Abstract

The vast devastation caused by both the First World War and the influenza pandemic of 1918 led to an increased worldwide demand for public health nurses. In response to this demand, a number of new public health training programs for nurses were started at both national and international levels. At the international level, one of two influential programs in this area included a year-long public health nursing course offered by the League of Red Cross Societies, in conjunction with Bedford College in London, England.1 In total, 341 nurses from 49 different countries have been documented as participants in this initiative throughout the interwar period, including 20 Canadians.

Using archival material from the Canadian Nurses Association and the Royal College of Nursing, as well as articles from the journals Canadian Nurse, American Journal of Nursing and British Journal of Nursing, this paper examines these nurses' commitment to internationalism throughout their careers and explores the effect of this commitment on the development of nursing education and professionalization at the national level.