‘We Did the Best We Could’ — The United States Army Nurses Of Ie Shima

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Abstract

During World War II, Army Nurses of the 156th Army Evacuation Hospital delivered care while under attack, demonstrated incredible bravery, endured extreme hardships, and unknowingly defined advanced nursing practice as we know it today. First Lieutenant Edythe (Goldstein) Pallin, BS, RN, was a 23-year old registered nurse who served in the Pacific and was stationed near the front lines on the remote island of Ie Shima in the Ryukyu Island Chain near Okinawa. This article, as told to Edythe's daughter, draws heavily on her memories and her military photo album stored in the attic of her home for over 50 years. Edythe only acknowledges her military experience by saying, “We did the best we could.” Yes, these nurses not only did the best they could, they also changed nursing from a subservient position to an independent practice long before nurses even understood their professional possibilities. Edythe passed away October 26, 2012.

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