This Thursday, the GGRWHC’s Julia Bouwkamp will reveal the backstory of Grand Rapids medical institutions indebted to the community’s hard-working women. They filled “managerial voids” in our early history when government played virtually no role in providing medical services.
Fleshing out their specific history, Bouwkamp will reveal a pattern where women founders were pushed from the centers of organizations they had created into the more feminine realm of nursing. But once again their hard work and creativity revolutionized a struggling profession by “raising standards and giving scientific value to the business of being a woman.”
One creative idea had national impact when a nursing shortage loomed during World War I. Prominent local advocate of public health reform, Minnie Cumnock Blodgett proposed an intensive training camp where the theoretical side of nursing education could be undertaken outside a hospital setting. The successful experiment from the summer of 1918 had long-term national effect on the nation’s pattern of nursing education and the betterment of the profession.
Co-sponsored by the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council,
the Grand Rapids Historical Society, & the Grand Rapids Public Library