Cherry Ames, Rural Nurse

“Well, now you’re on your own, Cherry Ames,” said the nurse supervisor. “Now you’ll be the one and only nurse responsible for good public health nursing service in this entire county. Just you, Cherry.”

“I’m scared and delighted all at once,” Cherry said. “All those families! We visited only a sampling of them. All those towns and villages!”

Cherry and Miss Hudson had just returned from their last visit together to the twenty-five square miles of Cherry’s county in southeastern Iowa. It was a lovely countryside of thriving farms, where some ten thousand persons lived and worked, and where their children attended rural schools.

“Scared or not,” Cherry said, “I feel I’m off to a good start, Miss Hudson. I learned a lot driving around with you, nursing under your supervision during this training period.”

“I think you’ll do fine,” her supervisor encouraged her. “I’ll visit you regularly, and you’ll come to monthly meetings with my fourteen other county nurses. Between times, if you need any advice or extra help, you can always phone or write me at the regional office upstate. Of course all the specialized facilities of the State Health Department are open to your patients on your request.” Miss Hudson smiled at her reassuringly. “And Dr. Miller, as health officer and your medical adviser, will confer with you frequently here in your office.”

Cherry had been assigned this rather bare office on the second floor of the county courthouse in the small, quiet town of Sauk. Sunlight sifting through the trees outside shone on file cabinets and tables stacked with county health records and pamphlets about community health.

“I’m glad,” Cherry admitted, “that Dr. Hal Miller is young and as new on his county job as I am on mine. Makes it easier to work comfortably together.”