Cathy Osten

STATE SENATOR

Cathy Osten

DEPUTY PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE

GETTING RESULTS

June 15, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, June 15, 2023

SEN. OSTEN HONORS CADET NURSES, CALLS FOR FEDERAL PROGRAM TO ADDRESS NATIONAL NURSING SHORTAGE

HARTFORD – On the day that Connecticut now recognizes as Cadet Nurse Corps Day, state Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) took a moment to honor all those who served in the United States Cadet Nurse Corps and to suggest that the federal government could help address the current national nursing shortage – America needs to add 200,000 nurses a year for the next several years – by creating a new national nursing program patterned after the World War II program.

The United States Cadet Nurse Corps was established by Congress on June 15, 1943; the Connecticut legislature voted in 2018 to recognize the day every year. The purpose of the Nurse Cadet Corps was to ensure that America had enough nurses to care for its citizens at home and abroad during World War II; it’s estimated that by the end of the war in 1945, about 125,000 cadet nurses were providing 80 percent of the nursing care in American hospitals while other nurses served overseas.

“Our country is today facing a shortage of nurses much like the nursing shortage during World War II,” said Sen. Osten, who is a U.S. Army veteran. “While Connecticut is working to increase its healthcare workforce, and will continue to do so, a national program patterned after Cadet Nurse Corps from World War II is needed because of the critical shortage of nurses America is once again facing. Our country needs an increase in nurses and other healthcare professionals: dealing with this shortage is imperative. There’s not a state in our union that isn’t suffering from a shortage of nurses, from Louisiana to Alaska, from Connecticut to South Dakota, the need is great. So let’s bring back the United States Cadet Nurse Corps!”

The nurse corps was a non-discriminatory program that allowed Native Americans, African Americans, and relocated Japanese-Americans to participate. The program was open to women ages of 17 to 35, in good health, who 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, they were required to pledge to actively serve in essential civilian or federal government services for the duration of World War II.

The American Hospital Association credited the cadet student nurses with helping to prevent the collapse of nursing during the war. The Corps operated from 1943 until 1948: 124,065 women graduated from participating nursing schools, including about 3,000 African Americans, 40 Native Americans, and 400 Japanese Americans. The federal government spent $160 million on the program.

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