APRIL 4, 1946
NEW YORK, Wednesday—Next week is "Be Kind to Animals Week" and, having a little dog, I always feel it incumbent upon me to remember this week with gratitude. Anyone who really enjoys the companionship of some animal always wants to remind people of the obligation that human beings have to the dumb creatures who cannot talk in our language, but who, in their own way, show so many qualities that add to the joy of our lives.
Fala's wagging tail and warm greeting is always a pleasure. When he runs away in the country to go a-hunting, and leaves me calling him for hours with no response, I feel like spanking him, but I never quite have the heart to do it when he returns. He enters with a sheepish expression of knowing he has misbehaved, or with an expression of triumph if he has run his prey to earth, and I find myself so glad to see him that he gets a pat instead of a spank!
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This coming week also has been designated for the first time for national observance in thousands of communities where people are blessed by having a public-health nurse. It is really a campaign to encourage us to learn more about the public-health nurse and her work. Governors and mayors in all sections of the country are issuing messages and proclamations, and President Truman has made a public statement to awaken the interest of communities in the value of the service which these nurses render.
I see by the papers that Senator Robert Taft and Senator James Murray, in a committee meeting, had a slight difference of opinion as to whether the new national health bill was socialistic or not. It seems to me that Senator Taft might remember that the postal service is one of the most socialistic things we have in this country, and yet I hardly think he wants to do away with that.
Labelling something socialistic may, from his point of view, be detrimental to the endeavor, but my experience is that, when people really want something, the label you put on it makes very little difference. And there is no doubt in my mind that the people want, in the words of President Truman, "Health security for all, regardless of residence, station or race—everywhere in the United States." This means not only more medical facilities but more doctors, scientists, dentists, nurses and other specialists.
To have an adequate public-health nursing service for all who need it would require a force of 65,000 nurses. This would mean the addition of two new nurses to every one now on duty in local, state and federal agencies.
Nurses are now being demobilized from the armed services and they will be available in constantly increasing numbers. The shortage has been great during the war, yet many nurses are apprehensive lest, with the return of those from overseas, there will again be a lack of work for them. I feel quite sure that this will not be the case. Moreover, if the program for public-health nurses could actually be put in motion, I think it would do more for the general health of the country than we realize, and we would see a marked improvement in every community in the course of the next year.