Thursday, March 01, 2007

"They Called Them Angels"

This being the first day of National Women's History Month, it seems fitting that a new book on the history of nursing will soon be available at the OHSU Main Library:

They Called Them Angels: American military nurses of World War II, by Kathi Jackson, will hit the new book shelf next Monday (March 5). Originally published in 2000, this 2006 edition is a reprint--testimony for the unexpected popularity of the first print run.

In these times, when we honor the valor of our soldiers overseas (whether or not we honor the path to war), it's amazing to read about women who not only risked their lives but risked their reputations, in an era when they were often expected to stay at home and devote themselves to housekeeping and child-rearing. Some amazing stories of WWII nursing from our own nurses here in Oregon, who served with the University of Oregon Medical School volunteer unit, General Hospital 46, can be read in our oral history interviews; our archives contains the wonderful scrapbook of Colonel Strohm's Nurses (Accession 2000-006) as well as a wonderful collection of materials from Army nurse Naida Hurlburt Hoffman (Accession 2003-004).

So, let us begin to celebrate this month by celebrating our female healthcare providers and our female soldiers, and let us hope that we each, men and women alike, will be able to rise to the challenges we face.

(I realize I am stereotyping a bit in this post: not all nurses are female; in fact, we also recently received a book on the history of men in nursing, called, appropriately enough, Men in Nursing: history, challenges, and opportunities, edited by Chad O'Lynn and Russell Tranbarger. Also an excellent resource; however there is no National Men's History Month...)

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