By Army Nurse CorpsJanuary 7, 2011
February 2, 2011 marks the 110th anniversary of the inception of the Army Nurse Corps. The celebration in the National Capital Region will be held on February 5th at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. The theme for this anniversary celebration is "Touching Lives for 110 Years" and we would like to welcome all to attend.
The Army Nurse Corps has a wonderfully rich history. Both men and women have served as Army nurses since 1775; however the Nurse Corps did not become part of the Army Medical Department until 1901 when the Army Reorganization Act was passed and became law.
In the early years, Army Nurses were assigned to hospitals in the United States and overseas. Following the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, Army Nurses were at the fore front of a civil relief mission for the first time ever, working around the clock to provide care to thousands of earthquake victims.
The Army Nurse Corps grew, relying on a strong base of quality care delivery, a history of selfless service, and touching lives of those entrusted to our care. When the United States entered World War I in 1917 there were only 4,093 nurses on active duty. Patriotism, valor, and the desire to serve resulted in amazing growth of the Army Nurse Corps. By 1918, there were 21,460 Army Nurses serving in base, evacuation and mobile surgical hospitals in the United States and all over the globe to include - France, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Army Nurses also tended the sick and wounded on hospital trains in France and on transport ships that carried the wounded across the Atlantic Ocean. Army Nurse engagement in ensuring the warriors made it home safely was the start of nurse's involvement in enroute care. World War I advanced nursing practice; Army Nurses were used as nurses' anesthetists for the first time through a partnership with Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
The Army Nurse Corps continued to grow after World War I and by 1945; there were 57,000 Army Nurses on active duty. Military nurse innovation contributed to advancing nursing practice worldwide and continues to set the standard during times of peace and war. In Europe, Army nurses assisted in developing the concept of recovery wards for immediate postoperative nursing care. Shock, blood replacement and resuscitation were better understood and enroute care advanced to air evacuation from the combat zone on fixed wing aircraft.
Army Nurses continued to lead the way in advancing nursing practice while caring for combat troops in Korea and Vietnam. Trauma care specialization, as well as shock/trauma units developed as the UH-1H helicopter ambulance transported patients from battle locations. This care included triage and resuscitative services for casualties.
Today nearly 40,000 individuals represent the Triad of Army Nursing: Active Component, Reserve Component and National Guard officers, non-commissioned officers, enlisted and civilians. These individuals are challenged to step up every day to be more than a nurse; they are the symbol of the country proudly serving their profession around the globe. The ANC has been and continues to be in every major conflict that the United States has taken part in and serves as a critical factor in the outcome of the health of our service members and their families that support them. As we celebrate our past 110 years and engage in the present while looking forward to the future we invite you to come celebrate with us.