APRIL 21, 1947
HYDE PARK, Sunday—This is Public Health Nursing Week, and the National Organization for Public Health Nursing is cooperating with the U. S. Public Health Service and other national, state and community health groups to bring before the public the value of its work.
I think one of the most significant statements in all of the literature which has been sent out is: "Community nursing has come to be recognized not as an expense, but as an investment which pays large dividends in the saving of human life and the prevention of suffering. It has been well said that no community can afford not to spend the money for this type of health worker."
This is the 70th anniversary of Public Health nursing in the United States. The service has grown slowly. At present more Public Health nurses are needed and so it is important that all over this country there should be an understanding of the value of the work. These nurses go into homes where private nursing is out of the question. They teach people how to perform the necessary services for the sick and how to prevent the spread of infection. Even more important, they often inform the Public Health authorities of existing conditions and thereby prevent the spread of disease which, unnoticed, might reach serious proportions.
There should be Public Health nursing services in every city, town and village in our country. The nurses should be called on by all alike, and not simply the poor. They can often help out in the homes of well-to-do people in these days when private nurses are difficult to obtain.
This nursing service is not charity. It is a community service to which everyone may turn for help on health problems and part-time nursing care in the home.
Public Health nurses are known by different names. Sometimes they are called visiting nurses, school nurses, industrial nurses, frontier nurses. As usual, the cities and towns are far better served than the country areas. There are 1,333 counties which still have no full-time Public Health nursing. Twenty-three cities and towns of over 10,000 population have no Public Health nursing. We need immediately about 8,000 more Public Health nurses. That is why this week has, as one of its objectives, the recruitment of nurses for this service. During the next 10 years, if we are to have adequate health protection, we will need 65,000 Public Health nurses.