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Profile: Mildred Montag

Friday April 29, 2011
Mildred Montag, RN, was the school of nursing’s first inductee into its Hall of Fame.
Mildred Montag, RN, was the school of nursing’s first inductee into its Hall of Fame.
(Photos courtesy of Adelphi University Archives and)
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Mildred Montag earned a second bachelor’s in nursing from the University of Minnesota and later graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University, with master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing education. Her doctoral dissertation, “The Education of Nursing Technicians,” had a profound impact on how nurses are educated because it advocated two-year training programs for nurses at community and junior colleges.

World War II created a nursing shortage in the U.S., and in 1942, Montag was asked by Adelphi College in Garden City, N.Y., to investigate local hospitals’ support of a school of nursing using a grant it received from the U.S. Public Health Service. The next year, the Adelphi College School of Nursing opened with 25 students. Montag served as founder and director until 1948, when she left to pursue a doctorate degree. Her dissertation described a shorter nursing education program that would provide a sound base for students and help alleviate the nursing shortage plaguing the nation.


Mildred Montag, RN
“It was never her intention for the two-year program to replace the baccalaureate program,” said Marilyn Klainberg, RN, EdD, associate professor of nursing at Adelphi School of Nursing and co-author of the book, “Today’s Nursing Leader: Managing, Succeeding, Excelling,” in which Montag is one of the many famous nurse leaders profiled. “Most schools of nursing came out of hospitals and were three-year programs. Her goal was to decrease the length of study from three years to two by placing the program in junior and community colleges.”

In 1958, with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Montag tested the program at seven pilot sites in four states. The program was a success because it attracted a wide range of students including men, married people and minorities, who were able to afford the two-year option.

Colleges were able to finance the program, which had pass rates similar to hospital-based and BSN programs, and graduates were functional staff nurses. The associate degree in nursing was born.


Tracey Boyd is a regional reporter. Send letters to editorNY@nursingspectrum.com or comment below.