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Famous Nurses Who Made History
Famous Nurses Who Made History
1. Florence Nightingale
Founder of Modern Nursing (1820 to 1920) The history of modern nursing started in 1849, when Florence Nightingale began her first formal nursing training at the Institute of St. Vincent de Paul, in Alexandria, Egypt. After further trainings in Germany and in France, she voluntarily served as Superintendent at the Establishment for Gentlewomen during Illness in London. The knowledge and skills Nightingale gained from these experiences equipped her to take the challenges in tending to the British military victims when the Crimean War broke out on 1854.
2. Clara Barton
Founder of American Red Cross (1821 to 1912) Clarissa Harlowe Barton was a teacher when her feet directed her to tread the more risky life of bringing supplies right in heart of battlefields during the American Civil War, wherein she was rightfully known as the Angel of the Battlefield. Claras nursing journey and philanthropic life dawned amid the dark Baltimore riots, organizing relief program for the soldiers. The need for medical supplies was huge and advertising for donations greatly helped. Not long after successful relief operation, Clara Barton travelled with army ambulances to distribute supplies, nurse victims, give them comfort, and even cook for them. She also helped locate missing men and notify families of their status; an activity that ushered the Red Cross tracing services to the humanitarian scene. The job for Clara Barton in the American Civil War unfolded as a long start for an even longer humanitarian service, this time serving not just to warzone victims but also to the disaster victims as the American Red Cross advances to becoming a reality. Soon after the establishment of the organization, relief efforts will have to be brought outside the soil of the United States, seeing no differences of colors and races at all. This also led to the expansion of International Red Cross relief efforts, covering victims of natural disasters, called the American Amendment. Barton served the American Red Cross until 1904, and established National First Aid Association of America, wherein she was honorary president for 5 years. And in the 12th of April, 1912, Clarissa Harlowe Barton died.
3. Mary Breckinridge
Founder of the New Model of Rural Health Care & Frontier Nursing Service (1881 to 1965) Mary Breckinridge came from an influential family and enjoyed a privileged childhood. Unfortunately, though, her 2 own children did not endure childhood. This was the most notable accounts of Mary Breckinridge that are associated with her decision to dedicate her life in improving health of poor women and children in rural areas of America. Breckinridge became a registered nurse 1910 at St. Lukes Hospital School of Nursing in New York, worked as public health nurse in Boston and Washington D.C., served as nurse during World War I in France through the American Red Cross, and furthered her study at Columbia University after WWI. She then focused on the poor areas in Kentucky, where shes rooted. She looked into the health status of those living in inaccessible areas with no physicians. Mary found high maternal mortality due to lack of prenatal care, having many children, and no trained mid wives. These problems brought her to London to become nurse midwife, and came to Scotland to learn effective community midwifery system for the poor. After equipping herself for the challenging nurse midwife job to the rural America, Mary Breckinridge began serving in Kentucky in 1925, wherein she introduced the new system of rural health care. In that same year, she established Frontier Nursing Service, providing care for low service fee. In areas covered, maternal and neonatal mortality rates significantly dropped. FNS is still serving mothers and children down to this very day.
4. Dorothea Dix
Brain of First Mental Asylum in the U.S. (1802 to 1887) Dorothea Lynde Dix was not an excellent nurse in the very sense of nursing. However, the reputation as a famous nurse was earned by her fearless fight for the right of the mentally ill in front of Massachusetts legislators and of the United States Congress. Dix found herself in this battle due to her passion for teaching. She saw with her own eyes the dismal conditions of the mentally disabled people when she entered the East Cambridge Jail to teach Sunday class for women inmates on March 1842. Dix immediately brought the matter to courts, wherein she won many battles using careful and extensive data of extreme conditions in jails and almshouses, getting these poor individuals improved states. Dorothea Dix continued to win support, enabling her to acquire funds set to provide the insane more humane conditions. But when she brought her advocacy to the national scene, President Franklin Pierce vetoed her almost successful effort to get a facility of 5 million acres for the people with mental disability, which was already approved by both houses of the United States Congress. This failure never stopped Dix from speaking for the disadvantaged. Even with a frail health condition, due to tuberculosis, she pushed the same efforts to different countries in Europe. She made notable changes in the way insanity was treated in the European soil in just 2 years.
5. Margaret Sanger
Founder of Planned Parenthood (1879 to 1966) Margaret Louise Higgins blamed the premature death of her mother to the frequent pregnancy, the result of what she viewed as grim class and family heritage. Nursing became her door to liberation from this big family tradition. As she worked as a visiting nurse, Margaret, who was then married to William Sanger and a mother of 3, became attracted to womens pain of frequent childbirth, miscarriage, and abortion. She sought to liberate these women from the unwanted pregnancy by advocating for the practice of birth control. Margaret Sanger wrote about education and womens health, aiming to teach people that access to accurate and effective birth control is actually a right, particularly of the working women. However, the conservative American society considered this effort obscene. She had to flee to England due to her radical advocacy, which she promoted through Family Limitation and The Woman Rebel, her writings of explicit instructions of various contraceptive methods. While in Europe, she broadened her arguments with the social and economic impacts of pregnancy.
6. Elizabeth Grace Neill
Started the System of Nursing Registration (1846 to 1926) Elizabeth Grace Campbell Neil received her nursing education at the St. Johns House Sisterhood in London. She spent her early nursing career as lady superintendent at the Pendlebury Hospital for Children in Manchester, where Ms. Campbell met her husband Channing Neil. She left England for Australia in 1886, and then, treaded a life of a journalist and various government commissions for almost 10 years in New Zealand beginning 1891. Neil was back in health care upon the establishment of the New Zealands Department of Health, creating a nursing service. 1901 came, and Neil got the privilege of helping draft a bill aimed to protect the public from nursing malpractice for New Zealand Parliament, one that became the worlds first Nurses Registration Act. Soon after, the Midwives Registration Act was passed and Neil was given the task of setting up the very first state maternity hospital, the St. Helens Hospital, which opened in 1905 and followed by 3 more in a span of 2 years.
7. Mary Eliza Mahoney
First Registered African American Nurse (1845 to 1926) At her teens, Mary Eliza Mahoney began having interest in nursing. That interest led her to New England Hospital for women and children, working as cook, janitress, and laundry woman for 15 years. She also served as an unofficial nursing aid, which became a very significant step in her journey of becoming a professional nurse. In 1879, she was finally admitted into the hospitals nursing school, and was one of the only 3 nursing students who made it through the rigorous study and training. From then on, black students were accepted for professional training, a notable change of blacks status in the nursing field. Mahoney officially registered in the Nurses Directory at the Massachusetts Medical Library after graduating. She then embarked in private practice, providing care for patients in the New England area. But becoming a nurse and being able to practice were just parts of Mahoneys journey against racial discrimination. Mary Eliza Mahoney joined the Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada, which is now known as American Nurses Association. The discrimination in the association moved Mahoney to co find the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses in 1908.
8. Mary Seacole
Unofficial Nurse to Crimean War Soldiers (1805 to 1881) Mary Seacole was a free black Jamaican who was, at least 4 times, rejected from providing nursing aide to the British soldiers during the Crimean war because of her color. This was despite Florence Nightingales call for support of nursing. Rejections were the least thing that could stand against Mary Seacole from tending to the wounded British and Jamaican soldiers. Seacole funded herself and headed for Crimea. Unlike Nightingale, whose hospitals were far from the battlefields, Mary Seacole did her work right where war was taking place. Equipped with no formal nursing training, and only with the healing practice that she learned from her mother and with herbal medicines, she tended to the British soldiers. She also established a facility that provided caregivers, medical attention, food as well as comfortable place for the sick and wounded, all at her expense. For these loving provision and care, she was loved by the soldiers despite her race. When the Crimean War ended, Seacole was broke and ill. Well wishers rallied to her aid, through which she was able to live the rest of her life prosperous. Mary Seacole was awarded medals for her bravery and unselfish acts. And in 1881, the brave Jamaican nurse passed away.
9. Susie King Taylor
First African American U.S. Army Nurse in Civil War (1848 to 1912) Susie Baker King Taylor, daughter of slaves, was freed by their owner Mr. Grest by sending her to her grandmother Dolly Reed in Savannah. While with her grandmother, Susie learned how to read and write with the help of some friends. When Civil War broke, Susie, who was then 14 years old, fled to St. Simons Island with her uncle. They were taken under the custody of Union Forces that was then enlisting black soldiers for a new regiment. She was assigned as laundrywoman, but within days became teacher to freed African American students through the help of some soldiers as well. From being a laundrywoman and teacher, King also became a nurse, tending to the colored soldiers that have been fighting for freedom along their side. The memoirs of her life can be read in the Reminiscences, the story of her experiences in camp with the 33rd United States Colored Troops, which she wrote and published in 1902. Ten years after publishing her memoirs, Susie King Taylor died at the age of 64.
10. Isabella Baumfree
The Soujourner Truth (1797 to 1883) Born a slave, Isabella Baumfree paddled the cruel truth of black enslavement in the land of white people, and fighting for freedom became the very essence of her journey. Isabella Baumfree, renamed herself as Soujourner Truth, literally travelled across the country, speaking before crowds speeches that have so much to do with abolishing slavery and the advocacy for womens rights. Backed with religious faith and belief of equality in the creators eyes, Isabella fought alongside groups of abolitionists for freedom from slavery. Her first success was regaining custody of her son Peter through the court of New York. Through her efforts, many Africans were freed from their masters. Aside from advocating equality in race and in gender, Soujourner Truth also served as nurse in the Union Party in the Civil War for the hopes of liberation. First, her task was to enlist black soldiers. In 1864, Truth went to a government refugee camp in an Island of Virginia. She was also employed at the National Freedmans Relief Association, in Washington D.C., wherein she met President Abraham Lincoln. Truth continued to work for the association to be able to extend hand to her fellow former slaves.
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