The nurses at Ellis Island were employed by the United States Public Health Service (USPHS). Ellis Island's nurses were assigned to the general hospital wards and the contagious disease wards. In 1913, there were more than 25 nurses employed in the hospitals and wards. They worked under the supervision of the doctors, as well as their own hierarchy of chief and head nurses.
A group of nurses standing in front of the hospital complex, c. 1920. Note the Main Building in the background.
Both female and male nurses were required to live on the island and were assigned separate quarters.
According to USPHS regulations, all nurses visiting New York or New Jersey during their off-duty hours were required to return to Ellis Island no later than the 12:00 am staff boat.
Nurse Jennie Colligan (born 1872)
Nurse Jennie Colligan, the daughter of Irish immigrants Barney and Mary Colligan, worked at the Ellis Island Hospital from 1900 to the 1920's. Recalled as a kind-hearted woman, she was called "Mother" by her co-workers. Nurse Colligan spent most of her time on Ellis Island working day and night shifts in the Women's Wards and Children's Wards of the hospital. She finished her career as senior nurse at the United States Veteran's Hospital in Franklin County, New York in the Depression years of the 1930's.