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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Brokaw Nurses' Home, 1946

In 1946 the Nurses' Home at Brokaw Hospital was still a new thing. In May of that year the nursing students were part of a picture story about becoming a nurse and life in the new dormitory for nurses.

Betty Rosendahl and Maxine Kent practicing bedside skills. (right) and Willadene Hartzler demonstrating sterile techniques for handling surgical tools.

Four students practicing sterile techniques. These photos were important for reassuring people. For the past six months the Brokaw maternity department had been shut down due to an infection in the department.

The nurse's station inside the hospital. Note that the nurse behind the counter is pinned, so is a full nurse. What is the significance of the black stripe on the cap that one of the students is wearing? Perhaps she is a senior student. Carol Ricketts, Joan Steward, Imogene McHatton and Marie Eilers.

Three nurses practice making beds. Note the mannequin in the bed. Today's practice patients can reproduce almost any human symptom, vital sign or reaction, but I'm sure this dummy was pretty basic. Irene Hunt, Jacqueline Brucker and Catherine Rhoads.

Life was not all work at the Nurse's Home. There was a shortage of nurses and women training to be nurses for the hospitals -- mostly due to the terrific rate of women marrying and leaving the field, and the fact that nurses who had served during the war wanted more independent work -- such as public health nursing. (There was a study on this, not just my opinion.) In this picture the junior senior dance is held at the Illinois Hotel, where the Tobey Davidson band played for the dancers. A couple of the men in the image were doctors from the hospital . . . romance with a doctor, the nursing students dream? (But not helpful with the nursing shortage!)

The names of all the dancers are in the Pantagraph Negative Collection -- nearest the camera Tobey Davidson and Albert Olson, band members.

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