Red Oak. Iowa
I doctors, there I* also urses. both in Iho army and Ming to the figure* Riven by essage to congress, there ore ?s in civilian practice, which DDTM t» «v»ry -129 civilians. President say* that there arc 42,-ing with the armed forces, which would be one nurse to every 300 men.
To arrive at these figures we are using a population of 132,000,000 and deducting the men in service, estimated at 12.000.000.
However the 42,000 serving with the army ore all able-bodied nurses, assuredly on active duty. If there are 280,000 civilian nurses registered, the Chances are that the actual number practicing Is tar below this number. The (act that a nurse ha* once been registered does not mean n great deal, statistically speaking. She may be married with children ol her own to care for. She may be in poor healin or unable to practice actively for a number of reasons. The army figures are net. but the civilian figures are at best but an estimate of the largest possible number, with the actual figure possibly many thousand less.
The Surgeon General of the Army has made the lent that some civilian hospitals in tl»e melt*-
'fcolitan areas have staffs "far beyond their needs." Dr. Hinburg, President of the Greater New York Hospital Association, said In reply. "I don't Know ol any voluntary hospital which enjoys such luxury."
Apropos Of this situation, on acquaintance told the writer (hat ho was sent home front a Mew York hospital wttli a fever of 103 because he had stayed his alloted time. On another occasion, this man was refused a special nurse for his wife because, although In need of care, she was expected to die and nurses were being assigned only to cases where there were greater hopes of recovery. This may be practical and sound philosophy, but it would not indicate a surplus "far beyond their needs" in that one civilian hospital.
Admittedly, distribution Is o factor which affects both military and civilian nurses. The number of civilian nurses must be spread over toe forty-eight states, whereas the army nurses ftr* spread over the globe. Still, the army nurses and navy nurses will be concentrated to a greater extent than possible in civilian life, because of the larger base hospitals and the use of first aid men in the front lines.
It K a problem, but If anything the figures are not as conclusive as might be thought on ihe basis Of the army needs as compared to civilian requirements. The real facts are that nurses are desperately needed both In the armed forces and on the home front. Aids are very helpful, but they mui I tident supervision by qualified registered nurses. Many operators of large civilian hospitals have stated that without their Red Cross nurses aides continued functioning of the hospitals would have been almost Impossible.
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