Representative Nita Lowey

Representing the 17th District of New York

Lowey, Lance Introduce U.S. Cadet Nurse Corp Equity Act

February 16, 2017
Press Release

During WWII, 180,000 Cadet Nurses Provided 80% of Nursing for Civilian Hospitals

Bill Would Grant Long Overdue Veterans Status to Cadet Nurses

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-Rockland/Westchester), Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, and Representative Leonard Lance (R-NJ) today introduced the United States Cadet Nurse Corp Equity Act, which would designate members of the Cadet Nurse Corps as veterans, properly recognizing them for their hard work on behalf of our nation. 

“When the United States faced a domestic nursing shortage during the darkest years of World War II, the Cadet Nurse Corp answered the call and played a pivotal role in providing critical health services to Americans across the country,” said Lowey. “Now it is time for us to uphold our commitment by honoring the 180,000 Cadet Nurses who bravely served with the recognition they earned.” 

“The legacy of the US Cadet Nurse Corps is felt by all Americans,” said Lance. “Many cadet nurses were deployed to Army, Navy and other public health agencies during their cadet service. As a result, World War II military veterans came home to a strong health care system and were provided critical care by cadet nurses.  They deserve this honor.” 

The United States Cadet Nurse Corp was established in 1943 to ensure that the United States had enough nurses to care for the civilian population both at home and at war. The program accepted participants from 1943 to 1945, and funding for the program continued until all Cadet Nurses had graduated nursing school in 1948. During World War II, Cadet Nurses provided 80% of the nursing staff for civilian hospitals in the United States.

Although the Cadet Nurse Corp was established during a time of war and was under the command of the Surgeon General of the United States, Cadet Nurses are not considered veterans. The United States Cadet Nurse Corp Equity Act would correct this glaring oversight by granting veteran status to women who served in the Corps, making them eligible for health benefits through the VA. Many of these women are advanced in age, and veteran status would help relieve the costs of their care. It is long past time for these women to be honored for their service and receive the benefits and recognition they earned.

“I am proud to introduce this legislation with my colleague, Congressman Lance,” said Lowey. “Cadet Nurses deserve proper recognition for their service to our country.”