How George Creel sold the Great War to America, and America to the world. World War I was a profound event that played an important role in the placement and future advancement of women within the military. If you are interested in researching military service records, this article will provide you In the early years of World War I, there was a great need for medical support for wounded Allied soldiers. Within a month of the US entering WWI, some of the nurses who would serve overseas were sent to Europe. A campaign to accord the U.S. military nurses rank, which coincided with the Woman’s suffrage movement, led in 1920 to a compromise in which U.S. Army and Navy nurses were accorded “relative ranks” of Lieutenant, Captain, and Major. In August 1917, U.S. Army nurse Beatrice MacDonald, on duty at a casualty clearing station, came under enemy fire during an air raid, and fragments of shrapnel from a bomb blast sliced through her eye. Their contribution to the front lines, and at home, helped shape the unity and strength our country gained during the war. All screenings are free — reserve your seats now! The focus of the article centers on the number of Navy nurses that served during that time. Another major hurdle for nurses was also a deadly one. In October 1917, some six months after their arrival in Europe, nurses began serving with the American Expeditionary Forces upon the request of General John J. Pershing. Nurses in gas masks at the trenches in Germany during World War I. Nurses’ duties were not limited to treating wounds and administering medication. A massive number of nurses were mobilized to deal with the patients. This was just one small aspect of the role women played in the war, which also included organizing recreational activities for soldiers and taking on roles previously completed by men, such as transportation and machinery work. By the end of the war, nearly three hundred Red Cross nurses had also lost their lives. In 1909, she left the Indiana farm where she grew up to study at the Illinois Training School for Nurses in Chicago. Consequently, the only women to serve with the A.E.F. For pain, some of the common painkillers or analgesics used at the time included sodium salicylate, elixir of opium or opii tinctura camphorata, and morphine sulfate. Additionally, a handful, like Boylston, worked in American units of the British and French armies. Nurses were an undeniably important part of the deadly and bloody war that was World War I. By war's end there would be 1,799 active component nurses and 9,222 reserves (with the overwhelming number of reserves on active duty) scattered across six continents. This frequent changing of dressings and application of antiseptic, though physically exhausting, served a critical medical function in the pre-antibiotic era: It became the most effective method for healing infected war wounds and prevented many limb amputations. In May 1917, U.S. medical teams became the first American troops to arrive in the war zone, and many remained through mid-1919. Medical leaders realized that in order to meet the needs of the soldiers, exceptions would need to be made. The splint required at least two, ideally three, people to apply it to a soldier’s leg, and was completed in a twelve-step process. The importance of cleanliness and its association with reduced infections was a major step forward in the saving of lives. They could be found … Sign up for the American Experience newsletter! Anna C. Robinson brought her personal camera to use during her WWI service in Europe. Ellen Julia "Nellie" Gould was born in Wales in 1860, and began her working life as a teacher in England. First, they would be taken on a stretcher to a regimental aid post, then a motor ambulance would take them to a casualty clearing station, and from there a hospital train would take them to a base hospital. Lenah Higbee. In addition to those on the Western Front, Australian army nurses also served in India, Mesopotamia and Salonika. Prescribing Controlled Substances and Drug Diversion, Best Practices - 1hr, Prescribing Controlled Substances and Drug Diversion, Best Practices - 3 hr, Pressure Ulcers in the Perioperative Setting. Boylston, an American nurse serving at a British Army base hospital near the Western Front in 1918, had been running between wards of wounded patients that night, trying to calm their nerves during the air raid. Nurses received awards for their service in the war, although some awards were given posthumously. Originally, this responsibility was reserved for medical officers. Soldiers would go through feet inspections to monitor “trench foot,” a condition in which constant dampness caused feet to swell and rot. It was used to irrigate wounds before closure. Tactics varied by country, but British soldiers created a three-part system to categorize soldiers into degrees: (1) wounded soldiers requiring minimal care before returning to the front lines, (2) more seriously injured soldiers in need of hospital attention, and (3) soldiers expected to not live despite medical treatment. Introducing Quiz Guru a Fun Learning Platform, New Florida-required human trafficking course in progress, Suicide prevention training courses required in Washington | CEUfast, Arkansas Nursing CEs - Instant reporting to CE Broker, Michigan Nursing - All Required CEUs | CEUfast, CNA CEUs - Nationally accredited and state approved, CEUfast Featured on Fox's World Wide Business with Kathy Ireland, Site Design, Development, and Marketing by Eyespike. County branches of the Red Cross had their own groups of volunteers called Voluntary Aid Detachments (often abbreviated to VAD). Twenty-four nurses were awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, 28 received the French Croix de Guerre, and the British Royal Red Cross was awarded to 69. Nearly all men between the ages of 18-45 registered during the years the draft was implemented, about 23% of the U.S. population. Numerous nurses served at front-line casualty clearing stations or with forward units. Long hours (14- to 18-hour shifts), extreme cold, and poor weather conditions were just a few of the adjustments that needed to be made, along with seeing and treating severe and often horrifying injuries with minimal equipment. Military Service & Wartime Nursing – World War I: Discover information about Navy nurses during WWI. ‘It helps one to bear it quite wonderfully,’ he said.” The woman on the medical front lines got an inside look at the perils of the war and witnessed first-hand the impact of this global conflict. Eighty-two Army nurses were stationed in Hawaii serving at three Army medical facilities that infamous morning. s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window,document,'script', Some nurses were incredulous, but then the details trickled in: 19 ships lost, thousands of soldiers and sailors killed. AANS nurses were also posted to Salonica in Greece, where by 1918 one in five of the nurses in British military hospitals was Australian. She had enlisted as a Red Cross nurse separately from the rest of the School of Nursing graduates and was stationed at Base Hospital No. var googletag = googletag || {}; Thousands of women also served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and the Navy Nurse Corps. At the turn of the 20th century, the progressive social movements advocated women's rights, but it took the first global war to give women the opportunity to prove themselves. The war nurses were not eligible unless they fit into one of these categories. This epidemic was deadlier than the war itself and was responsible for a majority of the deaths involving nurses. 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The working conditions for nurses overseas were generally poor. Sometimes they were not made to feel very welcome by the British nurses in the hospitals where they were stationed, and the male orderlies did not always like taking directions from women. When the Civil War broke out, there was no organized training system … Other medications included cocaine hydrochloride—used as a local anesthetic—and chloroform—used as both a general anesthetic in surgeries and a sedative. The nurses of WWI provided care beyond their original call of duty. According to researcher Louise Bell, the splint reduced the mortality rate associated with fractures from 80 percent to 20 percent in 1918. The number of nurses rose significantly as women enlisted by the thousands, and by the last year of the war there were approximately 12,000 active nurses from the Army Nurse Corps serving across the world. Nurses also served in base hospitals behind the lines and in England. For the best experience, choose your profession & state. Before and during WWI, nurses were part of the Army, but were neither enlisted or commissioned personnel and they were not trained as soldiers. The nursing profession was growing, and nurses were seen as a critical part of the health care team. Some nursing leaders agreed. Much of the care for American servicemen came from the Red Cross, which served as a nursing reserve to the navy and army. Triage was another developing facet important to the medical strategies nurses carried out. But the battle for these original commissions is not over. After graduating in 1913, Huckleberry worked as a public health nurse investigating contagious diseases in the city’s immigrant neighborhoods. Nor were those who worked on the land or drove the buses or set the fuse in all those shells. Being a nurse myself, you might think I'm a little bias . Some of them filled regular positions at hospitals while others worked within emergency services and natural disaster efforts. Pre - World War I - Mexican Border Expedition, 1916-1917 [edit | edit source]. The Thomas Splint, invented in Britain, was a medical innovation that saved countless lives. As Paul E. Stepansky, PhD, states, “What makes the nurses of World War I gallant is that so many of them were able to bracket their encroaching horror, with its undercurrents of anger, depression, and numbing—and simply care for their patients. Actual commissions would have to wait until 1947. She is the author of The American Red Cross, from Clara Barton to the New Deal (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012). 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Army Nurses were sent overseas to Britain, Belgium, France, and Italy; they served on troop trains and transport ships. Some nurses even drove ambulances. They did so with great merit. . They were also faced with soldiers suffering from emotional injuries, including shell shock. During the period of US neutral intervention during the war, domestic organizations like the American Red Cross saw in the conflict a great humanitarian crisis that beckoned large-scale medical relief. While in service, nurses carried out a number of critical functions outside the usual realm of nursing. “My back is busted in two tonight. n.callMethod.apply(n,arguments):n.queue.push(arguments)}; Their skills helped save the lives of countless soldiers, and their mere presence served as a balm to many of the injured and dying. Reserve were in short supply and nurses … Whether it was their day-to-day responsibilities, adapting to new forms of medical care, or working under extreme conditions, these nurses’ sacrifices are an important part of medical history. Voluntary Aid Detachment members themselves came to be known simply as ‘VADs’. From 1914 to 1918, Europe endured the horrors of The Great War, later known as World War I. The nurses found the tropical monsoonal climate debilitating. Huckleberry and Davis’s youngest son, Michael W. R. Davis, who has woven his parents’ letters together with diary entries from others in a forthcoming book — has launched a campaign to get the U.S. Army and Navy to posthumously commission his mother and the other World War I U.S. nurses. World War II changed the world in many different ways. Bullet wounds and outdoor exposure, combined with the added hardship of not having antibiotics, made for risky work. Special preview screenings of the upcoming miniseries. Their tents and other supplies did not arrive for three weeks. African American nurses were finally able to serve in integrated hospitals in Korea, Japan, Hawaii, and in the continental United States. Near the end of the war in 1918, nurses and the rest of the world were faced with a large-scale flu epidemic. The nurses were forced to treat their patients in the open, as wounded men lay on the rocky ground begging for water. United States Mexican Border Service, 1916 to 1917; War Department. Besides the unfamiliar medical needs the war presented, there were other challenges nurses faced. Some were trained in social work, including psychiatric training, in order to help current soldiers and those returning home deal with their experiences. . This is particularly true when looking at nurses and the service and care they provided the US military during WWI; both the Navy and the Army allowed women to become more mobilized than ever before. According to the Army Nurse Corp Association, “American nurses served on shock, gas, orthopedic, and surgical specialty teams where they could be moved to the front lines in groups of five or six. In contrast to the services provided in the field, nurses in America picked up the slack despite so many nurses and medical professionals leaving for the war. One of the main roles for women in WW1 was nursing for those who has become either sick, injured or diseased. Nurses faced other difficulties as well. Nurses did not work in the front line trenches, although they were often close to the front. At the outbreak of war nursing wasn't considered a 'proper' profession. POW camps would become an ongoing assignment for the majority of African-American nurses. She covered her eyes and ears against the deafening roar and “blood red flare.” About a half hour later, finally realizing she had not been hurt, Boylston stopped shaking. During her time at war, Huckleberry wrote over 150 letters to Davis, who was also stationed in France. Dakin solution, for example, was an antiseptic solution made using diluted boric acid and sodium hypochlorite. In all 11,272 Women joined the US Navy for the duration of the war. Although Allied military leaders wanted to keep the (female) nurses far from danger, they soon realized that many more combatants’ lives could be saved if wounds were first treated near the front rather than at far-away base hospitals. Edith Cavell. Considering the nature of soldiers’ wounds were more prone to infection that those seen in a normal hospital, infection was rampant. They began to recruit less experienced nurses, a controversial move that is still debated today. n.queue=[];t=b.createElement(e);t.async=!0; War nursing’s more common hazards included infected fingers, sickness, and physical strain. 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