The Hairbag Poet-“Can of Hope”

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

You can read about the history of this series here.

In the blogger world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday. You can read about Poetry Friday here.

Todays poem is a Haiku.  I have to say I’ve never really been a big fan of the Haiku, but being the Hairbag poet that I am, I must confess I never really understood the Haiku.  Like most areas of my life when I don’t understand something, I research it.

Haiku (hokku), is a form of Japanese verse.

According to Poetry Foundation (2017) “A haiku often features an image, or a pair of images, meant to depict the essence of a specific moment in time. Not popularized in Western literature until the early 1900s, the form originates from the Japanese hokku, or the opening section of a longer renga sequence. In this context, the hokku served to begin a longer poem by establishing a season, often with a pair of seasonal images. Unlike the rest of the renga sequence, which was composed collaboratively, the hokku was often created by a single poet working alone, and was subsequently used as an exercise for students. Over time, the hokku began to be appreciated for its own worth and became distinct as a poetic form, formally mastered by poets such as Basho and Yosa Buson.”

I believe my Haiku below captures both the requirement of image and season capturing the specific moment in time that we have all come to know as the bomb cyclone.

“Despite its formal history, the haiku’s composition has expanded somewhat over time. This is due in part to the differences between the Japanese language and Western languages. In its original Japanese form, the haiku is often divided into 17 mora (a Japanese unit of syllable weight) and arranged in a single vertical line. However, in English there is no exact equivalent to the mora unit. As a result, in English and other languages, haikus are most frequently adapted into three lines of verse, usually unrhymed, composed of five, seven, and five syllables, adding up to seventeen syllables total” (Poetry Foundation, 2017).

I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to post your own poetry in the comments if you feel inspired by the photographs. I always love reading other peoples perspective on “art”.

 

The Hairbag Poet

Photo by Donald, titled “A Can of Hope in a Stark World.”

Can of Hope

Whiteout darkens skies.
Grayson’s Bombogenesis
Clouds part; hope glitters.

The Hairbag Poet-“Ephemeral Friends”

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

You can read about the history of this series here. 

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday. You can read about Poetry Friday here.

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time reading about different types of poetry terms and forms. Since I am The Hairbag Poet, I realize I may like to write poetry, but I have a lot to learn about poetry, and trust me there is a lot to learn!  Todays poem, I think, fits the form of an Epigram.

According to poets.org “An epigram is a short, pithy saying, usually in verse, often with a quick, satirical twist at the end. The subject is usually a single thought or event. The word “epigram” comes from the Greek epigraphein, meaning “to write on, inscribe,” and originally referred to the inscriptions written on stone monuments in ancient Greece. The first-century epigrams of the Roman poet Martial became the model for the modern epigram.”

I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to post your own poetry in the comments if you feel inspired by the photographs. I always love reading other peoples perspective on “art”.

The Hairbag Poet

 

Photo by Donald titled “Scrub brush with a Leaf”. He comments, “I think it speaks for itself!!!”

Who says scrub brushes and leaves can’t be friends?
The Wind?
Damn him!

The Hairbag Poet

Hi and welcome to my Friday series titled The Hairbag Poet.

A few weeks ago, around Thanksgiving, I was talking with my very talented sister-in-law (Cherise) about collaborating on an idea I was working on. Cherise is a very artistic, and intelligent woman, and has many talents, but her photography is stunning. Her pictures are amazing.  She takes her camera with her everywhere, and captures moments that take your breath away.  Cherise and my brother live in Maine, which is just the perfect backdrop for any photographer, and I thought we could combine her love of photography and my love of writing, and poetry, and she happily agreed.

However, what I didn’t realize was my brothers disappointment, hurt, and rejected feelings at not being asked to collaborate with me as well (insert baby violin player here).  He texted me after they got home expressing his feelings of repudiation.  So I told him to submit his portfolio, and I would consider a possible collaboration with him as well (I really didn’t mean it). My brother is an ex NYPD cop, who is now a really great cook, but he’s not exactly what you would call “artsy”. He sent me his photos anyway, and they took my breath away (like when you get punched in the stomach, or you smell something foul and have to hold your breath).  Now I’m not one to back down from a challenge, so I happily provided some poetry to his “work”. He continued to send me photographs, and I continued to meet his challenge, and found myself having a lot of fun.

Now fast forward a few weeks…

I was using the term Hairbag to describe someone I thought was not a stellar worker one day and got a few funny laughs from my friends who had never heard the term Hairbag before. I couldn’t remember the origin of the word, but I knew it somehow related to a police slang, that I no doubt picked up from my brother many years ago.  I texted him asking him to explain to me what the word meant, and indeed it was a derogatory police slang for cops who do nothing, complain, have given up, and are waiting to retire. So we had a good laugh that I used the  word appropriately, he sent me more of his photographic disasters (I mean works of art), and I continued to return lousy poetry (eloquent verse), and he started calling me the Hairbag Poet, which made me laugh, and I thought it would be fun to share our collaborations.

I am always inspired by great collaborators, and two writers who have inspired me to unite artwork and poetry are Laura Purdie Salas and Penny Parker Klostermann. They do it beautifully.

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

I hope you enjoy these posts.  Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to post your own poetry in the comments if you feel inspired by the photographs.  I always love reading other peoples perspectives on “art”.

The Hairbag Poet

Here is our first collaboration:

Photo by Donald who says, “The depth and the lines are amazing!!”

Manic Depression

Duplicitous I am.
Cool steel fissures divides.
Dirty, sharp blades, and metal
tines haunt my nightmares,
Quelled only with the ablutions
of warm, sudsy foam.

 

Heartbroken

 

The air was saturated with tears, and laden with grief. I shuffled my way through crowds of black gabardine, and pearls of sadness. The heat in the room was heavy with the exhalations of sorrow and choked down pity. How does one mother greet another who has just lost her child? Our eyes meet, and I am she in her reflection. Tears brim, and trickle down my cheek. We hug, and she shakes with the hollowness of her empty womb. My words feel vacant and lackluster. I can feel the anxiety of others queuing up behind me, and I retreat. She takes her place once again; eyes pointed towards her son.

 

Nightingale Awards: The Oscars for Nurses

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The Nightingale Award

Last night the Academy Awards rolled out the red carpet, and the stars unfurled their loquacious tongues showering praise upon themselves, rivaled only by the hubris of Narcissus. While most people will be focused on the Best Picture mix-up between ‘La La Land’, and ‘Moonlight’, I was left breathless by this quote,

“I became an artist and thank God I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.” Viola Davis

My breathlessness was not one of awe and beauty at the arrangements of those 24 simple words, but more the gasping tightness of bronchiole constriction in desperate need of albuterol. Did she just say that? Are artists the only people who celebrate what it means to live a life?

This of course forced me to look back on my 30-year career and wonder if my profession celebrates what it means to live a life? Maybe without awards we lack the clarity to understand what it truly means to live a life. I thought perhaps we could review, and award what I consider the true meaning of living a life by the only standards I am familiar with.

To begin at the beginning of life seems appropriate to me, even though this beginning is not my profession, but my observation during the birth of my 3rd child. My nurse coincidentally was the same nurse I had for the birth of my 2nd child, and although we work at the same hospital, we are not friends, and we are worlds apart in our professions. I am a critical care nurse, she is a labor and delivery nurse, a profession I learned early on in my training, I couldn’t stomach. We started her shift together at 7a.m. I was induced, given an epidural, and despite the fact that this was my third baby, I was, IMHO, progressing slowly. 12 hours later I was finally ready to give birth, and my nurse was ready to go home. I wasn’t her only patient, but we had a great rapport. She had a family to go home to, and a long commute, but after she finished her shift report, she came back into my room to see me through my delivery. I felt honored that this nurse would work past her 12-hour day to help me deliver my baby. That is the true meaning of celebrating what it means to live a life.

When I worked in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit of a big city hospital I worked with a very special group of nurses. One in particular stood out to me on Thanksgiving Day when I ran into her in the hallway. I knew it was her day off. I was surprised and asked her what she was doing there. I found out she was bringing a 19 year old boy and his family Thanksgiving dinner. Remember it was her day off. That was the last Thanksgiving dinner this family shared together. The 19-year-old boy died the next day. That is the true meaning of celebrating what it means to live a life.

How many souls have I helped pass quietly onto the other side, and how many did I, not so quietly, fight to keep on this side? I have watched colleagues hold hands, shed tears, give hugs, grieve with family, and continue to walk tall, smile, and stay strong, carrying heavily the burdens of others piggybacked onto their own souls. That is the true meaning of celebrating what it means to live a life.

I’ve worked in many units including ICU, CCU, PACU, MICU, E.D., Med/Surg., Research, Burn Unit, and there are many that I have never stepped foot in like the PICU, SICU, NICU, TRAUMA, CTICU, and L&D, but we nurses have more that unite us than divide us no matter where we work. One common thread that gets us all through is our indelible sense of humor. Some would say it’s a sick sense of humor, I say it’s medicine for our souls. It carries us through when any other emotion would be crippling. We know when and how to use humor to protect ourselves, but also to protect our patients and their worried families to relieve anxiety. That is the true meaning of celebrating what it means to live a life.

So in honor of nurses and all healthcare professionals everywhere who don’t have grandiose award ceremonies, but do have a good sense of humor, I have decided to give out my own Nursing Oscars called The Nightingale Awards:

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Our first category is best Costume Design. The Nominees are:

  1. Grey’s Anatomy
    gascrubs
  2. Koi
    a1b872_976df96c08f340598b1f8f2301b4d7c0
  3. Dansko
    danskologo_fb_200x
  4. Cherokee
    cherokee-logo
    And the Nightingale goes to…Grey’s Anatomy. By far the most comfortable, diverse, and true to life costume that defines healthcare wear for the modern age. And they don’t make my butt look fat.

The next category is Best Sound Mixing that will drive you crazy. The Nominees are:

  1. The IV pump
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  2. The bedside monitor
    bedside-monitor
  3. The PCA Pump
    images
  4. The Call Bell
    52fddde69ca3401aefe576d1332d3715_f122

And the best sound mixing that will drive you crazy Nightingale goes to…The Bedside Monitor. The plethora of alarm sounds generated from one machine can actually be heard in your dreams, while in a coma, after a 12-hour night shift, and even when you’re on vacation…amazing!

The Next Category is Best Nurse Impersonator. The Nominees are:

  1. Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes in ‘Misery’
    1-annie-wilkes
  2. Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’
    6-nurse-ratched
  3. Ben Stiller as Gaylord Focker in ‘Meet the Parents’
    7-greg-focker
  4. Caitriona Balfe as Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser in the series ‘Outlander’
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And the winner of the Best Nurse Impersonator Nightingale goes to…Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes in ‘Misery’, because lets face it sometimes a sledgehammer does work better than 5mg of Ambien.

The Next Category is Best Original Nurse Story. The Nominees are:

  1. Big City Nurse by Albert L. Quandt
    6bf7a8e3b7143b1737a12b277152f392
  2. Nurses are People by Lucy Agnes Hancock
    2eded00657f84680ab17ece50c3bb964
  3. Terror Stalks the Night Nurse by Blanche Y. Mosler
    c63e2acbdad75cb6f5e417215f4be64d
  4. Sinners in White by Mike Avallone
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The winner for Best Original Story Nightingale is…Sinners in White, by Mike Avallone. Why? Because you know who you are…

The Next Category is Best Team Member in a Supporting Role. The Nominees are:

  1. IV Team
    icu_iv_1
  2. Dietician
    dc628aaad653f50545c87ce00ea1c094
  3. Pharmacist
    pharmacy_pharmacist_logo_keychain-r8ad7a5f8ea714c418e6af9f7b55c916a_x7jle_8byvr_324
  4. Physical Therapist
    whatispt
  5. All of the Above

And the Nightingale for The Winner for Best Team Member in a Supporting Role goes to…All of the Above…We know these supporting roles are imperative to helping us do our job, plus lets face it if they go it’s just one more thing administration will ask nursing to do!

The Next Category is People we have to deal with in the Hospital in a Leading Role. The Nominees are:

  1. That patient always on the call bell
    nurses-call-bell-jingle-bells
  2. The Supervisor who tells you you’re floating to the ED
    images
  3. The CEO quoted as saying, “Safe Staffing ratios is Fake News!”
    367c418928c06442e85df3e9cb458a67-jpg
  4.  All one million doctors working with us here in the USA.
    doctors nurse

The Nightingale for People we have to deal with in the Hospital in a Leading Role is…Yes of course it’s the one million doctors, sometimes we love them, sometimes we hate them, but we can’t take a verbal order without them! Did you really think I would pick anybody else…the patient constantly on the call bell?…yes definitely a close second!

The Next Category is Best Device in a Supporting Role. The Nominees are:

  1. The Intra Aortic Balloon Pump
    02-how-it-works
  2. CVVHD
    b2213976a90cc967f1aa4c3ab76079f0
  3. The Ventilator
    rspvi_mannikin
  4. Pressors
    vasopressors-presentationfinal-26-638

In the category of Best Device in a Supporting Role, the Nightingale goes to…The Ventilator! Airway is always first, and the Ventilator does a magnificent job supporting those who cannot support themselves.

The Next Category is The Most Helpful People in the Hospital in a Leading Role. The Nominees are:

  1. The family member who insists their google search diagnosis is the correct one
    7d1ed6b6f3cb9fa87225a2566d2e2f02
  2. The Pet Therapy Dog
    facebook-jj-the-hospice-therapy-dog
  3. Nurses…all 3 million of us (I’m including all my male nurse friends here too)
    First 20 Navy Nurses Corps.
  4. The Person who steals your lunch out of the break room refrigerator
    Tired of repeatedly having her lunch stolen from the breakroom refrigerator, Debbie sprayed her bag with artificial Rotted-Lunch Scent.

The Nightingale for The Most Helpful People in the Hospital in a Leading Role proudly goes to…Yes of course all 3 million nurses! For their tireless dedication to patient care, long hours, weekend, night, and holiday work, tolerance of abusive administration, full bladders, empty stomachs, ability to drive in any weather condition, ability to work sick, ability to multitask while working sick, ability to lift weight beyond what was thought physically possible, ability to deal with completely mental people not including patients and families, and last but not least the ability to field phone calls from home from spouses who cannot find their underwear or the cat, and aren’t sure what they should cook for dinner.  God Bless Nurses!  And God Bless all the people Nurses work with!

Last but not least the Final Category is Best Picture:  You Choose…try not to mess it up!

Night Nurse Warner Brothers

Night Nurse Warner Bros.

U.S. Nurses playing cards, reading, and relaxing circa 1918. U.S. Navy History and Heritage Command Photo.

U.S. Nurses playing cards, reading, and relaxing circa 1918. U.S. Navy History and Heritage Command Photo.

Nurses showing worn out heels after a sixty day hike out of enemy territory!

Nurses showing worn out heels after a sixty day hike out of enemy territory!

4.

florence_nightingale_in_crimean_war

Florence Nightingale attending the wounded in the Crimean War.

My heart breaks for these people.

How Nurses feel.

Oh and when it comes to making mistakes, Hollywood gets to blame theirs on someone else, we however take full credit for our mistakes…then we lose our jobs, get sued, and commit suicide!  So yes once again we are so aware, and fully cognizant of how to celebrate what it means to live a life!

Congratulations to all the Nightingale Award Winners!!

Broken

lifesupport

 

I work in the complex, convoluted, and often challenging American health care system.  I strive to provide the best care to my patients.  It is troubling to me when one of my loved ones enter this system, and are not met with those same standards.  Our health care system is broken.  Health care providers are expected to do more, with less, in the fastest amount of time possible. This hasty, fast-food approach to American health care is unhealthy, and unsustainable. We hear the nations cry of ‘health care for all’, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to good health care for all. It’s no wonder medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America today (Makary, and Daniel, 2016).

The piece I wrote below is my interpretation of the experience of a loved one struggling in this broken system.

 

The Broken Column, 1944 by Frida Kahlo

The Broken Column, 1944 by Frida Kahlo

I woke up today in pain.

I reached out to you,

You didn’t see.

I continued to have pain.

I reached out to you,

You didn’t hear.

I was scared by this pain.

I reached out to you,

You didn’t speak.

I still have pain!

I reached out to someone else.

They saw me, they heard me, they spoke to me.

I was broken.

I reached out to you again to let you know,

Your apathy was palpable.

Perhaps it is not me that is broken…

Makary, M.A., Daniel, M. (2016). Medical error-the third leading cause of death in the US. BMJ 353:i2139

Halloween Traditions

Vintage Halloween Cover

Yikes I can’t believe it’s been two years since my last Halloween post, I feel like I’m in the confessional.  Halloween has always been my favorite time of the year.  Maybe because I’m a fall baby, or love dressing up, or perhaps it could be all that great free candy, but no matter what, I always feel so nostalgic during this time of the year.  When I was younger I used to make Halloween costumes with my best friend and we’d go around the neighborhood or to parties always trying to out do our previous costume.  My mom always made a huge pot of meatballs and spaghetti on Halloween, and after a fun night of trick-or-treating, my six siblings and I would come inside to a warm house that smelled of tradition and family.  I relished those moments every year.

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I’m the one on the right, clearly a homemade costume!

That's me in the baseball costume with my little brother.

That’s me in the baseball costume with my little brother.

When I moved to my first apartment in New York City, one of the first parties I ever threw was a Halloween party.  It was awesome, and everyone dressed up, and spilled out into the streets in their costumes.  But after that party, Halloween seemed to go into hibernation for awhile.  I didn’t throw, or go to any parties, I didn’t dress up for years it seemed.  Was I becoming a Halloween scrooge?  I hoped not.

Walk like an Egyptian.

Walk like an Egyptian.

But like all good things that come around again, I met my husband, and we started a family.  My oldest son was born in the fall, like me, and I couldn’t wait to dress him up for his first Halloween.  Secretly, I couldn’t wait to dress up again myself, and he was just a great excuse.  We spent our first Halloween back in my old neighborhood with my parents and my family.  Halloween was back online, and that pot of meatballs and spaghetti was back on the stove…I was home again.

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My husband and I eventually moved into a house of our own, in a neighborhood with tree lined driveways, and friendly faces.  My husband and I made new friends, in particular one couple who love Halloween as much as I do. They have been inviting us to their annual Halloween party for the past three years, and dressing up has never been more fun, especially since I’ve dragged my husband into it.

80's Rock!! 2013

80’s Rock!! 2013

Meet Morticia and Gomez 2014

Meet Morticia and Gomez 2014

Richard Simmons and Olivia Newton John 2015

Richard Simmons and Olivia Newton John 2015

My mom brings her big pot of meatballs and spaghetti to my house now, and my siblings come with their children to trick-or-treat around the neighborhood with their cousins.  I only hope that when they come home from trick-or-treating, and enter their warm house, with the smells of comfort and family, they relish these moments as much as I do.

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From this years Trump Family: Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Halloween!

Donald and Melania Trump 2016

Donald and Melania Trump 2016

 

happy-halloween-witch-4

 

 

#LogiVSS Very Short Story Challenge

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     So the other day I posted a link to Tara Lazar’s website about a very short story challenge sponsored by Logitech on my other blog.  The idea was to write a short story on twitter in 8 lines or less.  I wasn’t exactly sure how to write a story that short and have it make sense.  After a bit of research, I realized that this type of writing is a bit of an art form.  On twitter, there are so many entries where people manage to write their stories in only one line, that would be 140 characters or less for those of you unfamiliar to twitter like myself.

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     Now, considering I didn’t have a twitter account, and knew nothing about it, not only did I have to figure out how to write a story in eight lines or less, I also had to figure out how to set up a twitter account.  To my surprise it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, and after a bit of reading and a great introductory video by David A. Cox  I was on my way.  I created my twitter account using my nightingale tales blog name, and created my twitter handle (that’s lingo for my @I.D.), and successfully entered the Logitech challenge.  I even managed to write my story in 6 lines; not quite the 140 character story, but I now have something to strive for.  It’s a little addicting trying to complete a story in 140 characters.

Here is my entry.  Let me know what you think.

vultures-2

The Volt

 

“Is she dead Nurse?”

I look up at them with disgust, their vulturous stares bearing down on me.

My eyelids lower, nodding once.

The room stinks of their intemperate breath as they exhale in unison.

The Volt cling their talons deep into the edge of their Chippendale perches, lying in wait as the executor readies himself beside the lukewarm carcass.

A prescient silence spreads smoothly over the committee, followed by bilious projectiles of vehement objections.

I retreat for the exit, my back aligned with the door.

I will never have to work again.

Veterans Day: A Tribute to Military Nurses

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     The last time I posted for Veterans Day, I wrote about the special relationship between the nurse and the soldier’s they care for.  But today, on this Veterans Day, I wanted to recognize all the nurses who have courageously gone to the battlefield, risked their own lives, and in some cases lost their lives.  I wanted to delve into the history of the military nurse, their duties, bravery, and unyielding dedication they show to the soldiers in their care.

Florence_Nightingale_in_Crimean_War

Florence Nightingale attending the wounded of the Crimean War.

     Florence Nightingale is the most famous military nurse in history.  Although not a commissioned soldier, her experiences during the Crimean War helped to pave the way, for what would be in America, The Army Nurse Corps.  Florence Nightingale’s presence during wartime led to important changes in hygiene, and sanitary conditions in the hospital wards at the front lines.  Those changes were brought back to Great Britain, and America, and had a global impact on hospital care both on the battlefield, and at home.

     Since that time women have traditionally served in times of war, but mostly in volunteer corps, not as officers.  During the Revolutionary War the Congressional resolution of July, 27, 1775 allowed one nurse for every ten patients in Continental hospitals.  Nurses were paid two dollars per month a salary that increased to eight dollars per month by 1777.  Nurses were in great demand on the battle field to care for the sick and wounded soldiers, and in 1778 George Washington ordered his commanders to hire as many nurses as possible.  Nurses traveling with the army were at risk for injury as well as disease.

The Angels of the Battlefield by William Ludwell Sheppard ushistory.org

     The Civil War brought the attention of Dorothea Dix to the forefront.  Though not a nurse herself, she was federally appointed as Superintendent of female nurses, and in charge of overseeing the entire nursing staff of the Union Army.  From 1861-1865 approximately 3300 nurses served in the Union Army for the grand salary of 12 dollars per month, and food rations.  Nurses during this time were at great risk for contracting contagious diseases, as well as the dangers of being on a battle field. Interestingly Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, served as a nurse under Dorothea Dix.

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WWI Nurse

     By 1898, under the request of the Surgeon General,  nurses were contracted for the Spanish-American War, and salaries were increased to 30 dollars per month and one food ration a day.  The Army, around this time, was more selective in the hiring of trained nurses, or graduate nurses approved by their nursing school directors.  These nurses were called contract nurses, and their training improved the quality of the military nurse.  The army later went on to establish the Army Nurse Corps in 1901 which organized nursing under the control of the army, and allotted for three-year terms.  At this time only 220 nurses were on active duty.

First 20 Navy Nurses Corps.

First 20 Navy Nurses Corps.

     In 1908 Congress established the first Navy Nurse Corps, though unofficially, nurses had been sailing on navy ships for nearly a century.

     In 1917, during WWI, nurses ranks had risen again to 12,186, and were stationed all over the world.  The Army opened its own school of nursing in 1918, but then closed it in 1931 due to budget cuts.

     In 1920 nurses in the military were given officer rank from 2nd lieutenant to major.

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     When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 the nursing corps had dwindled back down to around 7000.  But with a reserve corps already established, and active recruiting, that number quickly went back up to over 12,000 within six months.  During WWII black nurses had begun to serve in large numbers, however their units remained segregated both at home and overseas.

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Liberated Nurses Feb 12, 1945

     In 1942 66 Army Nurses serving in the Philippines, became prisoners of war to the Japanese with the fall of Corregidor.  Just prior to the fall, 21 nurses escaped and made it safely to Australia by plane and submarine. Those that remained as POW’s did so for three years before they were liberated.  All received the Bronze Star Medal and a promotion of one grade.

Flight Nurses in Training 1943

Flight Nurses in Training 1943

First Navy flight Nurses 1945

First Navy flight Nurses 1945

     In 1943 the first class of Army Nurse Corps flight nurses graduated from the School of Air Evacuation, and basic training camps were established to train nurses for their military experience.

In November  of 1943 a plane carrying 13 nurses and 17 soldiers crash landed in Albania behind Nazi enemy lines.  All members of the plane survived, and after a nine week, 800 mile  journey, managed to escape enemy lines.  This story can be found in the book Albanian Escape, written by Army Nurse Agnes Jensen.

Nurses showing worn out heels after a sixty day hike out of enemy territory!

Nurses showing worn out heels after a sixty day hike out of enemy territory!

     In 1947 Nurses were given the opportunity to take a 56 week course in anesthesiology, and a 24 week course in operating room technique and management.

     In 1950 the Korean war begins, and nurses are sent to set up hospitals, and Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (MASH)  units.

     By 1955 male nurses were authorized commission to serve in the U.S. Army Reserves for assignment to the Army Nurse Corps.

Operating Room, MASH unit Korea

Operating Room, MASH unit Korea

     1962 sees the first wave of nurses sent to Vietnam, and 1973 sees the last wave of nurses leaving Vietnam.  Nine nurses died in Vietnam during this time period.

Vietnam war memorial with nurse and wounded soldier.

Vietnam war memorial with nurse and wounded soldier.

     In October 1976 a B.S.N. was required for active duty in the Army Nurse Corps.

     1990 Nurses are deployed to support troops in Operation Dessert Shield/Dessert Storm

     September 11, 2001 America is attacked.

     2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom begins.

Flight Nurses Today

Flight Nurses Today

     Nurses on the battlefield, at the front lines, or in route to do their duties put their lives on the line, and as a result over 200 nurses have died in the line of duty.  The nurses presence during combat is indispensable.  Nurse soldiers, like all soldiers, sacrifice their time, their families, and sometimes their lives to protect the soldiers protecting our freedom.  Nurses on the battlefield have always, and will continue to be a voluntary job.  Nurses are not part of the draft, though shortly before the end of WWII there was a bill in congress to have nurses as part of the draft, but at the end of the war it was determined that enough nurses had volunteered that a draft was unnecessary for them.   Military nurses should be proud of their enduring history.  Great women bravely face the darkness of war, carrying with them only their knowledge, skills, and compassion, guided by the light from Florence Nightingale’s lantern.  That light continues to shine within the brave men and women of todays modern-day Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Nurse Corps.

     I am proud to be a nurse.  I am grateful to all the nurses before me who had the courage to face danger, provide excellent nursing care to our wounded soldiers, and protect the freedoms we hold so dear.  I wish all the military nurse corps a peaceful Veterans Day, and a sincere thank-you from this civilian nurse.  You are all truly special for what you do.  And of course to ALL the Veterans and Active Duty Soldiers a HUGE Thank-you.

God Bless You All!

Halloweensie Winners

happy and sad pumpkin

Today on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website the winners were announced for the Halloweensie contest.  I was honored to have made the final 13 this year with my entry “The Haunting”.  Though I did not make the final cut, the fabulous entries, and their creative writers deserve to be recognized for their amazing Halloweensie stories.  Congratulations to all the winners, honorable mentions and everyone who had the courage to put their work out there (I know for me that is the hardest part)!  Now it’s on to the Holiday Contest…I can’t wait!!

P.S.  A big thank you to Susanna Leonard Hill, (and her helpers), for her time, hard work, and enthusiasm for hosting these fabulous writing contests!!