National Historic Site of Canada La Corne Nursing Station : Nurses in the time of settlement

In the 1930s, with Quebec in the grip of an economic crisis, the government of Quebec developed plans to encourage the urban unemployed to settle in «new territories».

In order to provide medical services for these settlers, the government had recourse to settlement nurses. Healthcare provider, midwife, dentist, surgeon, pharmacist, administrator and, occasionally, veterinarian, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the settlement nurse was an actual walking hospital in regions where doctors refused to set up practice.

Over 174 nursing stations were created for these nurses throughout Quebec. Of this number, 61 were established in the Abitibi-Temiscamingue region.

Gertrude Duchemin was one of these courageous nurses. She arrived in La Corne in 1936 and remained at her post until 1976. Not only was she a devoted nurse, she also had the makings of an historian. She preserved her documents and professional instruments and, prior to her death, expressed the wish to have the story of settlement nurses told. T

he population responded to the wishes of a woman who, for forty years, had eased their suffering.

They made her dispensary into an interpretation centre. The La Corne Station is now a National Historic Site of Canada.

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