Betty Jefferson Truax

Growing up in Westwood, the nurse we would come to know as Betty Truax was a child of the Depression. Born in 1927, she was a freshman in high school before her father ever held a full-time job.

"My parents did not have the money for me to go to college," she recalls, and there was little talk of anything other than getting a job when she graduated from high school in 1944. If she had the opportunity to pursue a career, it would have been nursing.

Her life took a dramatic change for the better when, faced with a critical shortage of nurses throughout civilian and military hospitals, the U.S. Government initiated the Victory Nurse Corps, later renamed the Cadet Nurse Corps. For those willing to accept the demands of an accelerated training program while working the wards of the teaching hospital, the Victory Nurse Corps offered a monthly stipend of $15 that would increase to $20 per month after the first year and $25 thereafter.

She entered nurses training at Mass Memorial Hospitals, now part of New England Medical. "The hospital provided our white uniforms to wear while on duty," she recalls, "and the Cadet Nurse Corps provided our brown dress uniforms." They would be the youngest of uniformed participants in the war effort.

Her devotion to nursing continued throughout her working life, working for several years in the office of Dr. Robert Hayward before joining the local school system. She spent 10 years as a school nurse at the elementary level and another 10 with junior high students. "Oh, how Iloved those students," she said.

Betty looks back fondly on the opportunities afforded her through the Cadet Nurse Corps to not only make a direct contribution to the war effort but to fulfill a dream she never thought would be realized, that of becoming a nurse.

-excerpt from Jack Authelet, The Foxboro Reporter, Thursday, November 19, 2009

Last Name in Nursing School: 
Jefferson Truax
Email address:
Relationship Status: 
Cadet Nurse
Deceased Cadet Nurse: 
Nursing School: 
Massachusetts General Hospital School of Nursing, Boston, Massachusetts
Nursing School City: 
Nursing School State: 
Portrait of Betty Jefferson Truax