DECEMBER 18, 1942
WASHINGTON, Thursday—The train trip down yesterday was a wonderful opportunity to do much accumulated work. When I arrived here I had time to get ready for a tea, which Mrs. Harry Hopkins and I gave for the nurses and the nurses' aides at Columbia Hospital.
They are using nurses' aides in this hospital with great success. I cannot help thinking that the attitude of the superintendent of nurses in a civilian hospital has a great deal to do with the successful use and development of nurses' aides.
I saw in some magazine the other day, the suggestion that we need to develop better qualified people to help in hospitals. I know of no way to do this except by taking in nurses' aides and keeping them under supervision until they develop skill enough to be given real responsibility.
Actual practice in doing things in the hospital is the very best training that one can have. The more we can encourage the aides to stick at their jobs over long periods, the more qualified people we will have who can accept ever-increasing responsibility.
After dinner yesterday evening, Mr. Charles Palmer showed us the movies he took in Great Britain of various devastated areas. Of course, there is practically no rebuilding going on in Great Britain at present. The thing which he brought out, however, and which interested us all, is the amount of planning which has been done for the development in all these cities.
Improved housing can be undertaken as soon as the war comes to an end and normal transportation is resumed. This will be a source of employment which is basically very valuable, because the building materials used require much labor, in addition to the labor required in the building of the houses.
Of course, we have no devastated areas, but we shall need much additional housing. I hope we shall study the plans made in Great Britain and use any ideas which can be adpated to our own needs. I hope we shall offer the occupied countries encouragement by making it clear that we intend to help them along the same lines.
Hitler apparently has made a master plan in which he develops Germany industrially and drains from the occupied countries as much as he possibly can, leaving them primarily agricultural nations. If he is doing this, it is quite evident that we should offer something better to all these people, who struggle in underground ways to keep up a vision for the future of better things than Hitler offers.