Honoring the Cadet Nurse Corps
May 7 is National Nurse Recognition Day. The National Institute of Health is giving recognition to the Cadet Nurse Corps.
It is a little known group of 124,000 WWII young women who joined the corps to help supply the Army and Navy nurse ranks and cover the needs of staffing for the civilian hospitals. They were the youngest and largest number of uniformed women of any group.
I was one of them. Starting in July 1943 and finishing in July 1946, I attended the Nebraska Methodist Hospital School of Nursing in Omaha. The last six months as a senior cadet I affiliated at Vanderbilt University working in the surgical operating rooms. We worked hard and put in long hours, but we were happy to contribute to the war effort.
I know of one other cadet nurse from Perkins County, Bette Peterson, who attended Mary Lanning Hospital of Nursing at Hastings. There may have been others.
The program was in effect from 1943 to 1948. We have contributed a great deal to the health of the nation. I had occasion to lend a helping hand to my hometown hospital in 1952 when there were some problems and they needed a nurse to keep the hospital open while the problems were addressed. My father learned about the problem while at the pool hall. I was on my way to Denver to return to work at Presbyterian Hospital, and my father came home and announced that he had volunteered my help at the local hospital for a couple of weeks.
It ended up being six months of a pioneering, challenging effort. In the end, the hospital was able to remain open and to this day is an asset to the community.
I have enjoyed a career that was gratifying and one that afforded me a good family life. Nebraska Methodist Hospital School of Nursing is now a fine college of nursing.
On June 3, our alumni will recognize the Cadet Nurse Corps and some of 80 to 90 years young will be attending. My name can be found on the plaque at the Perkins County Courthouse, listed with the uniformed who served.
On May 7, give recognition to your special nurse. On behalf of my fellow cadets, I am giving a book to the local library, Cadet Nurse Stories,” by Robison and Perry.
Best regards and good health.
Margery Hendricks Albright