Military Nurses have a legacy of compassion and dedication, not only because they care for our wounded and ill, but for being committed patient advocates. Please join us in recognizing the selfless service of our Military Nurses as we celebrate National Nurses Week, which begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, the birthday of Florence Nightingale. This year’s theme is “Nurses Leading the Way.”
Florence Nightingale is known as the founder of modern nursing. Coming to prominence while serving as a nurse during the Crimean War, she tended to wounded soldiers and was known as “The Lady with the Lamp” after her habit of making rounds at night. She was very influential on U.S. Nursing. Many of her concepts and methods were used by over 5,000 nurses who volunteered for both the Union and the Confederate forces during the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865). Throughout this war, some Military Nurses were given honorary appointments in the military, although they were still considered primarily civilians who either volunteered or were hired by the government.
After the Spanish-American War in 1898, the U.S. Army began to see a need for a permanent corps of women nurses. Thus, in 1901 the Army Nurse Corps (ANC) was officially formed. The early commissions were not considered part of the regular Army and Nurses were awarded “equivalent rank” in the nurse corps. By the end of WWII, the ANC had over 59,000 Nurses in the corps and were the only female military personnel allowed to serve in combat zones.
Today, military nurses serve during both wartime and peace. During wartime, they care for soldiers wounded in battle. In times of peace, they work on ships and at military base hospitals and play an important role in improving the overall quality of life for service members and their families.
Throughout the week we will be highlighting military nurses on twitter @bpw4womenvets – we invite you to honor a military nurse on twitter by using the #milnurse. We also invite you to check out our Honor Wall and consider a permanent placement of honor for any special women in your life.