Liz Salerno, who graduated from Berkshire Community College's first nursing class, in 1969, said she hails from a time when associate degrees in nursing were a new concept.

The Berkshire Eagle  reports Salerno graduated from the college during a time when everything was handwritten, when there was no air conditioning in hospitals and when students faked fractures so they could practice on each other.

The BCC celebration marked 50 years of nursing education in the Berkshires, which comes at a time of some turmoil for the program. The college recently cleared up some accreditation issues in the nursing program, and it won't admit a fall class in its two-year nursing program this fall as the college works to address ongoing concerns from state regulators.

The program might be going through a rough patch, college President Ellen Kennedy said, but through it, the community behind it grows stronger. Now, she said, "we're in a really good place."

Over the past 50 years, she agreed, "the role of the nurse has changed so much."