The nursing profession has progressed in many ways over the years. Here are nine notable nurses who helped the position ascend to new levels of respect and leadership.
1820 to 1920
Florence Nightingale is known as the founder of modern nursing. The legendary nurse lived to be 100 years old and introduced sanitation protocols in hospitals where the mortality rate was seven times higher than the battlefield. With Nightingale’s efforts, mortality rates in hospitals reduced by more than half.
1802 to 1887
While Dorothea Dix was a fine nurse, it was her efforts in lobbying for the mentally ill that earn her place in nursing history. She fought with legislators and while she didn’t begin to see an asylum take form until the end of her life, the benefits of her efforts still care for the mentally ill today.
Mary Eliza Mahoney
1845 to 1926
Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first African-American Registered Nurse. She worked as a cook, laundress and janitor for 15 years before finally being admitted into the nursing program at New England Hospital for Women and Children.
Anna Caroline Maxwell
1851 to 1929
The founder of the Army Nurse Corps, Anna Caroline Maxwell began her training at Boston City Hospital. After the Spanish-American War in 1898, Congress recognized the value of nurses in the military, which was influenced greatly by her efforts and created the Army Nurse Corps.
1821 to 1912
1879 to 1966
Mabel Keaton Staupers
1890 to 1989
Instrumental in ending racial prejudice in nursing, Mabel Keaton Staupers and is marked as responsible for fully integrating black nurses into the nursing profession.
Virginia Avenel Henderson
1897 to 1996
Probably one of the most notable nurses of the 20th century, Virginia Avenel Henderson developed and established Modern Nursing Theory and clearly defined nursing roles in primary health care.