An Officer and a Lady: Canadian Military Nursing and the Second World War

TitleAn Officer and a Lady: Canadian Military Nursing and the Second World War
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsToman, Cynthia
Number of Pages261
PublisherUniversity of British Columbia Press

During the Second World War, more than 4,000 civilian nurses enlisted as Nursing Sisters, a specially-created all-female officers' rank of the Canadian Armed Forces. They served in various medical and surgical settings, all three armed force branches, and all major theatres of war as well as in Canada, Newfound-land, the United States and South Africa. Yet, in spite of their importance, military nurses and nursing as a form of war work have long been under-examined. "An Officer and a Lady" examines nurses' experiences and their contribution toward "winning the war" through the salvage of sick and injured soldiers. From feminist and social history perspectives, Cynthia Toman explores how gender, war, and medical technology intersected to create legitimate feminine spaces within the masculine environment of the military. She interrogates the incongruities and ambivalences involved in military nurses' work, including conflicting gendered expectations as "officers and ladies," and the contingency of military nursing "for the duration" only. Nurses' experiences offer alternative perspectives on persistent debates about the causes, politics, and strategies of war.

Short TitleAn Officer and a Lady
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