Kicking off the news for nurses this week is a touching story of special air ambulance nurses who flew during World War II. They were known in England as the “Flying Nightingales” and they were all volunteers who served as civilians in uniform with the Royal Air Force (RAF) at the time.
100,000 Allied Soldiers Saved by Nurses
The story is about the woman who is believed to be the last surviving member of the group who cared for over 100,000 allied soldiers over five years. They brought soldiers with wounds temporarily stabilized by battlefield hospitals so that they could be transported back to hospitals in England. Each nurse would occupy a single transport aircraft where she would be responsible for the care of up to 18 stretcher borne soldiers plus a number of walking wounded.
In the article, it tells of the stress these nurses lived with after the war, what we would now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It also talks about how these nurses had their calling often passed down through their children and grandchildren who have subsequently become nurses as well.
Learning From Nurses in History
I like this story on a lot of levels. It shows nurses doing the types of jobs that nurses have done for centuries, caring for those in greatest need with little regard for our own personal wellbeing and safety. That selflessness and dedication is part of what makes the profession so special in so many ways.
It also gives us a basis in history for our nursing care. We are all the product of the sacrifices made and challenges faced by these nurses who have gone before us. As more and more nurse practice acts are amended to give broader practice autonomy to nurses around the country here in the U.S. we should always look back at how far we’ve come while still maintaining our identity as nurses, as caregivers.
Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Why a Career in Wound Care Nursing and Episode 369.