Our History

Saint Thomas West Hospital
A Legacy of Compassionate Care


For 113 years, Saint Thomas West Hospital has been devoted to physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Our mission is to serve all persons, with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable, while improving the health of individuals and communities.

Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Louise de Marillac founded the Daughters of Charity in Paris, France. In 1898, Thomas Sebastian Byrne, the fifth Catholic Bishop of Nashville, asked the Daughters of Charity to establish Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville. Rooted in the loving ministry of Jesus as healer, we commit ourselves to serving all persons with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable.

Our Catholic health ministry is dedicated to spiritually centered, holistic care, which sustains and improves the health of individuals and communities. We are advocates for a compassionate and just society through our actions and our words.

​A Look at the Volunteer Community History at Saint Thomas West

FACT: In 2014, the volunteer community donated 28,886.58 hours of their time and talents to Saint Thomas West Hospital in order to serve our patients, families, guests and staff! 

Enjoy this look back at the volunteers’ involvement in the building of the new hospital in 1974 which we now know as Saint Thomas West.  As you can see, our volunteers have a long and deeply committed relationship with Saint Thomas Health.  Have you ever asked a volunteer why they serve or what made them choose Saint Thomas West Hospital as their place of service?   You might find their answers to be inspiring, heartfelt, and possibly entertaining.  Above all, you will find them to be intentional about where they have chosen to serve. 

During the 1970’s, clothing, hairstyles and attitudes underwent radical changes.  The Auxiliary experienced a milestone, when in 1973 Charles Yagel became the first male volunteer.  1973 was also the first year that the American Hospital Association pin was turned in for one designed exclusively for our Auxiliary.  “No longer will there be a doubt in the Nashville community as to who that “pink lady” belongs to because the pin sports the Saint Thomas Hospital symbol.”  Volunteers also began hosting workshops in 1974 so that job-descriptions and new information could be shared in an effort to bring about a re-orientation. 

In 1974, the Auxiliary was challenged when Saint Thomas moved to a new and larger hospital on Harding Road.  They made a pledge of $100,000 towards the building fund, kept up with the planning and construction deadlines, donned hard-hats to visit the new site, and helped with the move on December 30, 1974.  The volunteer office was made ready for the task of assigning new duties, implementing the old and greeting of new volunteers.


Today, Saint Thomas West Hospital provides adult specialty healthcare to the more than two million residents of Middle Tennessee, Southwestern Kentucky and Northern Alabama.

Distinctive Services at Saint Thomas West Hospital include: Nationally-Recognized Cardiac services from more than 60 specialists of Saint Thomas Heart, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Accredited Heart Failure Unit, Accredited Chest Pain Center and Emergency Services Department, Critical and Special Care, Ambulatory and Outpatient Surgery, Diabetes Center, General Medicine, General Surgery, Maria Nathanson Center for Excellence for Renal, Pulmonary and Gastroenterology Disorders, Mental Health Care Unit, Nephrology, Transplantation Department - Cardiac and Kidney, Accredited Stroke Center, Accredited Center for MS, Brain and Spine Tumor Center, Accredited Dan Rudy Cancer Center, Infusion Center, Radiation Oncology, Stereotactic Radiosurgery, Lung Cancer Center, Ophthalmology, Rehabilitation Services, Physical Therapy, Respiratory Therapy, Specialty Surgery, Ear, Nose, Throat Surgery, Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Vascular Surgery, Urology, Women’s Health Services, Gynecology and the Center for Breast Health.

In March 2015, Saint Thomas West Hospital was named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® by Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of healthcare. This is the fourteenth time Saint Thomas West Hospital has earned this distinction.

Saint Thomas West Hospital is a member of Saint Thomas Health, a faith-based ministry with more than 6,500 associates serving Middle Tennessee. Saint Thomas Health's regional health system consists of five hospitals – Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital, Saint Thomas West Hospital and Saint Thomas Hospital for Specialty Surgery in Nashville, Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro and Saint Thomas Hickman Hospital in Centerville – and a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures in diagnostics, cardiac services and ambulatory surgery as well as medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities. Saint Thomas Health is a member of Ascension Health, a Catholic organization that is the largest not-for-profit health system in the United States.