November 4, 2015

Kaiser Permanente nursing students trained with veterans

Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing students at VA Hospital, Martinez, California, 1967

Black and white photo of 8 female nurses in uniform.
Seated KFSN students, left to right: Linda Stringham, Judy Wigglesworth, Victoire Volf, Victoria Soares, Mary Hoffarth, Mary Thomassen, Nancy Sutherland, Prudence Wolfe. 1967

During the Viet Nam War students from the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing (1947-1976) participated in clinical rotation programs in rehabilitation, community, and rural health. For training in psychiatric nursing, many went to the Veterans Administration Hospital (now called the Veterans Affairs Medical Center) in Martinez, Calif.

There, they not only honed their skill in compassionate nursing, they brought comfort to servicemen and women recovering from the war in Southeast Asia.

A June, 1967 article in the KP Reporter titled “Nursing students entertain at Martinez” described a successful third year win in a theatrical revue contest:

1969 black and white photo of two female nurses in uniform talking to two male patients.
Physical therapy, VA Hospital, 1967

The student nurses - who have temporarily traded in their caps and uniforms for greasepaint and the footlights - also presented their musical skits at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Martinez the following week. In the past only the winning class has gone, but this year all three classes entertained the patients. Approximately 350 people attended the annual Spring Sing.

Snapshots from KFSN alumni from that same year show more of this relationship — a day of physical therapy, socializing, and recreation.

Special thanks to KFSN alumni for help with this article.