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“The Graduate Nurse,” Embodied

By: The Other Clark - February 19, 2013

On reading today’s poem, “The Graduate Nurse,” by Olive C. Wehr, Keepa’ninny The Other Clark immediately thought of his own grandmother. “Today’s poem could have been written about my grandmother. She completed nurse’s training at the LDS Hospital in Idaho Falls in 1943 as part of the war effort. She cared for severely burned sailors injured in the Pacific, then after the war spent decades as a single, widowed mother in the Labor/Delivery/Newborn section of the same hospital she trained in, finally retiring in the late 1980s.”

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“I paused to smile and nod,
And say how well you looked in white –
And now you work with God!”
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6 Comments »

  1. She’s beautiful. My great-aunt was also a WWII nurse, though I believe she left nursing when she married.

    Comment by HokieKate — February 19, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

  2. What a lovely picture, and an apt illustration for the poem. Thanks, Clark and Ardis.

    Comment by Amy T — February 19, 2013 @ 6:19 pm

  3. Thanks for the personal connection to the poem!

    Comment by Julia — February 19, 2013 @ 11:35 pm

  4. This is great, TOC. And thanks for supplying a photo. I bet your grandma would be honored to be remembered by her grandchild like this.

    Comment by David Y. — February 20, 2013 @ 1:13 pm

  5. My mother was also an Army nurse during World War II. She joined up because “that’s where all the booze, cigarettes, and men were.” Um, she wasn’t LDS.

    She had been an operating room nurse on the west coast, but was transferred to the sticks of Brigham City Utah, when they established a rehab hospital there. That facility later became an Indian School and is now a condo development.

    When people shudder in horror at the idea of women being drafted, they should blame FDR for first broaching the idea. In his 1945 State of the Union speech, Pres. Roosevelt called for nurses to be drafted since needs were not met. The House passed the Nurses Selective Service Act, but then the winding down of the war made its implementation unnecessary.

    Comment by Naismith — February 20, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

  6. Brigham City must have been a little bit of a shock for her then, Naismith! :)

    After Clark sent his grandmother’s picture in, I almost decided to put up my aunt’s picture. She didn’t serve during war time, but my picture of her is taken the day she graduated with her nursing degree, wearing her white uniform and cap.

    If you have an appropriate picture, Naismith, how about sending it in? We could turn this into a gallery of the nurses in our lives.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 20, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

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