Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Nurse Training

These photos of nurses in training were taken by Fritz Henle for the War Information Office, in 1942.

 Nurse training. Fresh from college, twenty-year-old Susan Petty of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, arrives at the School of Nursing residence in New York City, which will be her home until she becomes an Army or Navy nurse. Because of her college degree, Susan will be required to spend only twenty-seven months here instead of the customary three years.
 Nurse training. "Occupational therapy" for the very young. Convalescence in children, as in adults, is hastened by the encouragement of interest in normal activities.
 Nurse training. A convalescing youngster gets lunch with a smile from a student nurse.
 Nurse training. A graduate nurse (right) watches student Susan Petty prepare a hypodermic for a patient. Strict adherence to doctors' orders is something every probationer must learn.
 Nurse training. A moment's pause in a full day, as graduate 
student nurses relax in the living room of the nurse's home.
 Nurse training. A nurse and the physical therapist negotiate something of a 
dispute over a picture book between two young patients in an orthopedic hospital.
 Nurse training. A nurse's aide and a student attend a convalescing patient.
 Nurse training. A student nurse (right) instructs a patient in the method 
of measuring her own insulin dose as a supervisor observes.
 Nurse training. Care of infants is included in all nurses training. This youngster is about to get an eye irrigation. Note that nurse wears goggles for self-protection from possible infection.
Nurse training. Given an hour's rest between rounds, Susan Petty, student nurse, is visited by her fellow nurses in her small but comfortable room in the School of Nursing resident hall.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Very interesting photos of nurses training activities during the early War years in the United States. It's good to get an inside view of their educational activities from this time.

    The U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps was primarily responsible, from mid-1943 through the last graduating classes in the fall of 1948, for advertising, promoting and providing financial assistance not only to thousands of young women who met the criteria, but also financial assistance and incentives to nursing schools to upgrade and update their nursing curricula and facilities to provide up-to-date educations and condensed calendars so that well trained nursing staff could be graduated and put to work as RNs in a shorter period of time. These photos unfortunately predate that highly effective program by about a year.

    It was also the FIRST desegregated government uniformed service, being held under the auspices of the United States Public Health Service, in the country's history. All schools of Nursing were eligible to participate no matter where they were in the country, and no matter what group of students they educated. It did not require desegregation of the schools, but no qualified young lady was turned away from the program because of her race, creed, color, or religion. This means not just women of color, for whom it was very important, as it helped to erase the considerable financial barriers existing at the time that otherwise would have kept them from attending nursing schools to begin with, but especially to Southern segregated schools which experienced similar financial barriers to improving facilities and curriculum, but also to Japanese Americans who were U.S. citizens, and American Indian women, as well as primarily Catholic and primarily Jewish institutions.

    It was a wonderful program that turned out thousands and thousands of graduates during those critical years. But, unfortunately for many, the program was ended when the War also ended. Only those students already accepted into the Fall 1945 classes were allowed to continue, graduating in 1948, after a full three years of training since the urgency of War was no longer an issue.