Red Cross Nursing in Rural Areas

  The gray-uniformed nurses of the Red Cross are familiar figures in hundreds of communities, where they make bedside visits to those sick in their homes. Not only do the public health nurse’s patients benefit by her care in these sparsely settled countries where medical care and hospital facilities are at a minimum, but also the health of the community in which she works is safeguarded by her watchfulness against epidemics, inspection of school children and her instruction in home hygiene and care of the sick.

In the past twelve months 700 Red Cross public health nurses have made more than a million home visits to patients. They detected defects before serious complications set in and sent many children to doctors, dentist and oculists for corrections that have made school work easier and safeguarded future development. Instructing children in health habits has become an increasingly important phase of the school work of Red Cross public health nurses.

Late last fall eight Red Cross nurses were sent to Spencer County, Kentucky, to cooperate with the State Board of Health in blotting out an epidemic of typhoid fever which had spread alarmingly before its seriousness was appreciated. Spencer County is a rural region and these Red Cross nurses had to wade creeks, use boats, travel through the woods, over railroad trestles and across swinging bridges to reach their patients, carrying with them pails to wash clothes, chlorinated lime, nightgowns, blankets, soap, towels—everything that the stricken family might need.

One of the many epidemics in which Red Cross nurses did splendid service last year occurred in an isolated Colorado mining town. This time it was scarlet fever. In their work here the Red Cross nurses assisted the town doctors with several hundred immunizations, inspected more than 150 school children daily and taught families how to guard against the spread of the disease, in addition to their bedside visits. In this community there were only two physicians and the nearest hospital is 28 miles distant.

In giving help to the victims of more than 100 disasters a year the American Red Cross is constantly called upon to provide emergency medical nursing and hospital care for those injured and to assist in preventing the spread of communicable diseases.

Following the southern tornadoes which wrecked four cities this spring, the Red Cross gave emergency medical and nursing care to thousands of sufferers and provided hospitalization for the more seriously hurt.

The Red Cross is dependent upon membership dues each year to administer its nursing services and to carry on its work of disaster, veteran and civilian relief, first aid and lifesaving instruction and other activities. You share in the work of the Red Cross by enrolling as a member and your dues support its program. Join during Roll Call, November 11-26.