If not for Army nurses, there is a good chance we would have buried many more soldiers. Nurses have been a large part of the equation in having a successful military that has kept the United States free and safe. Nurses have stepped into the heat of battle to help save lives and limbs. We owe much thanks to Army nurses, and that is why I am writing today’s post. This is 17 cool facts about the Army Nurse Corps.
1: Army Nurse Creed
I felt it was only fitting to share with you the Army Nurse Corps’ Creed. This was authored by LTC Leigh McGraw:
I am a member of the Army Nursing Team
My patients depend on me and trust me to provide compassionate and proficient care always.
I nurture the most helpless and vulnerable and offer courage and hope to those in despair.
I protect the dignity of every individual put in my charge.
I tend to the physical and psychological wounds of our Warriors and support the health, safety, and welfare of every retired Veteran.
I am an advocate for family members who support and sustain their Soldier during times of War.
It is a privilege to care for each of these individuals and I will always strive to be attentive and respectful of their needs and honor their uniquely divine human spirit.
We are the Army Nursing Team
We honor our professional practice standards and live the Soldier values.
We believe strength and resiliency in difficult times is the cornerstone of Army Nursing.
We embrace the diversity of our team and implicitly understand that we must maintain a unified, authentically positive culture and support each other’s physical, social, and environmental well-being.
We have a collective responsibility to mentor and foster the professional growth of our newest Team members so they may mentor those who follow.
We remember those nursing professionals who came before us and honor their legacy, determination, and sacrifice.
We are fundamentally committed to provide exceptional care to past, present, and future generations who bravely defend and protect our Nation.
The Army Nursing Team: Courage to Care, Courage to Connect, Courage to Change
2: Before The Army Nurse Corps
Even before the Army Nurse Corps was established, women had a place in nursing the war injured back to health. During the Civil War, Dorothea Dix was the Superintendent of the U.S. Sanitary Commission. She convinced the Medical Corps that women would be of great benefit working in Army hospitals. Another woman who made strides toward this progress was Clara Barton who was a founder of the Red Cross.
In 1901, realizing the great service women played in the Army, Congress established the Army Nurse Corps. The Red Cross was in charge of recruiting nurses for the Corps.
4: Early Qualifications
Between the 2 World Wars, the qualifications to be a nurse in the Army Nurse Corps were:
- Be white
- Be a female
- Be unmarried
- Be a volunteer
- Be a graduate of a civilian nursing school
In 1920, members of the Army Nurse Corps received ranks of officers, and wore the same insignia on their uniforms. But, these women were still not considered a part of the United States Army, and they did not receive equivalent pay as their Army officer counterparts.
6: World War II and Chinese Nurses
Just after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, they had also invaded Honk Kong. A group of American pilots and airplane mechanics traveled to China to help. They were known as the Flying Tigers. The Army Nurse Corps realized nurses would be needed, so nurses were recruited from China. These were English speaking women who had escaped Hong Kong. These women were a part of the Flying Tigers.
7: February of 1944
On February 26th of 1944, Congress gave the Army Nurse Corps their place with the U.S. Army. Nurses were granted actual military ranks and were observed as the leaders they were.
8: Male Nurses
In 1955, the first male was commissioned into the Army Nurse Corps. Edward Lyon became the first with many more male nurses following.
9: Susie Taylor
The first African American Army nurse was Susie Taylor. She served with the First South Carolina Volunteers during the Civil War.
10: Lieutenant Diane Carlson Evans
11: Lieutenant Ruth Gardiner
LT Gardiner was the first nurse to be killed in action in World War II when the plane she was in crashed in Alaska.
12: Captain María Inés Ortiz
This nurse was the first killed in combat since the Vietnam War. She was killed July 10th, 2007 in Operation Iraqi Freedom. I mentioned her in my book: Puertorriquenos Who Served With Guts, Glory and Honor.
13: Nurse Leadership Over The Years
The leadership of the Army Nurse Corps has been amazing over the years. From 1901 until late 1947, the primary person in charge was deemed the Superintendent of The Army Nurse Corps. After that, he/she was called Chief of the Army Nurse Corps. They were:
- 1901-1909 Dita Kinney
- 1909-1912 Jane Delano
- 1912-1914 Isabel McIsaac
- 1914-1919 Dora Thompson
- 1919-1937 Major Julia Stimson
- 1937-1942 Major Julia Flikke
- 1942-1943 Colonel Julia Flikke
- 1943-1947 Colonel Florence Blanchfield
- 1947-1951 Colonel Mary Phillips
- 1951-1955 Colonel Ruby Bryant
- 1955-1959 Colonel Inez Haynes
- 1959-1963 Colonel Margaret Harper
- 1963-1967 Colonel Mildred Clark
- 1967-1970 Colonel Anna Mae Hayes
- 1970-1971 Brigadier General Anna Mae Hayes
- 1971-1975 Brigadier General Lillian Dunlap
- 1975-1979 Brigadier General Madelyn Parks
- 1979-1982 Brigadier General Hazel Johnson
- 1983-1987 Brigadier General Connie Slewitzke
- 1987-1991 Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender
- 1991-1995 Brigadier General Nancy Adams
- 1995-2000 Brigadier General Bettye Simmons
- 2000-2004 Brigadier General William Bester
- 2004-2008 Major General Gale Pollock
- 2008-2011 Major General Patricia Horoho
- 2012-2015 Major General Jimmie Keenan
There is an Army Nurse Corps Association that offers scholarships and other help for those in the Army Nurse Corps. You can find their website here.
15: ROTC Scholarship to Become a Nurse
The Army ROTC has scholarships of 2,3 or 4 years that they offer qualified individuals to gain a nursing degree. It just means a commitment to the United States Army Nurse Corps for a certain period of time. You can find more information on that here.
16: Requirements to be a Nurse in the Army
The requirements to become a nurse in the Army Nurse Corps are:
- Be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident
- Be from 21 to 42 years old
- Must have at least a Bachelor of Science in nursing
- Must possess a current and unrestricted license to practice as a registered nurse
- Must meet the Army physical and moral standards
17: Nurse Specialties
There are many types and varieties of nurses. Some, but certainly not all of the nurse MOS’s in the Army Nurse Corps are:
66B: Army Public Health Nurse
66R: Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
66F: Nurse Anesthetist
66G: OB/GYN Nurse
66T: Emergency Room Nurse
And many more. This website tells many of the MOS’s for nurses in the Army.
It is a scary thought if we went into war with no nurses. They deserve our thanks and respect. Many of these nurses have risked their lives to save lives.
If any of you reading this are in the Army Nurse Corps, first thank you. If you would like to share why you joined the Army Nurse Corps, we would appreciate it.
Any comments or questions can be posted below. Thank you.