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History of the Army School of Nursing

Army Nurse Corps History Home > Army Nurse Corps Uniforms and Insignia > Army Nurse Corps Uniforms: A Retrospective Exhibit

On May 25, 1918, during the height of World War I, the Army School of Nursing was authorized by the Secretary of War as an alternative to utilizing nurses' aides in Army hospitals.  Courses of instruction opened at several Army hospitals in July 1918.  Annie W. Goodrich became the first Dean of the Army School of Nursing.  Although the Adjutant General authorized a military uniform and an insignia consisting of a bronze lamp superimposed on the caduceus, the students in the Army School of Nursing retained civilian status.  In December 1918, there were 1,578 students in the program.  By 1923, the school had been consolidated at Walter Reed General Hospital.  It was discontinued by the Secretary of War on 12 August 1931 as an economy measure.  A total of 937 young women completed the course in nursing and received the diploma of the school.  Among the many illustrious graduates were Mary G. Phillips and Rudy F. Bryant, who later became Chiefs of the Army Nurse Corps, and Virginia Henderson, the renown Nurse Educator.  The Lamp and the Caduceus, written by Marlette Conde, a graduate of the school, was published by the Army School of Nursing Alumnae Association in 1975 and describes the beginning, progress, and closing of the Army School of Nursing.