In 2020, the Ingram School of Nursing will celebrate a century’s worth of leadership, progress and advancements in nursing education. Learn about some of the key turning points in our history:


The Ingram School of Nursing was established in 1920. Originally located in Beatty Hall on Pine Avenue, the School spent over 60 years on the main campus of McGill University in Wilson Hall, 3506 University Street, until its relocation to 680 Sherbrooke Street West in August, 2017.

Wilson Hall was initially constructed as a residence and headquarters of the Wesleyan Theological College. Previously known as the School for Graduate Nurses, the School offered certificate and degree programs developed for nurses holding diplomas from hospital Schools of Nursing from 1920-1957. As professional and educational trends evolved in nursing, the School identified the need to begin offering a first level undergraduate degree program– hence the inception of the BSc(N) program in 1957.


The 1950s were also a time of innovation. While patient-centred care has become something of a buzz term in medicine in the past decade, what many in the field might not know is that a patient-centred care model was pioneered by McGill nurses during the 1950s. Dr. Laurie Gottlieb, Flora Madeline Shaw Chair in Nursing and Professor at the Ingram School of Nursing, worked with Dr. Moyra Allen to describe and evaluate McGill’s nursing approach that Dr. Allen called Situation-Responsive nursing. This work became the foundation for the McGill Model of Nursing, which promoted the idea that nurses, patients and families are equal partners in providing support, information, and advocacy. Patients and families are treated with respect, and listened to as individuals with personalities, preferences and histories of their own. A generation of nurses trained under the McGill Model of Nursing went on to become leaders who trained the next generation of nurses. The model was adopted by hospitals across Canada, as well as internationally.


Nursing in Canada was at a crossroads, with the introduction of universal healthcare in the 1960s and the rapidly evolving field of medicine. The time was ripe for an expanded role for nurses. Some in the field were advocating for a replacement role, whereby nurses would take over many tasks performed by doctors, others preferred the existing assistant-to-the-physician role. McGill took the stance that a nurses’ role had to expand into being nurses for families, with a focus not just on diagnosis and treatment, but looking at how people responded to their diagnosis and how they were recovering from their illness and how nurses were promoting health in the community.


In 2012, the School of Nursing was formally named the Ingram School of Nursing in recognition of Richard and Satoko Ingram and their exceptional support for Nursing at McGill University.

In 2013, Dr. Laurie Gottlieb’s expansive overview, Strengths-Based Nursing Care, was published, formalizing the evolution spearheaded by Dr. Gottlieb, of the McGill Model to Strengths Based Nursing, a philosophy and value-driven approach to guide clinicians, leaders, and educators. Strengths-Based Nursing and Strengths-Based Care, refers to the strengths that nurses, patients and families are encouraged to recognize and foster in themselves and others to promote health and facilitate healing.


As of September 2017, the Ingram School of Nursing implemented a revised undergraduate curriculum using the Strengths-Based Nursing approach as the underlying philosophy. The next step is to inspire the clinical instructors and preceptors working with students in the clinical settings to use the Strengths-Based approach. In a joint venture with their clinical partners, the Ingram School of Nursing is now in the process of developing online modules for nurse preceptors on the Strengths-Based Nursing approach, and on how the values and principles underlying the approach can be used to guide the teaching of nursing students in the clinical settings.


  • First offered in 1974, the Master of Science (Applied) program for non-nurses, now called the Direct-Entry program, is still the only one of its kind in Canada.
  • In 1990, the first doctoral degree in nursing in Canada was granted at McGill.
  • The CJNR (Canadian Journal of Nursing Research), the first journal of nursing research in Canada, was founded at McGill in 1969. It is; however, no longer managed by the Ingram School of Nursing.
  • Faculty members are either based at the ISoN or in McGill affiliated hospitals.
  • Students take courses in different departments at McGill, such as biology, psychology and management, depending on interests and needs.
  • A unique network of more than 140-affiliated faculty, from Nursing Directors to Clinical Nurse Specialists and staff nurses, contribute to the student's education.
  • Students in the undergraduate program start clinical in their first year and may complete their program with an international placement.
  • The Nursing Undergraduate Society (NUS) and the Nursing Graduate Student Association (NGSA) are very active student associations enabling students to exchange ideas, discuss health care issues, participate in conferences, and develop leadership skills.