Legacies of the Mercy Ship Expedition
Jane Delano, American Red Cross Director of Nursing Services, in her annual report for 1915 explained the legacy of the Mercy Ship expedition for the American Red Cross in proving the value of trained nurses:
Two hundred and fifty-five nurses have been sent to Europe. When we think of the vast number of sick and wounded, the thirty thousand patients cared for by our units seem pitifully small. I do believe, however, that we have established in European countries, where modern training schools for nurses have not yet been organized, a definite standard of nursing, which will surely produce results later.
Our nurses have had a valuable experience which should be of benefit to our own country. They have learned how to care for large numbers of patients all weary, ill, hungry and cold and to make them comfortable in the shortest possible time without disturbing the routine of the hospital.
We have learned that women can be mobilized without confusion; that their chances of illness when carefully selected seem to be no greater than men’s; that they face danger with equanimity. We have learned also the special type of nurse most desirable for service of this kind.
Out of this experience we should be able to do a splendid piece of constructive work for our own country. We should be able to guarantee a satisfactory nursing personnel not only for national relief in time of calamity, but for efficient service should our country be confronted with that greatest of all disasters – War.