Nursing Recruitment during World War II

During WWII, many nurses entered the armed forces to serve their country in medical units overseas. Others moved to larger centres, such as Ottawa, to help with the war effort. That left smaller provinces needing more nurses to cover those who had left. Far from being just a prairie phenomenon, the whole country was in search of qualified nurses to take the place of those who had left. A document the University of Saskatchewan Archives entitled "Notes on Nursing," seems to be a speech made to university students, although the origin of the document is not clear. It shows the kind of recruitment strategy for nurses during the war:

The need for nurses will not end with the present emergency. To day it is not enough for young women to offer themselves. They must be prepared and acquire definite skills. The demand for nurses with good preparation is grest (sic)...With the shortage of doctors the demand being placed upon nurses has definitely increased. Therefore it is very expedient that standards should be maintained at a high level, although as a wartime measure the minimum entrance age requirement in approved schools in Saskatchewan has been reduced to eighteen years...In the present crisis many nurses with advanced education (University) have been chosen for military service. The proportion is very high. Indicating that university education is a preparation for leadership...Nurses are now serving in the army, navy and air force. They will play an important if somewhat different part, in the period of reconstruction.

A Canadian Nurses' Association document from 1942 also shows the heavy recruitment of nursing during wartime. Showing pictures of various opportunities for nurses, the pamphlet states: "if you are anxious to serve your country, nursing offers you this opportunity, for Canada urgently needs nurses now. At the same time you will be preparing yourself for a profession which will still need you after the war is won...Why not get particulars today from the Secretary of the Association of Registered Nurses in your province?".
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