UVA's 8th Evacuation Hospital, from the Bjoring Center's Alice Huffman Bugel collection
Lt. Alice Huffman, who graduated from UVA's nursing program in 1938, served with the 750-bed mobile hospital unit during World War II.

Ukranian nurses—who, in early March, began a #nursesforpeace campaign with support from around the world—are struggling through the dregs of winter as they tend victims of the war of Russian aggression. Today's Flashback Friday comes from the recollections of First Lieutenant Alice M. Huffman, a 1938 graduate of the UVA School of Nursing who served with the 750-bed mobile hospital unit, which also struggled against the elements as they offered care:

“Being night supervisor in winter was a challenge. There were twenty some wards, and to make rounds twice during the twelve hour shift took a bit of stamina. We were always in a black-out area, which meant we could not use a flashlight. In good weather it wasn’t too bad, but when there was sleet or snow, it was miserable . . . 

"Someone once said that living through a war is the most wonderful experience in your life. Of course it’s a terrible thing, but over time you forget the bad and remember the good. I got to travel and meet people I would never have gotten to meet otherwise. The whole thing was hard work, but we were with our best friends, and that made it a lot easier.”

By 1945, the 8th Evacuation Hospital had cared for upwards of 70,000 patients.


Today's Flashback Friday brought to you by the Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry, now in its 30th year.