Nursing student tours modern UND facilities with her grandmother and others from the nursing class of 1960


Amy Halvorson

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Nursing student tours modern UND facilities with her grandmother and others from the nursing class of 1960

The University of North Dakota nursing class of 1960 gathered recently, in honor of its 55th reunion, to take a stroll down memory lane with College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines senior Brianna Schuler ? the granddaughter of Julie Nygren, one of the visiting alumnae.

“We are all 75 years old, or older, so a lot of changes have happened,” Nygren said.

To say nursing runs in Schuler’s blood is an understatement. Not only was her Grandma Nygren a nurse, but her mom, other grandma and great-aunt were too. Even Schuler’s brother is going to school to be a nurse.

Schuler also will be following her grandmother’s footsteps into a pediatrics specialty.

“I’ve kept very connected with her,” Nygren said. “She’s let me read her notes and exams and it is fun comparing experiences.”

Schuler will be graduating from UND at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 16, at the Alerus Center, with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Suffice it to say, she has made at least one of the UND nursing class or 1960 alums very proud.

“She’s going to make an excellent nurse,” Grandma Nygren said.

Of the class of 17 that graduated in 1960, 14 are still living, and eight were able to make it to the reunion.

As they were given the grand tour of UND’s Clinical Research and Simulation Center (CRSC) and introduced to its modern-day simulators and gadgets, they reminisced and told stories of what nursing school was like more than 50 years ago.

“This is awesome; I didn’t even know this was here,” said fellow 1960 grad Donna Lund, referring to the CRSC.

The uniforms that the class of 1960 had to wear were all white, with buttons all the way down the front, complete with white nurses’ shoes, white stockings and a little white hat.

“They were so starched, it made your neck raw,” Nygren said.

They also reminisced about how their skirts had to be precisely 13 inches off the ground, and they all laughed, remembering how that was always a bit of a challenge for their shorter classmates.

Upon being shown one of the tools ? a small section of fake skin ? used by today’s nursing students to practice administering shots, Lund recalled what she and her fellow nursing students used to practice.

“(we used to use) oranges and then real people, but mostly each other,” she exclaimed.

The class of 1960’s “simulators” usually were whomever was in the class at the time.

“We just had to practice on real people,” said Lund, while feeling a simulation baby moving about in the CRSC’s birthing simulator’s womb.

Added Nygren, “technology has really changed teaching. It was so limited as far as the kind of equipment we had and what we could do with it.”

Amy Halvorson University & Public Affairs student writer

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