My mother was a Public Health Nurse which she gave up when she found the job of housekeeping and raising kids was stressing her out too much.

She had chosen nursing over a scholarship to one of the elite “Seven Sisters” women’s colleges which a dedicated high school teacher had managed to arrange for her. I could never understand why as a kid, but as I got older I theorized that since she came from rather humble origins, she might have been overly concerned about being in “way over her head” socially at one of those snobbish schools. ( People differ in this, of course, — I mean, my father would never have had such worries).

She took a job at a dress factory in Brooklyn and saved the money to go to Bellevue School of Nursing. She chose Public Health Work and started off at the Henry Street Settlement and was later in the Bronx, and then, after marrying my father and the coming of World War Two, in Ohio where he was stationed. Her beat was mostly rural and she used to tell me how frustrating it could be in terms of the backwards attitudes of the locals– one kid she tested needed glasses and his ” stubborn, stupid German farmer father” would not go along with that, saying no son of his was going to wear glasses…etc.
The women she had attended Nursing School with were a diverse lot and went into different areas of nursing. One early on– it’s funny, I remember the woman’s name, Irene– contracted TB early in her career ( a key occupational hazard for nurses in those days) and ended up at a sanitarium in upstate New York. Another , from Bogota, Colombia, went to Vermont; another married a guy in NYC who was a musicologist and then went on to become a musicologist herself; another married some young man who was heir to a fortune, and so on., The way I write about it now it sounds like a book or a soap opera–well, there have been books and movies based on this kind of theme of what happens to a group of young people as they leave some kind of shared environment and then go their separate ways.

As a kid I was not always that appreciative of my mother’s sometimes odd seeming concerns ( we were not allowed to drink Coke or any other carbonated drinks, were forbidden to eat food from street vendors, had the importance of personal hygiene hammered into us, etc etc– and then the part about my older brother and me getting or mouths washed out with soap and water when we repeated what we heard “on the street” as my mother called it, — though they were pretty mild and leafy suburban streets — little boys love to learn new curse words and try them out everywhere of course.

The field of nursing has changed a lot over the years, and many more women (and men) have become nurse practitioners for example.

Nursing is another lifesaving profession ( or not, if done badly)– as I am reminded by an article on “Five Ways Nurses save Lives.” › Nursing

Nursing work is often seen as being dull and routine when it is so often any but that.

The World of Nursing encompasses a myriad of places and kinds of work, and reports from all of these can and should be shared on Wavepeg.

Image: “Trauma”– Daniel Sundahl Dansunphoto