Spanish American War

North Carolina Nurses and the Spanish American War
 
Women who volunteered as nurses with Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War along with those who volunteered in the American Civil War demonstrated then importance of good nursing care to the survival of ill and injured soldiers. In the late 1800s special programs to train nurses were established in hospitals throughout the United States. When the United States entered the Spanish American War in the spring of 1898, professionally trained nurses served for the first time in the United States military.
Shortly after war was declared in April,1898, the army grew from about 28.000 to over 200,000 men. Most lived in make shift military camps in the southern United States waiting to join the fight in Cuba. Sanitary conditions in the camps were deplorable. Typhoid, malaria and various fevers raged through the camps with few qualified personnel available to care for them. Congress quickly authorized the U.S. Army to procure one thousand professional female nurses for thirty dollars a month. More nurses applied for these jobs that could be accepted. The U.S. Army, American Red Cross and Daughters of the American Revolution carefully selected the nurses based on their education, character and experience.
There Army did not supply uniforms so nurses from ninety one different schools proudly wore their school uniforms when on duty. They spent most of their fourteen hour shifts (with a twenty minute lunch break) giving the feverish men ice baths, applying dressings to wounds, preparing and feeding soldiers nutritious foods, administering medicines and keeping the wards as clean as possible.
 
The performance of nurses during the Spanish American War led to the establishment of the Army Nurse Corps on 2 February 1901.