Women in Medicine Nursing during the Second World War by Reagan, Rabi, Mahima, and Jesse
Hi, I’m Otis! I’m a service mouse in the U.S. reserves. My job in life is to make soldiers happy. I’ve just been recruited for my very first job, bouncing from the seas with the Navy, to the land with the Army, and then to the skies with the Air Force. I’m curious to find out what all the nurses have to do in the naval hospitals, army hospitals, in the air, and even the Red Cross! The nurses are a very important part of the war effort and they risk their lives just like the soldiers do.
My trip begins with the Red Cross. Right now I am at an auxiliary hospital. We don’t have to worry about sneak attacks, though. The auxiliary hospitals’ are neutral territory. While I have been here I have noticed that everyone is treated no matter what country they are from.
All of the workers here, including me, are treated with respect. All countries are in agreement that Red Cross Hospitals are not legitimate attack sites.
I am also visiting some of the wounded soldiers in the convalescent homes. The soldiers that are here are wounded or so sick that they need long term care.
I have heard talk from the nurses that they are planning on creating a blood bank service to aid the wounded.
Now I have found myself at a special type of hospital a naval hospital! The women here are part of the Navy Nurse Corp. They take care of the navymen and soldiers who get hurt while overseas or who are rescued and brought back. Like on December 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was bombed, navy nurses were the ones who took care of all the wounded soldiers.
Just like the Red Cross nurses these ladies see and have to treat men who are very badly hurt. There are men who lost arms or legs and have injuries all over their skin. But the women here work tirelessly to bandage the men, give anesthetic, and give first aid. Many of them are very young, straight from the Cadet Nurse Corps. The Corps pays for women with a high school diploma ages seventeen to thirtyfive to learn how to be a nurse.
These women have been around since 1908 but it was not until recently in 1942 that they were giving equal ranking as the men.
Thousands of them serve overseas like on hospital ships, but most serve at home in our 40 American Navy hospitals. Not only do they take care of navy men injured at sea, but they also train men to help the male nurses on the battleships, since the women are still not allowed there.
Even though they are not treated like the men these navy nurses try just as hard to do their duties.
My work as a service mouse now takes me to the Army Nurse Corps. The army nurses risk their lives every day to provide relief to the soldiers while serving under fire. The Chain of Evacuation is a procedure followed by the nurses for the treatment of wounded soldiers. During my time in the Army Nurse Corps, I will be visiting all the points along this chain.
This is about a girl I've seen, She works all night in Ward fifteen. She's small, she's cute, she's pretty thin, With the Irish name of Katherine Flynn. Her army rank makes her a Louey, When asked about it, she answers phooey. She likes her job and will not quit, Until the enemy ranks are split. This freckleface doll is a lady of class, Another good Irishman from Worcester, Mass. A Goodbye Poem written for Katherine Nolan right before her deployment overseas as a combat nurse in the Army Nurse Corps. Katherine Nolan with her fellow army nurses
The first points along the Chain of Evacuation are the Organic Medical Units that follow soldiers into battle. These units consist of battlefield stations, battalion aid stations, collecting stations and clearing stations.
My next stop along the Chain of Evacuation is at a mobile hospital. These hospitals are of two types field hospitals and evacuation hospitals and can be quickly packed up by the nurses and moved to follow soldiers going into battle. They have a lot of medical equipment and medicines and are complete hospitals.
The last point along the chain is the fixed hospitals, which are set up at a safe distance from the sites of battle. They are fully equipped hospitals that do not move very often. There are three types of these hospitals: station hospitals, general hospitals and convalescent hospitals. They care for soldiers over a long period of time.
It seems that it’s been a long journey from my training at home in America to where I am now, in the skies with what they call the Winged Angels. These women are young, fresh from schooling. Actually, some of these girls were pulled directly from their training, without even having graduated or earned their official wings yet due to the need out here.
These brave young women are put into service as aviation advances and becomes a more feasible way to aid the war effort. Their job is to pick up wounded servicemen and treat them on these planes as we are flown away from battle and towards a hospital controlled by the US. I’ve even seen a few of these women perform surgeries while up here. It’s very scary, and these women are very brave!
The courage of these women continues to astound me every day. This position that they uphold is purely on a volunteer basis, due to it’s extreme risks and dangerous atmosphere, yet they continue to sign up and save lives! One risk is that because the planes that are used to transport the soldiers also often carried weapons and military supplies, they can’t paint the big Red Cross logo on the plane, and sometimes they’re mistaken as fighter planes and taken down by enemies. How scary! Also, women have to specifically train in areas that have to do with flying, such as crash procedures, safety in the air, and how the height of the plane affects the patients. They have to be super smart!
Overall, 500 flight nurses served in 31 different squadrons worldwide and only 17 died during the war. They saved 1,176,002 patients, losing only 46 en route to the hospital. Sounds pretty good to me!
The women who served in medicine in the war have taught me many things on my mission, things such as perseverance, courage, and the value of a kind heart. And though I am but a mouse, I wish I could be as good and proactive as these women!