History - Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Saskatchewan.

Psychiatric nursing was born in the 1840s, even before Florence Nightingale opened her first training school. Generally a less-well-known profession, psychiatric nursing has played a role in Saskatchewan's health care history. Saskatchewan's first psychiatric institution was opened in 1914 in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. In 1921, a second institution was opened in Weyburn. By 1929, each institution had 1,000 patients watched over by "a superintendent and two additional medical officers, and each had a ward staff of about 110 untrained personnel and one registered nurse. There was no formal training program".

With the large number of patients problems began accumulating, a commission was then struck by the Government of Saskatchewan to study psychiatric institutions. "One of their recommendations was for the inauguration of a training school to insure the instruction of the nursing force in the fundamentals of psychology, psychiatry, mental hygiene and medicine. Another was that male student nurses should be given the same training as female nurses, and upon graduation, should be awarded similar diplomas" (Kahan, 1).

"As a result, Ward Attendant Training Programs were begun at both institutions; in North Battleford, the first class graduated in 1932; Weyburn Hospital graduated its first class in 1933 and for the next forty years graduating ceremonies were held each year at Saskatchewan hospitals. In 1937, a number of staff members began a three-year course leading to the Diploma in Psychiatric nursing" (Registered Psychiatric Nurses Association of Saskatchewan, 9)

In January of 1947, in a meeting of psychiatric nursing graduates, it was voted unanimously to form a professional Psychiatric Nurses' Association (Kahan, 11). A "committee was elected to study the necessary steps to be taken and to bring in recommendations regarding the aims and objectives of the Association. One of the committee's recommendations was for continual improved training, with emphasis on improved treatment and care for patients in hospitals" (Kahan, 11).

On March 25, 1948, An Act Respecting the Saskatchewan Psychiatric Nurses' Association was enacted and the association became official. The home of the Registered Psychiatric Nursing Association of Saskatchewan is now on Lorne Street in Regina.