In Celebration of Nurses

Clara Barton with a class of nursing students

Clara Barton with a class of nursing students

I’ve spent a lot of the last ten months thinking, reading, writing and talking about nurses.* In the months since Heroines of Mercy Street was published, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to nurses–and their friends, mothers, daughters, granddaughters and nieces. (I’m sure nurses also have fathers, sons, grandsons and nephews, but the men in their lives have not stepped up and identified themselves.) The experience has confirmed my long-held opinion that nurses rock.

Here in the United States, National Nurses’ Week begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.** Take the time to say thank you to the nurses in your life for a hard job well done.

*Like so many subjects, one thing leads to another. Civil War nurses led me inexorably to the formation of the first American nursing schools, nurses in the First World War, nurses in the Second World War, and, less obviously to an old favorite of mine, Mary Roberts Rinehart ‘s Miss Pinkerton novels. (I own a collection of several stories subtitled Adventures of a Nurse Detective.)Published prior to World War I, the stories give a vivid picture of what it was like to work as a nurse in the early years of the 20th century. To my surprise, it turns out that Rinehart graduated from nursing school in 1893, one of the first 500 trained nurses in the country. But I digress.

**One of history’s true shin-kickers. Coming soon to a blog post near you.

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