Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



The United States Cadet Nurse Corps, a student-nurse recruitment program administered by the United States Public Health Service, provided federal funding for nursing education during World War II. The subject of nursing on the American home front has largely been ignored, though nursing scholarship has focused, on occasion, on the more exciting battlefield experiences of the Army Nurse Corps. World War II launched a social revolution and set America on its path to a postwar consensus. Although a few historians have briefly mentioned the Corps’ successful media recruitment campaign, its role in the social revolution remains unacknowledged. This thesis examines the ways in which the Cadet Nurse Corps actively demonstrated and reinforced the social changes that took place in America during World War II. The Cadet Nurse Corps legislation of 1943 appeared safe and conventional, even offering a no-nonsense title, but proved to be a progressive and visionary student-nurse program. A safe product, the American nurse, was funded by a program with a radical premise. The Corps promoted equal rights for racial minorities, the professionalization of the nursing career, and the opportunity for women to work outside of the home. The Cadet Nurse Corps provided women with greater educational, financial, professional, and social benefits for a lifetime career. The Cadet Nurse Corps promoted social change by using a “traditional” profession to create a vision of what was appropriate for women.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Culbert, David



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History Commons