About YSN

Our mission: Better Health for all People

To the nurse, … in touch with the fundamentals of human experience, is given the opportunity to relate the adventure of thought to the adventure of action so that the new social order … may be realized.

- Founding YSN Dean Annie Goodrich

With funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, YSN was founded in 1923 as the first school within a university to prepare nurses under an educational rather than an apprenticeship program. The school graduated its first class in 1926.

YSN’s faculty have spawned new ideas that have shaped modern-day nursing: Annie Goodrich, YSN’s founding dean, stressed nursing as an ethical endeavor focused on promoting social change. Effie Taylor, YSN’s second dean, advanced mental health as the world’s first professor of psychiatric nursing. Psychiatric nursing professor and the school’s seventh dean, Judith Krauss transformed mental health policy by lobbying for parity laws, which are now in place. Virginia Henderson deepened the world’s understanding of the unique functions of the nurse. To this day, the World Health Organization uses her concept of nursing as the definition of the profession. She also advocated for publicly financed, universally accessible healthcare and for nurses to have a greater role in primary care. Florence S. Wald, the school’s fourth dean, led the palliative care and hospice movement in the United States, building the country’s first inpatient hospice. Rhetaugh Dumas advanced clinical trials in research into nursing practice. The school’s sixth dean, Donna Diers, ushered in the first “graduate entry” system that enlivened nursing practice by attracting mature students with varied and rich life experiences, a system now used by nursing schools around the globe.

For over 100 years after its founding, YSN still educates nurses to be agents of social and political change focused on improving the health of all people.