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BYU "Nurses at War" project seeks input from combat nurses

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who served as nurses during wartime will now be able to have their experiences made known as part of the "Nurses at War" project sponsored by the Brigham Young University Department of Religion and the College of Nursing.

The project, an extension of the "Saints at War" project by Robert Freeman and Dennis Wright of BYU Religious Studies, began as an effort to recognize LDS nurses for their service during wartime. It has since expanded to include all nurses who served in combat.

Patricia Rushton, an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at BYU and the principal investigator of the project, came up with the idea while taking Freeman's "Latter-day Saints in Wartime" class at BYU. Rushton saw a need to publish the stories of nurses in addition to the stories of veterans that Freeman was working on.

"Women nurses, certainly LDS women, have amazing stories to tell," she said. "Nurses don't get much credit for what they do, no matter where they do it, whether it be in war or not."

Rushton and her colleagues currently have about 60 accounts of LDS nurses. They continue to look for additional accounts, particularly from the Korean War and World War I. Rushton has only one account from each of those wars.

In addition, Rushton and her team are seeking accounts from all nurses during any wartime or combat situation on any side. Diaries, journals, photographs or any sort of record are wanted.

The first book in the project, accounts from LDS nurses, is in the revision stages of publication. Once that book is published, Rushton hopes to publish another book with accounts from nurses of many faiths and nationalities.

In addition to publication, the accounts will be archived in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library at the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU.

For more information about the project or how to submit information, contact Rushton by digital pager at (801) 329-7425 or by e-mail at patricia_rushton@byu.edu.

Writer: Thomas Grover

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