From calling to career and from clinic to classroom, nursing has evolved dramatically into the respected profession The Bahamas recognizes today. While nursing education has been a part of Bahamian history since the turn of the 20th century, its history within the University of The Bahamas begins in 1984 with the offering of an Associate degree in Nursing through the Division of Natural Sciences. Before this time, nursing education occurred as an apprenticeship-style programme based within the hospital. As late as the early 1990s, it was possible to obtain a Registered Nurse diploma offered by the Bahamas School of Nursing through clinical training. The first step into the classroom occurred in 1972, when the Department of Nursing Education moved from Princess Margaret Hospital into a remodeled warehouse which would be quickly outgrown. It would be another fifteen years before nursing students and educators would step foot in a facility outfitted to usher them into the 21st century. While many people and policies have shaped the nursing profession, one of the most significant has been the establishment of a permanent and dedicated facility devoted to the education of nurses, today known as the Grosvenor Close Campus.
In 1987, following decades of lobbying and a loan to improve technical/vocational institutions facilitated by The World Bank, the Bahamas School of Nursing opened. Construction on the facility was part of a larger vocational and technical education project undertaken by the government of The Bahamas to expand the pool of vocational and technical expertise that was available within The Bahamas. Architect DorothÃ©e King designed the building and Carl G. Treco Contractors, Ltd. oversaw the site during development. Situated adjacent to Princess Margaret Hospital, the new facility sought to provide workshops, laboratories, and equipment the better to prepare nursing students for the workforce. Furthermore, the expanded facility allowed for an increased number of students in both basic and advanced nursing courses. Shortly thereafter, a decision by the national government placed the Bahamas School of Nursing within The College of The Bahamas. At this point the Bahamas School of Nursing became the Grosvenor Close Campus, a satellite campus of The College. The School of Nursing within The College would go on to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, helping the profession to continue to grow.
Today, the Grosvenor Close Campus of the University of The Bahamas houses the School of Nursing & Allied Health Professions as well as the Hilda Bowen Library. The Library derives its name from Hilda Valerie Bowen, the first Bahamian Matron of the Princess Margaret Hospital. Bowen was instrumental in transforming the nursing profession and nursing education in The Bahamas. The extensive nursing and health science collections of the Library uphold her legacy.