My mom, Evelyn Wagner Thomas was born 2/19/1916, 100 years ago this week. She died 20 years ago at the age of 79.
The crazy thing is my mom never intended to work as a nurse. She went to nursing school in the 1930s for the sole purpose of becoming an airline hostess so she could travel. She was from a small town in Kansas, Smith Center, and flying was her ticket out, to experience the big world.
Interestingly, for a period of time before WWII, the commercial airlines employed only RNs for their airline hostess positions. This was a marketing strategy for the commercial airlines to recruit passengers and grow their business. The RNs ensured passenger safety for the large number of first time flyers of that day.
And it turned out to be true. In my mom’s scrapbook I found an article about a Nellie Granger, a TWA hostess who was cited as a heroine for her role as the sole surviving crew member of a DC-2 accident in 1936 near Uniontown, PA. She saved the lives of two passengers and walked out of the crash site for help.
My mom’s dream was fulfilled; she flew with TWA (Trans World Airlines) after she graduated from nursing school in 1937. She did practice nursing 20+ years later after a refresher course. She was recruited into an ICU in their early stages of development.
What a pendulum career swing she experienced!
And nursing’s career swings continue.
My daughter was just accepted into a nursing program. Her question has long been, medicine or nursing? Her passion is global health. Repeatedly she has witnessed and learned as a Peace Corp volunteer and a graduate student in global health that it is nursing that has the most impactful role in improving the health of people everywhere.
It started with the desire to see the world.
By Jean Watson
Watson, J. (2008) NURSING- The Philosophy and Science of Caring, Revised Edition. University Press of Colorado, p. xxi.