When the Lancaster General Hospital was founded, its original charter stated it was formed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a hospital for the treatment and care of the sick and suffering, and the training of nurses to be employed in such care. More than 100 years later, Lancaster General Health continues to fulfill this mission through the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. Throughout its more than 100-year history, the College has grown from 1 nursing program to 14 health science and nursing programs; from a private home for 40 students, to a dormitory for 240 to an all-commuter campus; and from a handful of students to an enrollment of nearly 1,500. Though nursing trainees were on Lancaster General Hospital’s staff when the Hospital opened in 1893, a formal nursing school was not established until 1903. Then called the Lancaster General Hospital School of Nursing, the School offered a three-year nursing training program for single women. The School graduated its first male nurse in 1974. In 1952, Lancaster General Hospital developed a program in medical laboratory science, its first allied health program, and continued to add additional health sciences programs throughout the following decades. These programs were run independently of the School until 1995, when the nursing and health sciences programs merged to form the Lancaster Institute for Health Education. In 2001, the Pennsylvania Department of Education granted the Institute the ability to confer degrees, and the Institute became the Lancaster General College of Nursing & Health Sciences. The College was accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in 2006. The College introduced baccalaureate-level education in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, including an RN-BSN option. This was soon followed by baccalaureate degree programs in health sciences and administration. In 2013, as result of two years of branding research, the Lancaster General College of Nursing & Health Sciences announced a new name: The Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. PA College continues to maintain its relationship with Lancaster General Health and still functions as a vital part of the LGH organization. The new name is intended to clarify the College’s purpose, while positioning it to allow for future growth and expand upon its mission of educating students for excellence in health care practice, leadership and the continuous acquisition of knowledge.
Since changing its name, the College has added a number of new offerings, including several professional certificates. Additionally, the College began offering graduate-level courses for four master’s degree programs in Fall 2015.