“The fine spirit of resolve that created the hospital has been augmented continuously by the research and results of modern science; the hospital is now a local, adaptable instrument of benevolent science within the community that requires its existence.”

So declared an article in the March 1944 issue of Hospitals magazine imploring AHA members to take advantage of National Hospital Day “to bring to the attention of the public the hospital as a community agent caring for the community.”

National Hospital Day took place on May 12, the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. For 1944, the AHA chose “Hospitals in the Third War Year” as the theme for the observances. “Hospitals have contributed in every way to the war effort,” the article pointed out. “Our problem is informing the public of our many services.” One way to capture the public’s attention is “through hospital requests for volunteer workers, U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps applicants and full-time employees to replace those now absent in military service.”

As part of their May 12 activities, hospitals should offer a reward for employees, such as a badge or token of service, as well as “publicly expressed gratitude.”

“Reward for such work is really spiritual and intangible,” Hospitals maintained, “but a degree of pride in public recognition would benefit the recruiting of additional workers.”

It also recommended that hospitals sponsor war bond drives to buy medical equipment for the military services. “By purchasing a bond from a hospital-sponsored sales drive, the purchaser not only adds to his individual savings, but he also has an opportunity for vicarious satisfaction of an altruistic urge. He really hasn’t given any money to alleviate pain and sickness of the man in service but he has made a gesture in that direction by lending his money to the nation.”

This reproduction of a “Dear Daddy” ad appeared in the March 1944 issue of Hospitals magazine.

Health care vendors also marked National Hospital Day in 1944. For example the “Dear Daddy” ad from Lilly, reproduced here, appeared in the same issue as the aforementioned article. In accompanying text, Lilly noted that “year by year, hospitalization grows in favor in the public mind. More than 1 million babies were born in hospitals last year. More than 1 million mothers enjoyed the safety and comfort of hospitalization with its unequaled professional service and care.”