Healthcare policy and hospital administration are dynamic and growing fields, oriented toward shaping the future. In an effort to understand where these fields have come from, as well as some of the reoccurring challenges faced, we conducted a retrospective analysis. Our research identified progress and major accomplishments, as well as issues that continue to challenge the field in five key areas: (1) the evolution of nursing, (2) funding and legislation, (3) hospital design, construction and technology, (4) patient care and infection control and (5) leadership. To explore these areas, a thematic content review was conducted on the 12 inaugural issues of Hospital Administration in Canada, a hospital administration periodical from 1962. All written content was reviewed, coded and categorized into major themes that represented the major hospital administration topics of 50 years ago. In this article, five prominent themes are explored and further illustrated using key stories and milestones from 1962.