The State Nursing Council for War Service was formed in August 1942 to serve as the coordinating body for New York State nursing programs. These programs included conducting studies and inventories of the number of nurses in the State and recruiting students to nursing schools. The principal objectives of the Nursing Council were to study nursing needs and resources in the State; keep an up-to-date roster of licensed and auxiliary nursing personnel; plan for and assist in enlistment and distribution of nursing services; disseminate information on war nursing; and assist in recruiting students for nursing schools.
The Nursing Council worked in conjunction with both national and local (usually county) organizations in these efforts. The Nursing Council conducted meetings, personal visits, and publicity campaigns to meet the need for active nurses. At one point, the nursing shortage was so evident that nurses who were retired were reactivated to teach in training programs and to care for patients.
Under the Bolton Act of 1943, the U.S. Public Health Service was authorized to provide qualified candidates with all-expense scholarships to nursing schools. Students who enrolled under the plan became members of the U.S. Cadet Nursing Corps and upon graduation were required to serve with either military or essential civilian nursing until the end of the war.
Initially a one-woman operation, by war's end the Nursing Council had classified over 38,000 nurses and was employing a nurse director, two assistants, and fifteen clerks. Alta E. Dines served as chairperson of the Nursing Council while Ruth Hall chaired the Procurement and Assignment Committee. Aid to the nursing program was discontinued by the War Council in April 1946, but the State Nursing Council continued as a private organization with coordinating and informational services in New York State in the field of nursing.