The World Health Organization has designated 2020 “The Year of the Nurse and Midwife.”
This year, we celebrate the vital importance of nurses and midwives in maintaining the health of communities all over the world.
For generations, sick or injured patients were nursed back to health by family members—often the women of the household. This role moved out of the home and into the professional sphere during military conflicts. Nearly 23,000 military nurses served in the First World War. Their legendary dedication, along with increasingly rigorous scientific and medical training, earned new respect for the field of nursing.
During World War II, even more nurses served: over 70,000. Their experiences were in some ways similar to today: most Americans spend far less time with physicians than with the nurses who listen to their symptoms, chart their progress, perform many procedures, and advocate for their best care. In World War II, military nurses received officer’s commissions along with free education and dependent and retirement benefits. They also found themselves closer to the front lines than ever before. Join us as we explore the stories of three Jewish nurses who answered the call.
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