In 1936, the Bermuda Nursing Home moved into the Cottage Hospital building, and was renamed the Cottage Hospital Nursing Home. In 1937, Nurse Sylvia Richardson, who began her training at the Nursing Home, became the CHNH’s first graduate.
The CHNH, which had about 20 beds, catered primarily to patients with chronic illnesses, and had a maternity ward. Nursing students, who lived in dorms, did three years locally, and a post-graduate year at the Lincoln Hospital School for Nurses in the Bronx, New York.
Facilities were an improvement over the Nursing Home, but KEMH was bigger and better equipped. In 1947, the CHNH was in the spotlight because Governor Sir Ralph Leatham presided over the nurses’ graduation ceremony.
Medical director Dr. Leon Williams described the occasion as “historic”. But he and others had long called for much-needed improvements. In 1956, the CHNH closed its doors for good.
Still, many nurses got their start there. Some remained on island and found work as private duty nurses or at the US Base Hospital. Others, among them Iris Davis, Leonie Harford, Muriel Basden and Moira Tucker Cann, would go on to qualify as State Registered Nurses and State Certified Midwives in the United Kingdom.
There are three living graduates of the CHNH. Millicent Grace deShield Washington made a significant contribution to nursing locally. Gladys Simmons Barney and Sylvia Emery Edwards worked for a time in Bermuda before moving to the US.