Historically, nurse training has been one of the most important programs at the Oregon State Hospital. Starting in 1944, this program offered three months of intensive psychiatric instruction for students rotating from nursing programs throughout the state. The nurses would typically stay in a dormitory on the north side of Center Street on campus. By 1950, the program was accommodating over 250 students per year from every nursing program in Oregon and was fully accredited by the American Psychiatric Association.
A student nurse survey that was conducted here in 1948, and reported in the American Journal of Nursing, showed that the students found the experience rewarding but challenging. All students expressed a sincere desire to be able to help the patients in some way, but found the transition to psychiatric nursing difficult, and said they could have used more time at the Oregon State Hospital. Several wished they had the experience earlier in their training careers so as to apply the principles taught here to general nursing care.
The current program offers a much shorter rotation and students do not live on campus.