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IU School of Nursing time capsule opened after 50 years

'The whole concept of the nurse has changed.'
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Posted at 8:24 AM, Apr 23, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS — After five decades, Cheryl Hansell says nursing is "light years different," but one thing has stayed the same — the letter she wrote as a graduating senior in the 1972 IU School of Nursing Class.

On Friday, IU nursing faculty, staff, students and alumni unveiled what was inside the 1972 time capsule, which was located in the entryway of the School of Nursing Building at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.

Included in the time capsule was Hansell's letter projecting what IU nursing would be like in 2022.

"I think the technology has changed everything. It's gone from handwritten paper, if you copied it it was carbon paper. There were no Xerox machines," Hansell said. "The whole concept of the nurse has changed ... nurses have so much more involvement in patient care now."

Hansell says when she started, nurses didn't have stethoscopes and couldn't draw blood or start IVs. She went on to have a 30 year nursing career before retiring.

Other items in the time capsule included:

  • A nursing cap and pin
  • Newspaper clippings about the school
  • Photographs of nursing students in their uniforms
  • School newsletters and other announcements
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A photo found in the 1972 time capsule.

"I think over the next 50 years we are going to see some remarkable things that create an impact to patients, to populations [and] to healthcare," Robin Newhouse, dean of the IU School of Nursing, said. "Nurses are important to the community because they are really the backbone of the healthcare system."

Contents of the time capsule will be managed and preserved by IU archivists.