|Formed||15 June 1943|
|Parent agency||United States Public Health Service (USPHS)|
United States Cadet Nurse Corps (CNC) was authorized by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 1 July 1943. The purpose was to ensure the country had enough nurses to care for its citizens at home and abroad during World War II. It was a non-discriminatory program that allowed Native Americans, African Americans, and relocated Japanese Americans to participate. The CNC was supervised by the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), whose duty it was to train young women as nurses during the war.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A Democrat, he won a record four presidential elections and became a central figure in world events during the first half of the 20th century. Roosevelt directed the federal government during most of the Great Depression, implementing his New Deal domestic agenda in response to the worst economic crisis in U.S. history. As a dominant leader of his party, he built the New Deal Coalition, which realigned American politics into the Fifth Party System and defined American liberalism throughout the middle third of the 20th century. His third and fourth terms were dominated by World War II. Roosevelt is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in American history, as well as among the most influential figures of the 20th century. Though he has also been subject to much criticism, he is generally rated by scholars as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents, along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while Native Americans are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. Native Hawaiians are not counted as Native Americans by the US Census, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".
The program was open to all women between the ages of 17 and 35, in good health, who had graduated from an accredited high school. Successful applicants were eligible for a government subsidy that paid for tuition, books, uniforms, and a stipend. In exchange, they were required to pledge to actively serve in essential civilian or federal government services for the duration of World War II. All state nursing schools in the U.S. were eligible to participate in the program. However, they needed to be accredited by the accrediting agency in their state, and connected with a hospital that had been approved by the American College of Surgeons.
A stipend is a regular fixed sum of money paid for services or to defray expenses, such as for scholarship, internship, or apprenticeship. It is often distinct from an income or a salary because it does not necessarily represent payment for work performed; instead it represents a payment that enables somebody to be exempt partly or wholly from waged or salaried employment in order to undertake a role that is normally unpaid or voluntary, or which cannot be measured in terms of a task .
The American College of Surgeons is an educational association of surgeons founded in 1912. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the College provides membership for doctors worldwide specializing in surgery who pass a set of rigorous qualifications.
The cadets came from across the nation and from all backgrounds. Some joined because they wanted to become nurses, others for the free education, and others joined because their country needed them. Attrition rates for cadets were comparable to those reported for other nursing schools in the same period. The CNC was the largest of the federal nurse-training programs, and allowed young women to serve their country in uniform and without discrimination. The American Hospital Association credited the cadet student nurses with helping to prevent the collapse of civilian nursing during the war.
The unique feature of the program was its accelerated training curricula. The nursing schools were required to compress the traditional nursing program of 36 months to 30 months. Of the 1,300 schools of nursing in the country, 1,125 participated in the program. The CNC operated from 1943 until 1948, and during this period 179,294 student nurses enrolled in the program and 124,065 of them graduated from participating nursing schools. The enrollment included over 3,000 African Americans, 40 Native Americans, and 400 Japanese Americans. The federal government spent $160,326,237 on the nursing program.
The CNC alleviated the critical shortage of nurses during World War II and thus fulfilled its congressional mandate. In the process, it positively influenced the way future nurses would be educated and trained in the United States.
A shortage of nurses existed prior to the U.S. entry into World War II, and worsened with the prewar build-up of the military and the industrial upturn that followed.Yet, professional nursing groups were unprepared to deal with the problem. But on 10 July 1940, Isabel M. Stewart, professor of nursing at Columbia University, a member of the National League for Nursing wrote to its president and said, "I believe we should have a committee or board that is representative of the nursing profession as a whole and it should be at work now…." Then on 29 July 1940, representatives of the national nursing community gathered in New York City under the umbrella of the American Nurses Association, where they formed the Nursing Council on National Defense. In its first order of business, the council concentrated on two projects; one to survey nursing resources, the other to secure federal funds to expand nursing opportunities.
The National League for Nursing (NLN) is a national organization for faculty nurses and leaders in nurse education. It offers faculty development, networking opportunities, testing services, nursing research grants, and public policy initiatives to more than 40,000 individual and 1,200 education and associate members.
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is a professional organization to advance and protect the profession of nursing. It started in 1896 as the Nurses Associated Alumnae and was renamed the American Nurses Association in 1911. It is based in Silver Spring, Maryland and Ernest Grant is the current president.
The survey results indicated 100,000 nurses might be eligible for the military service, and it also found that most nursing schools were ill-equipped to enlarge their instructional or housing facilities.The Council submitted its Federal aid request (for Fiscal Year 1 July 1941 to 30 June 1942) to the U.S. Commissioner of Education, who approved it and moved it on to the Bureau of the Budget. Later on, the Congress enacted and funded The Nurse Training Program, which assisteded in the education of 12,000 students at 309 nursing schools. Through the program, 3,800 inactive nurses received refresher courses and 4,800 graduate nurses received postgraduate training. By the end of the fiscal year, some 47,500 students were enrolled in nursing schools, but this did not meet the demands of the country. Clearly, nurses could not be trained quickly enough to keep pace with both the civilian and the military requirements. Additional federal aid for the recruitment of nurses became apparent when the U.S. Army and Navy called for 2,500 new nurses each month during the Fiscal Year 1942-1943.
The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.
The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second largest and second most powerful air force in the world.
On several occasions during 1942, the Office of War Information tried to mobilize interest in the nursing profession by using prime-time radio ads. They blanketed the airwaves with interviews, dramatic sketches, and spot announcements, urging young women to join the nursing profession. While these efforts were helpful, they fell short of expectations.Meanwhile, the supporters of the nurse training programs recommended doubling federal aid for basic nursing education in the fiscal year ending 30 June 1943. Representative Frances P. Bolton of Ohio, a longtime advocate of nursing, supported the proposed increase in federal aid. She advised the congress that further aid for nurse training programs would be likely.
Frances Payne Bingham Bolton was a Republican politician from Ohio. She served in the United States House of Representatives. She was the first woman elected to Congress from Ohio. In the late 1930s Bolton took an isolationist position on foreign policy, opposing the Selective Service Act in 1940, and opposing Lend-Lease in 1941. During the war she called for desegregation of the military nursing units, which were all-white and all-female. In 1947 she sponsored a long-range bill for nursing education, but it did not pass. When the draft was resumed after the war, Bolton strongly advocated the conscription of women. Pointing to their prominent role during the war, she said it was vitally important that women continue to play these essential roles. She saw no threat to marriage, and argued that women in military service would develop their character and skills, thus enhancing their role in the family. As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Bolton strongly supported the United Nations, especially UNICEF, and strongly supported the independence of African colonies.
On 29 March 1943 Bolton introduced H.R. 2326, a bill to create and fund a program to train nurses. The Senate added an amendment that prohibited discrimination based upon race, color, or creed. At the legislative hearings, hospital groups told how distressed nursing care in civilian hospitals had become. Support for the bill also came in the form of letters and telegrams, flooding government offices. The bill passed both houses of congress by unanimous vote on 15 June 1943 and became Public Law 74 on 1 July 1943. It "provided for the training of nurses for the armed forces, government and civilian hospitals, health agencies, and war industries through grants to the institutions providing the training."It also contained a provision requiring that those trained under the act would be a uniformed body. The Division of Nurse Education was established in the USPHS to supervise the program, and it was answerable to the U.S. Surgeon General, Thomas Parran, Jr. He appointed Lucile Petry, a registered nurse (RN), as the director. The Federal Security Administrator was required to appoint an advisory committee for federal nurse training programs. The committee chosen consisted of people in nursing and related fields, drawn from various parts of the country. Once in place, the committee met with designated federal officials and formulated the regulations necessary to carry out the act. The agreed-upon rules were then approved by the Surgeon General and published in the Federal Register. The committee was also responsible for naming the new program. The Victory Nurse Corps and the Student War Nursing Reserve were considered, but both were rejected in favor of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps (CNC).
A bill is proposed legislation under consideration by a legislature. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an act of the legislature, or a statute. Bills are introduced in the legislature and are discussed, debated and voted upon.
Lucile Petry Leone was an American nurse who was the founding director of the Cadet Nurse Corps in 1943. Because the Nurse Corps met its recruiting quotas, it was not necessary for the US to draft nurses in World War II. She was the first woman and the first nurse to be appointed as Assistant Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service.
A Registered Nurse (RN) is a nurse who has graduated from a [(nursing school|nursing program)] and met the requirements outlined by a country, state, province or similar licensing body to obtain a nursing license. An RN's scope of practice is determined by legislation, and is regulated by a professional body or council.
Shortly after the law was passed, the Surgeon General sent a telegram outlining the program to 1,300 nursing schools in the United States and Puerto Rico. This was followed-up with applications and instructions sent by mail. Hawaii's two nursing schools were not eligible for the program because they were in the war zone; Alaska did not have any nursing schools at the time.The regulations required interested nursing schools to:
The standards of the National League of Nursing Education were adopted to evaluate the participating schools. ..." The CNC was open to all women between the ages of 17 and 35, in good health, who had graduated from an accredited high school. Marriage was permissible subject to guidelines. Successful applicants were eligible for a government subsidy, which paid for tuition, books, uniforms, and a living stipend. In exchange, student cadets were required to pledge to actively serve in essential civilian or federal government services for the duration of World War II. All state accredited schools of nursing were eligible to participate in the program; however, each school was required to apply individually. Of the 1,300 nursing schools in the country, 1,125 participated. For this program, the traditional 36-month nurse training was accelerated to 30-months. Senior nursing students were required to work for a six-month period in a federal or non-federal hospital, or in other health agency. In return, the federal government would pay the schools for the related tuition and fees of the students.After issuing these regulations, the Surgeon General said, "The schools of nursing are free to select students, to plan curricula, and to formulate policies consistent with the Act and the traditions of the institution concerned. This is a partnership job between the USPHS, the institutions, and the students
The USPHS recruiting campaign was aimed at reaching the maximum number of potential applicants in the shortest period of time.The primary target was the high school graduate, but college women were also recruited. The selling point was that the women would obtain a free education in a proud profession and provide an essential service to their country. Appeals to join the CNC reached more than 7,000,000 newspaper and magazine readers, millions of radio listeners, and movie patrons around the country. Pleas were made in a thousand speeches, through 2,800,000 car-boards and billboards, and in several million leaflets. U.S. corporations donated $13,000,000 worth of advertising space and technical services to the program in one year. Few media sources lacked advertising for the Corps.
For example, Eastman Kodak sponsored a full-page advertisement in Life magazine (24 January 1944) touting the CNC as a way to serve the country in the war job with a future. The ad said that young women who could qualify as a Cadet Nurse were lucky girls, eligible for free training with pay, room and board, and gray uniforms with gray berets. The uniforms were described as "one for summer and one for winter, and it's hard to say which is the smarter, which you'll wear with more pride". Applicants were assured they could wear something "frilly and feminine" instead of uniforms for dances, they would have time for dating, and that many schools allowed students to marry.
In 1944, David O. Selznick's Vanguard Films produced a short film, Reward Unlimited , to promote the CNC. It starred Dorothy McGuirein one of her first films, and was directed by Jacques Tourneur. The 10-minute film was exhibited in theaters and at CNC recruitment events in 1944 and 1945. The story, by Mary C. McCall, Jr., dramatizes the choice that young Peggy Adams makes to become a nurse, her training, and her volunteering for military nursing service. The cast includes Aline MacMahon, James Brown, Spring Byington and Tom Tully.
Recruitment centers were established by the American Hospital Association in all 1,125 participating nursing schools. Using recruiting booths, volunteers disseminated information about the opportunities offered by the CNC to potential candidates. State and local nursing councils, and many other organizations, associations, and volunteers aided the recruitment effort.Some 65,521 nursing students registered in the fiscal year 1943, the first year of enrollment. In the 1944 enrollment period, 61,471 registered. In the 1945 enrollment period, 3,000 students were admitted to what would be the final class of the program. By 1945, because of the non-discriminatory provision, over 3,000 African Americans, 40 Native Americans, and 400 Japanese Americans had enrolled in the CNC.
The official uniforms of the CNC were fashionable, with one for summer and another for winter. The summer uniform included a two-piece, gray and white-striped cotton suit, and a gray twill raincoat. The winter uniform was a gray, woollen, single-breasted jacket suit, a gored skirt and a gray velour overcoat. A gray Montgomery beret, similar to the one worn by the British General Montgomery, was worn with both uniforms.The winter uniform was one of three designs created by professional designers and introduced at a fashion show in New York City on August 16, 1943. Thirty-two fashion editors judged this uniform and the Montgomery beret as the winners. The uniform style selected was attractive enough to have provided an incentive for young women to join the CNC.
The official outdoor uniforms—with the exception of blouse, gloves, shoes, and stockings—were supplied to the cadets by the institution in which they were enrolled. The students paid for the items excluded.The indoor uniforms varied from school to school, and were purchased by the school from federal grants.
The insignia of the CNC was the Maltese Cross. The patch was worn on the left shoulder of the uniforms and on the student nurse uniform of the official school of nursing.The USPHS official insignia was worn on the jacket lapels and was also on the silver buttons. On the Montgomery beret, the USPHS insignia was worn beneath the spread eagle and the American Shield.
The participating schools of nursing were required to compress the traditional nursing program of 36 months to 30 months. They were also obligated to provide the students with the four clinical experiences of medical, surgical, obstetrics, and pediatrics. The students became senior cadets in the last six months before graduation, requiring them to serve in a federal or civilian hospital. They gave the full-time service equivalent to that of a graduate nurse. During their first nine months of service, the cadets were protected by regulation from working on the hospital wards for more than 24 hours each week. Junior cadets typically worked between 40 and 48 hours each week, including classes. Senior cadets were free of classes. All State Boards of Nursing modified their regulations to agree with the accelerated program.
The quality and standards of the educational systems in which the cadets would be trained varied considerably. In 1943, nursing schools, hospital administrators, and government officials assured the U.S. Congress that the federally, subsidized training of nurses would at least conform to the minimum standards.With his rule-making powers, the Surgeon General issued these regulations:
Congressional hearings on appropriations stressed that all schools should be allowed to take part in the program.But when the standards were applied against the existing conditions, they did not seem practical for some schools to achieve. Accommodations were made for smaller schools, by lowering the standards for them. They would be judged by criteria that included the qualifications and number of instructional personnel, their clinical facilities, the curricula, the weekly schedule of hours, and the health and guidance programs. Such schools produced a small percentage of the total cadet force. The nursing consultants of the Division of Nurse Education traveled thousands of miles, wrote thousands of letters, and provided support services, while monitoring the standards of the 1,125 approved schools of nursing.
Of the 1,300 nursing schools contacted by the Surgeon General, 1,125 participated in the CNC training.The program was operational from 1943 to 1948, which included three enrollment periods: the first term was 1943, the second was 1944, and the third and final term was 1945. During this time, 179,294 students enrolled in the program and 124,065 of them graduated from the participating nursing schools. Each State board of examiners wes expected to guarantee that the graduated cadet would be eligible for the State board examinations.
The Cadet nurses came from across the U.S. and from all the economic backgrounds. Some joined because they wished to become nurses, others for the education, and others joined for the temporary World War II service. Cadets pledged to serve and contribute nursing services to the nation.The Cadet Pledge follows:
At this moment of my induction into the United States Cadet Nurse Corps of the United States Public Health Service, I am solemnly aware of the obligations I assume toward my country and toward my chosen profession; I will follow faithfully the teachings of my instructors and the guidance of the physicians with whom I work; I will hold in trust the finest traditions of nursing and the spirit of the Corps; I will keep my body strong, my mind alert, and my heart steadfast; I will be kind, tolerant, and understanding; Above all, I will dedicate myself now and forever to the triumph of life over death; As a Cadet nurse, I pledge to my county my service in essential nursing for the duration of the war.
The cadet pledge was considered a statement of intention rather than a binding contract.The attrition rate for cadets was comparable to that reported for other schools of nursing in the same period. The main cause of withdrawals was homesickness; some married students withdrew to be with their husbands when they were released from the military; others when the hostilities ceased; some failed in their studies; others left for health reasons; and some left because of the realities of a nursing career.
The Cadet Nurses Corps was the largest of the federal nurse-training programs; it allowed young women to serve their country in uniform and without discrimination. It also influenced the way in which nurses would be educated and trained in the United States.The American Hospital Association credited the cadet student nurses with helping to prevent the collapse of civilian nursing care, and commended them for replacing graduate nurses who enlisted in the armed forces during World War II.
Following the surrender of Japan in August 1945, President Harry Truman set October 5, 1945, as the final date for new student admissions, allowing for an orderly transition of an important wartime activity. At the time, 116,498 students were still in training and 3,000 more had been admitted for the final term. Student nurses were providing 80% of the country's nursing care in more than 1,000 civilian hospitals.
The federal government spent $160,326,237 on the Nurse Training Act of 1943 for administration, uniforms, maintenance, tuition, fees and stipends. By the end of the program, the records of all participating schools of nursing had been audited by up to 32 field auditors, who were assigned to each (USPHS) district office and covered the schools in that area. The work of the field auditors resulted in the recovery of $2,200,000 of prepaid funds.
In January 1945, the Surgeon General, Thomas Parran, Jr., appeared before the House Committee on Military Affairs and said, "In my opinion, the country has received and increasingly will receive substantial returns on this investment. We can not measure what the loss to the country would have been if civilian nursing service had collapsed, any more than we could measure the cost of failure at the Normandy beachheads."
The United States Public Health Service (USPHS) is a division of the Department of Health and Human Services concerned with public health. It contains eight out of the department's eleven operating divisions. The Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) oversees the PHS. The Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC) is the federal uniformed service of the USPHS, and is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.
The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC), also referred to as the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service, is the federal uniformed service of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS), and is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.
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Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) is a health science university of the U.S. federal government. The primary mission of the school is to prepare graduates for service to the U.S. at home and abroad in the medical corps as medical professionals, nurses, and physicians.
Matilda Evans, M.D., was the first African-American woman licensed to practice medicine in South Carolina and an advocate for improved health care for African Americans, particularly children.
A hospital corpsman (HM) is an enlisted medical specialist of the United States Navy, who may also serve in a U.S. Marine Corps unit. The corresponding rank within the United States Coast Guard is Health Services Technician (HS).
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The United States Air Force Medical Service (AFMS) consists of the five distinct medical corps of the Air Force and enlisted medical technicians. The AFMS was created in 1949 after the newly independent Air Force’s first Surgeon General, Maj. General Malcolm C. Grow (1887–1960), convinced the United States Army and President Harry S. Truman that the Air Force needed its own medical service.
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Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing is the nursing school of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The school awards the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD). The school is named after Nell Hodgson Woodruff, wife of long-time president of The Coca-Cola Company Robert W. Woodruff. Mrs. Woodruff left nursing school when she married, but she supported nursing causes throughout her life.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate nursing education. AACN works to establish quality standards for nursing education; assists schools in implementing those standards; influences the nursing profession to improve health care; and promotes public support for professional nursing education, research, and practice.
The History of nursing in the United States focuses on the professionalization of nursing since the Civil War.
Reward Unlimited is a short film produced in 1944 by David O. Selznick's Vanguard Films, for the United States Public Health Service, dramatizing the need for volunteer military nurses for the U. S. Cadet Nurse Corps during World War II. Directed by Jacques Tourneur, the 10-minute film stars Dorothy McGuire in one of her first films. The story by Mary C. McCall, Jr., dramatizes the choice that young Peggy Adams makes to become a nurse, her training, and her volunteering for military nursing service. The cast includes Aline MacMahon, James Brown, Spring Byington and Tom Tully.
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Mary Lee Mills was an American nurse. Born into a family of eleven children, she attended the Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing and graduated in a nursing degree and became a registered nurse. After working as a midwife, she joined the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) in 1946 and served as their chief nursing officer of Liberia, working to hold some of their first campaigns in public health education. Mills later worked in Lebanon and established the country's first nursing school, and helped to combat treatable diseases. She was later assigned to South Vietnam, Cambodia and Chad to provide medical education.
Sylvia Trent-Adams is a rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps who currently serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health. She previously served as the Deputy Surgeon General of the United States from October 25, 2015 to January 2, 2019. Trent-Adams also served as acting Surgeon General of the United States from April 21, 2017 to September 5, 2017.
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Lucy Minnigerode was an American nurse in World War I, and founder of the United States Public Health Service Nursing Corps. She was the eighth American recipient of the Florence Nightingale Medal, awarded by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1925.