These days, the news is filled with stories about the nursing shortage in the United States. It’s clear just how important we consider nurses to be. This is nothing new. The availability of qualified caregivers has been a consistent need since this country's inception. The people who work in the profession have always played a vital role in communities large and small, and they practice in various settings, from massive district hospitals to an individual patient's private home. In this 1950s film from Hagley’s Cinecraft collection titled Nursing Needs You, St. Elizabeth School of Nursing urges young women to consider enrolling:
The film intends to recruit candidates by presenting the value and benefits a student can receive by training in the profession at St. Elizabeth's. These include pleasing accommodations, a thorough medical education, nutrition courses, access to a library and laboratory, and the development of lifelong friendships. But it also stresses the myriad of special qualities a woman must possess to succeed in nursing school and beyond. This is also nothing new. Caregiving is a critical, often demanding profession, and it takes a very special type of person to meet the challenging requirements of the work. The film demonstrates how nurses are encouraged to be amiable, service-and-detail-oriented, dependable, and nurturing. They are the foundation of good medical care and the patient's primary guardian. As the film stresses, "a nurse is needed."
Ona Coughlan is the Audiovisual Digitization Archivist at Hagley Museum and Library.