzed the work in the Milk Station which resulted in starving, dying babies.
The year 1920 was the Medical Year for the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society in the United States. The Women raised the sum of Php 20,000.00 to erect w new wing of cement and frame for the kitchen, laundry, garage and servants’quarter; 10 nice private rooms on the second floor and entirely separate hall from the hospital proper. Never before had the hospital had enough of everything-baby clothes, towels, wash cloths, pillowcases, sheet, surgical supplies, soap, powder, pine etc. during the same year a generous sum of money was raised among friends of the hospital in manila, which added towards the running expenses of the institution. The early curriculum of the school of nursing was patterned after regular courses in the hospital in the U.S.A. and the government requires a first year high school certificate entrance; also after graduation a government registration examination is required. One hundred seventy four (174) girls graduated in the training school of the Mary Johnston Hospital. Those girls went into many areas- some married and became good wives and mothers; some worked in the red cross or in various branches of the government service. Some went to pioneer work; others in Honolulu, in the U.S.A., five had postgraduate work in the U.S.A. having been sent by the daughters of the American revolution. This worthy organization gives perpetual scholarship for the nurse pupil in the school of Nursing.
Mrs. Damiana Dolorico Ambrocio was the first nurse to have this scholarship where she finished the last two years of her high school studies there. She obtained he B.A. Degree from teachers college. Mrs Celerina Trinos, class 1924 went also to the US and studied at the Northwestern University.
The Students then were active in church activities, athletic classes and conducting kindergarten classes in the afternoon.
After the Japanese Earthquake. Six nurses were in Red Cross work in manila. They went with the relief workers spending several weeks in Yokohama and Tokyo doing service in those devastated areas.
Finances have always been a great problem of the hospital, a hospital is such tremendous proposition, financially, when a work is once going on it would necessitate a great reduction in patients’s expenses. Many of the patients were very poor and unable to pay hospital expenses fees, etc. it was necessary to do much charity work.
The women’s foreign missionary society of the United States because of the sacrifices of many women there, were able to send large sums of money toward support. The government has helped the Red Cross, associated charities. Daughters of the American Revolution, Lodges Societies, Individuals and Friends have all assisted.
One Chinese-Filipino man sent a gift of Php 10.00 per month for eight years. A Spanish-Filipino man , Manager of the Manila Ice Co. for twelve years gave 20 kilos of ice each day, nearly 200,000 lbs. a Philippine Iceberg.
Two Years after, a masonic lodge of the Philippine island took over one of the children’s ward of the hospital to be used for the crippled children. They remodeled the ward, putting it in a first class shape. A doctor who specialized in the management of the crippling condition of the children was employed by the masonic lodge. Several drives and benefit programs were sponsored by the group to raise more funds for this project. In 1921 the noble Madame Schumann Heink performed In a concert in Manila. The net proceeds of that concert was donated as the meleus of an endowment for a fund for this project of the masonic lodge.
A kindergarten class was held every Wednesday for the street children In the vicinity the children attending the kindergarten classes formed nucleus for 500-600 children in the neighborhood which received Christmas cheer and gifts during Christmas time.
The school stands for the development of christian womanhood maintaining that good womanhood must come first and nursing must be founded upon fine character, it has been the desire founded upon fine character. It has been the desire from opening of the school to lead every student along the way of learning the true spirit of service. For this reason, most of the graduates are found scattered all over the Philippines and are engaged in community nursing. At the same time. The school firmly believes and gives full support to any move designed to place nursing education at its highest level. The faculty believes that no course can be too good for nurses, and the school has tried to keep pace with the new development in nursing education. A public health nursing course was introduced into the curriculum as early as 1929. Community nursing had been a part of all student’ work’’ from beginning. Through the years of its existence , the school, through its faculty, has sought to inculate the spirit of service into every graduate, to challenge them with willingness to serve whatever they are needed.
Thus the school has carried on its tradition and ideals as it opens the door of opportunity for service to selected girls whose dedication and zeal have made a name for the school all those years. These girls have carried the name mary Johnston school of nursing all over the breadth and length of the Philippine republic with the honor and dignity of Christian Service in nursing.
At the outbreak of world war II , the school along with other schools, suspended classes on Dec. 8, 1941 but many students stayed to help care for the sick and the wounded. The hospital which was for women and children only, became one for both men and women to take care of the casualties of war brought in for admission. During the Japanese military government classes were permitted to open. All pre-war activities in the classroom were allowed except that English was replaced by nippongo during the Japanese occupation. The school was able to graduate its students in 1942 only one semester late, admission of students, graduation and all other activities continued until the hospital and the school building were burned February 5, 1945 during the liberation of manila. The senior class was transferred to north general hospital school of nursing to continue their studies. This group with other students from various schools graduated in 1946, as the first graduate of the north general school of nursing, in 1947, the Mary Johnston school of nursing was re-opened by the authorization of the Bureau of Private Schools on a new venture setting the precedent for new ideas in school of nursing pioneering in higher requirements that 25 girls and one year of college work before admission. Since there was no hospital clinical experience for the students were with the north general hospital, San Lazaro, dedicated on August 20, 1950. The school continued its independent administration and budgetary plan it was housed in its new school building. With mutual agreement of both school and the hospital administration, the hospital facilities and clinical areas for student’s clinical experience were made available plus government agencies for specialized services. The school was on its way to evolving a program of collegiate education
In 1953, the bureau of private schools authorized Mary J. Johnston school of nursing to offer a four year collegiate program as a part of Philippine Christian college. In 1957 the first class of 13 was awarded the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and the school was given recognition as a collegiate school. The pre-war building, which was rehabilitated in 1956 became dormitory for the nursing service graduate stuff. In 1958 a five-year collegiate program was started compliance with a new bureau requirement. The transition class of 15 young women graduated in 1963.
In 1954, with the permission of the manila health department and with the help of miss Marcela Gabatin and with official permission from the director of bureau of Health, Dr. J. Nolasco, a nursing experience in field work was assigned for the students. The blocks adjacent to the hospital were assigned for this purpose. The school had two personnel to look after the area, which thus became the clinical area for students experience in public health nursing. The immediately vicinity of the school is an area with thousands of slum dwellers and extends to the bay. It is here where the nursing students find the greatest challenge for community development work. They continue to contribute to the identification of the community healthy needs. Students social concern projects are generally focused on this neediest are of the city of Manila.
In June 1974, Mary Johnston School of Nursing ceased to be exist in its affiliate status with Philippine Christian Colleges. Now, it has become its department of nursing, the Mary Johnston School Of Nursing Scholarship foundation, a duty registered corporation as of December 3, 1970 supports the program of the nursing department morally and financially.
The School of Nursing had undergone the gradual evolution from the traditional hospital school to the collegiate school to keep ahrcast with the present trends to educate professional nurses, Philippine Christian College received university status on October 6, 1976 during the 30th (Pearl) Anniversary. The MJSN changed its official name to PCU-Mary Johnston College of Nursing, it still carries the noble name acquired over sixty years of its life. Its tradition and ideals remain the same, yet are geared to meet the present needs of this ever-changing society.
The school, participating actively in the life of the Philippine Christian University, looks forward to exciting challenges within the academic community, seeking as always to uplift the quality of life and education of its constituents. More importantly, it continually tries to pursue its avowed dream and vision of realizing the abundant life for the greater public that it serves.