Message from the President

January 7, 2020


Photo credit: American Red Cross


Yes, winter is officially here! And today, with snow accumulating rapidly in my driveway, I could not help but think of this image of a 1927 public health nurse digging out her car in this rural setting.[1] Clearly, reaching patients in remote regions of the United States in the 1920s was no easy feat! In Nursing Rural America, historian Sandra Lewenson documents the history of the Town and Country nurses and the challenges that Red Cross nurse Christine Higgins faced in her work in rural Maine. Writing to her supervisor, Higgins described her unconventional uniform and her travel issues as she made her way from island to island to provide health teaching:

. . . My uniform consists of rubber boots, army breeches, short skirt, flannel shirt and a sheepskin-lined coat.  The mud is very deep. . . and the highways and byways of Cranberry Isle are not yet paved. . . Still we do have a Ford. . .  I am going to Islesford next week and then hope to have a horse for transportation. . . [2]

If you’re feeling snowbound, or just hibernating with the winter doldrums, you might read Lewenson’s chapter.  It will certainly help you appreciate your circumstances.  J 

And, if you’re itching to get away from it all, plan now to attend our AAHN conference in Chester, UK, in September of this year – and perhaps join us for the post-conference tour to Scotland!  Reserve your space in the conference now with a refundable deposit! In the meantime, “whilst” you are deciding, write that abstract and submit it as soon as possible.  Having it accepted for presentation or poster will certainly help you decide.

Warm wishes for a wonderful, healthy and productive New Year!

Arlene W. Keeling PhD, RN, FAAN

email: [email protected].


[1] See cover:  John Kirchgessner and Arlene Keeling, Nursing Rural America: Perspectives from the Early 20th Century, (New York: Springer Publishing, 2015)

[2] Sandy Lewenson, “Chapter 1: Town and Country Nursing,” in Kirchgessner and Keeling, Nursing Rural America, pp. 5-6.