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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Nursing at Good Samaritan Health Systems

When Good Samaritan Hospital opened its doors in 1924, all of the hospital's functions—administration and patient care—were carried out by the Sisters of St. Francis. Originally two Sisters were sent to get the hospital  "up and running," and seven others joined them soon after. As the first Sisters waited for the hospital's construction to be complete, they provided nursing services in the small city hospital and in private homes. By 1937, 16 Sisters made up the nursing staff at Good Samaritan.

Today, over 600 men and women comprise the Good Samaritan nursing staff. Nurses staff Good Samaritan Hospital, Richard Young Hospital, Good Samaritan's Home Care Services division, and many other unique Good Samaritan departments.

The nurses at GSHS have a common philosophy of professional practice—Shared Governance. Shared Governance recognizes nurses as highly educated and competent clinicians who operate with professional autonomy and accountability as part of a collegial team. It is based on the philosophy that each staff member provides and inherent value and contribution that, when combined with the work of the whole team, results in a dynamic and innovative nursing environment that provides superior patient care. This policy offers each nurse the opportunity to participate in the decisions that contribute to the quality of nursing at GSHS. Shared Governance is how we individually practice our profession, make decisions, support the growth and development of others, and take care of ourselves.

Though Good Samaritan developed into a regional referral center from very humble beginnings, the values and standards put in place by Good Samaritan's original nurses, the Sisters of St. Francis, have not changed. Good Samaritan's roots in faith-based healthcare are evident in its mission:

"The mission of Good Samaritan Health Systems and Catholic Health Initiatives is to nurture the healing ministry of the Church by bringing it new life, energy and viability in the 21st Century.

"Fidelity to the Gospel urges us to emphasize human dignity and social justice as we move toward the creation of healthier communities."

The nurses at Good Samaritan have the skills, ability and honor to embody the spirit of the original Good Samaritan by providing care for the sick and dying, the young and old, our friends and family at a place where reverence, integrity, compassion and excellence are the guiding forces behind each action.