Rockland District Nursing


Early in the 1900s, the American Red Cross supervised the public health unit in Rockland, Maine, a small coastal community. In 1929 the Red Cross decided to leave the public health field. Employed as the Rockland public health nurse, Eliza Steele, RN was determined not to leave residents, notably the indigent, without access to health care. Thus the Rockland District Nursing Association was born.

Working tirelessly until her retirement in 1969, Eliza Steele and RDNA served residents regardless of ability to pay. Community clinics were regularly held, with physicians and dentists donating their time both for the clinic and follow-up care. In the 1932 report to the City of Rockland, Eliza Steele logged more than 5,100 home visits and over 1,000 visits to expectant mothers, mothers after childbirth, and their newborns. Over the years, RDNA’s role has evolved, with health care facilities and government entities taking on and expanding many of the services RDNA originally provided. As this small agency responds and adapts to emerging needs in the community and changes in health care, RDNA endeavors to remain grounded in Eliza Steele’s founding vision.

In 2008, GEM Productions produced an oral history on Eliza Steele, RN. Copies are being made available for viewing through the Rockland Public Library and Northeast Historic Film in Bucksport, Maine.

caring hands



Eliza Steele Report


Rockland District Nursing Association
PO Box 1713
Rockland ME 04841
© 2008
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