"Everything depends on good nursing" Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918-19

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Harrowing, Jean N.
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Nurses have always played a vital role in the response to outbreaks of deadly illnesses. The story of Alberta nurses' heroic efforts in the face of the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918-19, in the absence of public health infrastructure, reminds us of the importance of preparedness. The virus, which accompanied soldiers returning from Europe after the First World War, spread quickly along transportation routes from Eastern Canada to the West. Although many nurses had not yet returned from war service, or were assisting in Halifax following the explosion of 1917, those who were available in Alberta volunteered without hesitation to care for victims of the virus. In the absence of cure, good nursing care was usually the only treatment for the illness. Recognition of the need for planned response to crises, availability of resources and excellent skills and knowledge prompted nursing leaders to lobby the government for a formal public health system and contributed to the organization of professional nursing associations In the likely event of another global influenza pandemic, nurses may draw upon the lessons of the past as they once again face the complex challenges of a modern health crisis.
© Canadian Nurses Association. Reproduced with permission. Further reproduction is prohibited.
Disease outbreaks , Epidemic , Influenza , Nursing--History , Public health--History , Disease outbreaks--Alberta , Nursing--History--Alberta , Spanish influenza epidemic , Spanish influenza epidemic--Alberta , Public health--History--Alberta
Groft, J.N. “Everything depends on good nursing”: The 1918-1919 Spanish influenza epidemic in Alberta. Canadian Nurse, 102(3), 18-22