Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

The unity of nurses

The Great White Army postcard: A line of nurses of different nationalities dressed in white stand in front of a gray background. Each is holding their country's flag.
The great white army. Published 1915 in Italy by unknown publisher. Donated by Michael Zwerdling. The National Library of Medicine. No known copyright restrictions


This postcard, published in the midst of World War I in 1915, represents the unity of nurses across nations. In war time, many military nurses cared for wounded soldiers regardless of country of origin thus setting military nurses and other field medics apart into an army of their own.

This independence was partially out of necessity—there was little time to identify who was who on the battlefield—and partially out of a sense of moral duty. The moral and ethical duty of medical professionals to remain independent and impartial, to work outside their biases, remains an important aspect of the nursing profession. Those who dedicate themselves to healing dedicate themselves to healing all people.



Fall 2019  |  Sections  |  Nursing

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