A World War II Nurse Looks Back


Posted to Nursing, Nursing Jobs, Travel Nursing

Veteran’s Day has special resonance for 93-year-old Edna Bremenkamp Poole. Not only did her husband serve in World War II, but she did too, as a nurse. In this article she looks back at her service:

Poole is a World War II veteran who crossed both oceans in her five years of service. In 1942 at the age of 24, she enlisted as a nurse. The native of Colby, KS already had two brothers serving, one in the Signal Corps and the other in the Navy.

“They needed nurses, so I enlisted,” she said.

Her first tour of duty sent her to the remote Umnak Island, which during the war housed an Army Air Force base in the Aleutian archipelago. In 1944, she was assigned to a field hospital attached to Gen. George Patton’s army in Europe, where she served until the war ended. The field hospital was housed in tents, which didn’t have the best lighting.

“When you got ready to do an IV you had to be good,” Poole said with a chuckle.

After the war, she stayed in Germany caring for patients who couldn’t yet travel. She later was stationed in France near the Spanish border and had the chance to travel.

When Poole was discharged in 1947, she returned to Colby, where she worked at a doctor’s office. Compared with her experience during the war, the job was a simple one, she said. Her nursing career lasted for more than 40 years.

“Medicine itself learned at lot during the war,” she said.

It was in Colby where she crossed paths with Rufus Poole, a deep-sea diver and Navy veteran who was visiting a buddy who happened to be her neighbor. They married, remained in Colby and had two children.

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