Covergirl: Miss Student Nurse 1955

helen hardy2In the February 1957 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, you will find a photo essay titled, “Student Nurse,” featuring St. John College alumna Helen Harding ’56 S.J. The lead reads: “Nursing isn’t glamorous or easy but Helen Harding learned in four years of giving baths, scrubbing wards, witnessing pain and death that she had met the challenge of her life. Here is the story of the rewarding career of a nurse.”

The photos that follow depict Harding at age 22 in a variety of roles, from preparing a suture table, to working in pediatrics, to laughing with friends at Hotel Clevelander’s Rib Room during her off-hours.

helen hardy3At St. John College, a selected group of student nurses from the junior class would compete each year for “Miss Student Nurse of Greater Cleveland and Elyria.” Harding won for submitting an expository essay about nursing and her outstanding academic record. After being featured in Cosmopolitan, the story was picked up by Russian magazine Amephka (America, in English), where Harding made the cover.

helen hardy4While studying to be a registered nurse, Harding served as class student council representative, Chi Delta Nu secretary, participated in Glee Club and was recognized in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. After graduation, she dedicated her life to nursing.

“To be such a nurse—a nurse with an alert and growing mind, a nurse with trained and skilled hands, a nurse with an understanding and compassionate heart. What an opportunity, what a challenge, what a way of life,” said Harding in her essay, “Nursing is a Way of Life.”

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