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tv   Reel America The Army Nurse - 1945  CSPAN  November 11, 2020 11:24pm-11:43pm EST

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summer, 1945 and the war was 1 million men old. [gunshots] hang on, kids. keep your eyes shut tight and drink. they are moving you back now. don't give up, just hang on.
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the road back is bumpy and maybe the pain killers your eyes, but listen. the sound of battle grows dim. and now, one question cuts clearly through the haze. which man will you be? the one who gets hurt and dies? or the one who gets hurt and lives? when the dizziness stopped, when the fog cleared, an army nurse was at your side. a woman who meant safety and comfort at home to thousands of men before you. a woman who meant all those things to you. a nurse brought another americans blood to your side to pour new strength to your veins. a nurse handed clamps to a surgeon and counted sponges. a nurse prepared and administered the anesthetic and watched you constantly for any
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telltale changing your breathing or blood pressure. all working with the same purpose, to ease the pain of war, to help save lives. (music) the preparation for the moment that would bring the army nurse to your side began months before back the united states. after three years of professional schooling, the nurses were given four weeks of basic training. in those early days, perhaps the nurse wondered why she had to sit through seemingly endless classes and submit to rigid discipline. often while muscles ached and groaned, she may have wondered why it was necessary to take those long hikes or grope her way through a gas area. yet, there were demands that would require of her perfect is ecohealth and stamina, the strength to stand up under the workers of combat nursing. four weeks of basic training finished, the army nurse was
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ready to serve wherever the army needed her most. she might have found herself stationed in a general hospital right here at home. or perhaps, assigned to a mobile hospital unit overseas. after she arrived, she may have helped to build the very hospital in which she worked. for the field hospital, or the evacuation hospital, like a circus, had to be able to pack up and move on at a moments notice. its primary function was to offer immediate surgical treatment to the wounded and that meant following ever-changing battle lines. everyone pitched in when a mobile hospital went up. enlisted men, not -- doctors and nurses. just one small instance where basic training paid off. those muscles tough and an ardent during the for weeks of basic back home, were equal to the job. in the field, the army nurse lived roughly and worked gently. there was no glamour and her life was far from spectacular. she slept under hastily pitched
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candice on a gi caught under gi blankets. she trained her mind to act as an alarm clock because time was important. a wasted moment might have meant a wasted life. she lived a life completely stripped of luxuries, and yet she asked for no more luxury than a patience smile when his pain was east. she ate regular gi rations, the same as the rest of the army, and often at irregular times. the hours were long and the demands never ending. and as a result, the nurse learned to make use of every moment of her off duty time. she might not have chosen a gi helmet to wear to her kids sister's wedding, but it made up for its lack of style by its versatility. it was a beauty parlor, laundry, cooking pot, wash basin all
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rolled up into one. a little community in size seven. she spent some of her time writing letters, not be having a wonderful time which you were here kind, but letters filled with all the drama of her days. with stories of her courage in the spirit of the men over whom she watched. a few moments could always be found for prayer. others for a lounging about talking of home. she may have longed to wear the evening dress, sent from, home we probably only had the chance to talk about. it usually she wore olive drab or battle gray. her uniform, at her time, was her batched of service. but however she spent her off-duty time, she was always eager to return to the hospital, where the wounded were fighting for their lives. for first and foremost, and at all times, she was a nurse, offering professional in
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skilled care to the steak and wounded. owners, first a woman, second, and an officer, third. might as well serve for a slogan for every member of the nurses corpse. complete recovery of the patient, in a war or peace, depends on early on the use of drugs, but on the scale in which they are administered, and the care that follows. the nurse must be capable of recognizing on winds any symptoms in her patients which demand immediate treatment. because if serious consequences are to be avoided, medical treatment must be on hand the moment any symptoms appear. professionally scaled incapable, in her there is a tenderness of all women, of mother and sister and friend. her voice and touch lend encouragement, instill hope. it's the surgeon who saves a man's life, it's donors, whose tender care helps him to live. this raw
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♪ ♪ >> the crisis, best patients begin to sleep. again the pain is just a bad memory. the field hospital, a stopover to give them immediate surgical treatment as soon as possible after they were wounded, had done its job. the evacuation hospital was another stopover in the trip back to the medical chain. here, facilities for treatment for more complete than those of the field hospital. and here, to, the nurse played an increasingly important part in the vital period of content -- treatment and convalescence. after three or four days, the patients where usually well enough for a trip back to the general hospital.
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trains waited for them. hospital wards on wheels. each train carried in addition to medical officers and enlisted technicians, for surgical nurses and two medical nurses, all of whom were on duty from 7 am to 9 pm. and thus far into the night, as they were needed. when speed midlife, evacuation took place by plane. because of these flying hospitals, men are alive today, who otherwise would have died in the jungles of burma, or on the beaches of normandy. each patient was thoroughly checked before the takeoff, then watched over constantly, and checked again when the plane landed.
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while in the, air the flight nurse was in complete charge, ready to hand deliver emergency and doing everything a doctor would have to do, except operate. air evacuation was difficult, and required specialized skill in training. the flight nurse had to be prepared for the unexpected. for the next moment it might have and often did happen. at the general hospital, in the theater of operation, other skilled teams of near surgeons and nurses, stood ready to take over where the frontline hospitals left off. whether hospital is under canvas, out of the field, or in a solid structure in the city, it's 14, like the nurses routine, doesn't very. and its principal aims remains fixed, to offer the best offer medical care, to the second wounded. nurses sterilized the operating equipment. the surgical gowns and gloves.
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prepared drugs, laid out the instruments which the doctor needed for his next operation. and kept accurate records of each patient's history in progress. while in a civilian hospital, the ratio is usually one nurse to every three beds. in an army hospital, it is always many times that number. to help lift the burden from the nurses shoulders, and listed technicians trained in special schools to work under her direct supervision. one of her biggest jobs is to teach these technicians, both in the classroom and in the hospital wards. this means, added responsibility for the nurse. for although she has less personal contact with her patience, she has to direct the activities of the personnel assigned to her, so that the treatment and well-being of our patience is assured. relaxation and entertainment are an important part of medical treatment. to this general hospital
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overseas, came an all-star show. in the army nurse assured -- shared the phone with the patients. to whom the sound of laughter from home, often meant more than medicine. later on, she may have spent a few minutes with the star. and there were times when she herself was the star of the show. like this nurse, the first woman to land on gainful. the empire calls better up, in the game is on. army versus army, as the nurses play the wax. this infield will never play in the polo grounds, but one of their patients might. off-duty for a while, some nurses strode through the streets and buildings of ancient cities. others prefer to around of gulf.
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or a swim, somewhere if the weather was right. then it was always back to duty, back to the second wounded, back to the hospital, around which the life of an army nurse revolves. those patients scheduled for a trip back home for the final period of convalescence, traveled on a hospital ship, as fully equipped as a stationary hospital. now as before, the army nurse standby, ready to minister to every need. next stop, a demarcation hospital. then, a general hospital in the
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united states, and complete recovery. and this is the end of the long chain of evacuation. the general hospital, back home. here, the army nurse worked patiently with her hands, her head, and her heart. here, she gently guides then back to the way of life they fought to protect. although she might have volunteered to serve overseas, although she might chafe at which he considered the negativity of working at a hospital in the united states, or alaska, or panama, the army nurse soon learned that a battle line was wherever soldier was stationed. what's words of praise good measure up to these women, who's very lines are given to nursing sick and wounded men? a 1, 000, 002nd winded men, back to life and health. and yet, praises offered. long hours of tireless service were remembered and recognized. the army nurse, decorated for
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bravery and valor, above and beyond the call of duty. and these nurses imprisoned for three long years by the japanese, asked only that they be return to duty, for they could never forget the faces of american men tortured and killed by the enemy. wherever transports took our soldiers, they also took the army nurse. to work by day, by night, on distant battlefields. to help make shattered bodies hole. to bring smiles to faces, twisted with pain. to serve at the site of the american soldier during peace and war. this is the army nurse, usa, writing to serve anywhere, under any circumstances in time of need. >> during the past four years,
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57,000 graduates and regular registered nurse or served with the army. for us, the war is not yet over. many nurses are still being sent to overseas theaters, to care for american soldiers. these are replacements for nurses who served overseas during the war. and the war is not yet over for many of our patients. more than 300,000 patients are in army hospitals throughout this country. many of whom will be forced to remain there for a long time to come. these men are not asking for much. they have never asked for much. they are the most wonderful patients in the world. but the war has caused them much more than any of us have been asked to give. army nurses don't ask for much either. but today they are asking you to buy a bond.
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♪ ♪
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coming up on american history tv, we hear from members of only all in the african american units serving overseas ri


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