Jane Early January 19, 2016 – updated 5/21/24

The Museum of Nursing History has in its collection the Cadet Nurse uniform worn and donated by Evelyn Benson, MPH, RN, a graduate of Jewish Hospital in Philadelphia.

In 1942, after Pearl Harbor, there were 42,000 nurses in the United States, and the US government requested an additional 125,000 nurses within the next two years.

Frances Payne Bolton, an Ohio Congresswoman, philanthropist and health care reformer, introduced H.R. 2326, a bill to create and fund a training program for nurses. The bill passed into law on 1 July 1943 titled ‘of ‘Nurse Training Act of 1943’ and commonly referred to as the Bolton act. The Bolton Act has been called “the most significant nursing legislation in our time.” A federally subsidized education paid all the nurse’s expenses, including a living stipend.

The CNC was open to all women between the ages of 17 and 35 who were in good health and had graduated from an accredited high school. Successful applicants were eligible for a government subsidy that paid for tuition, books, uniforms, and a stipend. In exchange, student cadets were required to pledge to actively serve in essential civilian or federal government services for the duration of World War II.

The women who volunteered spent the first nine months in a college or university learning basic sciences and fundamentals of nursing. The next 15 to 21 months were spent in a nursing school. Since Boards of Nursing required 36 months of training, Nurse Cadets worked in civilian or military hospitals to qualify for licensure exams.

References:
Cadet Nurse Corps https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadet_Nurse_Corps
About Frances Payne Bolton : https://case.edu/nursing/about/history/about-frances-payne-bolton