Nursing Recruitment

In the beginning the United States government had an extremely hard time recruiting women into the nursing jobs that the army needed filled. Girls were more content to stay home and work in a factory to show their patriotism. Factory work meant that they did not need prior training, the money was better, they had more free time, they did not have to spend three years studying. The government tried to counter act these ideas by publishing nurse recruiting posters. The United States is considered to have one of the highest amounts of nurse recruiting posters than any other country.

The Cadet Nursing Corps posters were unique because they spoke to young girls about a career in their futures. The Corp even designed a uniform for recruiting purposes to attract girls that were still too young to be recruited into the army but were still attracted to the idea of wearing a recognized symbol of war. The posters depicted the recruits in them as being the idols of other girls. They were smartly dress, flawless faces, well styled hair. In the photo to the right it can be seen how two high school girls are looking at a Cadet in full uniform with admiration and desire in their eyes, with respect. The Corp believed that it was more beneficial to recruit young girls because they would have higher potential of remaining in their positions. Older women were more likely to get married and start families. Cadet posters were never sexualized, it was seen as inappropriate since they were directed at such young girls. They were never even depicted as working on a patient. They were usually just shown as in headshots in their uniforms.

The military had a problem recruiting already established nurses into the military. The military did not pay as high as civilian hospitals and women were not offered ranking status in the army as male doctors were. There were some posters that were directed at older women, between the ages of 25 and 35, though in attempts to show them alternative motives of joining the military nursing corps, such a finding a husband. Since most of the eligible men from the United States we at war the government was suggesting to women that if them became a nurse within the military they had high potential of finding the man of her dreams. These posters showed nurses in close contact with men, usually standing or kneeling next to them and touching them in a nurturing way.  The posters were meant to show sexual tension between the nurse and injured soldier. In the poster to the left it can be seen how her hand is on his chest and she is looking deep into his eyes. the caption on top “save his life … and find your own” is meant to discreetly imply that the nurse and the soldier have a future together.

Some  of the nursing posters that were directed at older nurses did not even portray nurses in the posters , just injured soldiers. The soldiers were meant to look, as can be seen in the poster on the right, attractive, lonely, and in need. They were meant to show the men in a vulnerable way and lead women to the idea that they need “the touch of a woman’s hand”







The film below depicts the jobs that were expected of female nurses during the second world war. It is also propaganda encouraging Americans to still buy war bounds.

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