Nursing Voices

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Past American Idols

No, this post isn’t about past American Idol contestants, or Simon Cowell kissing Lakisha Jones. This post is about teenage idols of the past. In 1950, Life Magazine asked American teenagers to list the individuals they admired most, and guess what! Clara Barton and Florence Nightingale were mentioned on the list. The American public has always admired nurses, but I was surprised when I learned that teenagers use to idolize nurses. Then I remembered some nursing history that may explain the results of this survey.

In 1943, the U.S. government established the United States Cadet Nurse Corps. According to the Rochester General Hospital website, its primary purpose was to ensure that the United States had enough nurses to care for the needs of its citizens on both the home and war fronts. Our government actively recruited high school girls to join the Cadet Nurse Corps. Many girls saw this as an opportunity to help the U.S. during a time of war, as well as a way of paying for a nursing education. A student nurse who joined the Cadet Nurse Corps was eligible for a government subsidy that paid for her tuition, books, and uniforms as well as a small living stipend. In return, participants in the Corps pledged to actively serve in essential civilian, military or other Federal and government services for the duration of the war. The results of the Cadet Nurse Corps included a dramatic rise in the number of nursing students, a greater public recognition of nurses, and changes in the manner in which nurses were educated and trained. I think that lawmakers should resurrect this program in order to help solve our national nursing crisis.

Maybe more kids would choose Clara Barton and Florence Nightingale as the next American Idol if they were given this type of opportunity to enter the nursing profession.

Sorry, Simon.


Blogger may said...

don't be sorry, the duct tape actually looks good on him :)

1:47 PM  
Blogger RX850 said...

When I was growing up, I heard ads that said "be someone special, be a nurse" and that's what started my love of nursing.

(go Lakisha!):)

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Rhea said...

Good point! Few kids would mention those kinds of role models today.

3:05 PM  
Blogger AzRN said...

on wednesday evenings, i volunteer with my church youth group (7th grade through high school). tonight one of the senior girls approached me to discuss nursing!

i guess she was talking to her dad about what she will study this fall at college. she is interested in science, and wants a degree that is marketable. so she wants to sit down this week and discuss nursing as a possible career choice :D.

i am so excited as i just love being a nurse. i hope it is something she finds interesting. anyway, just wanted to share the good news.....

1:01 AM  
Blogger poody said...

I think kids are smarter than to fall for that now days and not only that but they are too lazy to be nurses!

11:07 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Hey, I looked for contact info on your blog but couldn't find any. Hope it's okay to post here.

The Value Care, Value Nurses campaign is holding a national nurse conference call this Monday, May 7th at 12:30pm ET. The call will feature U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who will be discussing her recent nurse-to-patient ratio bill and answering your questions.

Anyone can join. The call is free. Details are posted at our website, at

If you'd like to blog on this, please email me at policywonk at gmail dot com.

4:27 PM  
Blogger The Angry Medic said...

Being the ignorant Brit I am, I've never seen American Idol. I do, however, watch The Apprentice, and during the finale there was mention of a Sanjaya, and Googling the whole thing to see what it was all about, I discovered the phenomenon.

I feel compelled, therefore, to apologise for the export that is Simon Cowell.

We're not all like him, you know. Some of us are really nice :)

7:22 PM  
Blogger Maureen said...

Thanks for that one and you couldn't be more right. I am glad I found your site.

9:42 PM  

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