Life Long Learning

Life Long Learning

St. Luke’s was the fourth hospital in the country to operate a school for nurses. Today, St. Luke’s School of Nursing is the nation’s oldest nursing school in continuous operation.

In 1884 the school became a reality when Dr. William Estes appointed Miss M. J. Merritt from Bellevue Hospital, New York, as principal of the nursing school. Nine students formed the first class. And, while much has changed with technology and medical advancements, the program continues to flourish.

During World War II, the school was approved for the Cadet Nurse Corps program and in 1962, the school was awarded full accreditation from the National League for Nursing. College credits were added to the curriculum in 1969.

Keri Weintraub, MSN, RN, Vice President of Patient Care at St. Luke’s Allentown Campus, is a 1994 graduate. In various roles as a nurse manager and nursing director, she’s worked with and hired many graduates of St. Luke’s School of Nursing, knowing they are fully trained and ready to work in the field.

“It’s a wonderful program. It combines best-in-class academics and clinical experience,” Weintraub says. Weintraub says the readiness of the St. Luke’s nursing school grads shows. Thanks to the hours of hands-on experience gained over other programs, they acclimate quickly to working in the hospital. The associates and baccalaureate classes also offer much more clinical time over other choices, she continues. “That’s what makes the program stand out, they’re exceptional,” Weintraub says. “They come out and have that confidence.”

Weintraub was inspired to become a nurse by three of her aunts who had attended St. Luke’s.



“They were dynamic, wonderful, smart women in my family and that’s why I wanted to become a nurse,” she says.

To date, the school has graduated 4,466 nurses. Weintraub says she always receives glowing reviews of the students from educators at the hospital.

The school now has an option for taking classes on evenings and weekends. “Life is busy and people can’t step away from their full-time jobs,” Weintraub says.

In their second year, students begin to rotate to different medical specialties, such as pediatric care, behavioral health, or intensive care to gain breadth in experience. Seniors do an advanced practicum where they shadow a registered nurse for a few weeks.

St. Luke’s even offers a Nurse Residency Program for nurses post-graduation to help them acclimate to their new roles.

“They learn to manage patients just like an RN (registered nurse) would,” Weintraub says.

Ninety-seven percent of the 2018 graduating class was employed within nine months of completion.

As a longtime employee of St. Luke’s, Weintraub has also returned to school using tuition assistance to attain two masters’ degrees. She credits her success in the field to St. Luke’s School of Nursing.

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