A Message from the President

November, 2018

Arlene W. Keeling, PhD, RN, FAAN


December 4, 2018

Message from the President

Courtesy Library of Congress, USA

As we enter the month of December with its focus on holiday celebrations, let us not forget all that military nurses have done for soldiers in the past -- and all that they do today--to bring the sick and injured a few moments of joy in the holiday season. Studying various historical photos, it becomes clear that in times of war and in far away places, many nurses gave compassionate, holistic care to those who needed it most. This photo was taken at a Dartford hospital, UK, in December 1918, about six weeks after the end of World War I.  The U. S. soldier, a private, had lain wounded in a trench for six days and had been in the hospital for 12 weeks. Working with the Red Cross, the nurses ensured that he received a token of home on Christmas morning.

On searching the archives for this photo, it also became clear to me that the majority of Library of Congress photos about nurses and holiday celebrations depict the Christmas holiday, rather than Hanukkah or Kwanza or other important religious and ethnic celebrations. I surmise, however, that other nurses --perhaps “Hidden Figures” -- did the same on other holidays, helping young soldiers celebrate in meaningful ways. Uncovering those stories and any accompanying photos would make a wonderful contribution to the history of nursing. In this same spirit, do any of our members know of any related photos or is anyone up for the challenge of finding them?

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season!      

Arlene W. Keeling, PhD, RN, FAAN


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History provides current nurses with the same intellectual and political tools that determined nursing pioneers applied to shape nursing values and beliefs to the social context of their times. Nursing history is not an ornament to be displayed on anniversary days, nor does it consist of only happy stories to be recalled and retold on special occasions. Nursing history is a vivid testimony, meant to incite, instruct and inspire today's nurses as they bravely tread the winding path of a reinvented health care system.

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September 19-21, 2019 at the Sheraton Downtown Dallas
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