Famous Nurses and their contributions to Nursing

  • Dorothea Dix

    Dorothea Dix
    At age 59, she became the Superintendent of the Nurses of the Union Army during the Civil War. Despite her age, she put forth extra effort to raise money for medical supplies and to get volunteer nurses to help her. She became known as "Dragon Dix" because of her autocratic style.
  • Mary Ann Bickerdyke

    Mary Ann Bickerdyke
    During the American Civil War, Mother Bickerdyke, as she was referred, was a hospital administrator for Union soldiers. By the end of the war, Mother Bickerdyke had built 300 hospitals and aided the wounded on 19 battlefields with help from the U.S. Sanitary Commission.
  • Clara Barton

    Clara Barton
    In April 1862, Barton established an agency to obtain and distribute supplies to wounded soldiers in the American Civil War. Risking her life to provide supplies and care, Clara Barton became known as "The Angel of the Battlefield." In 1882, after all her efforts, Barton founded what we know to be the American Red Cross.
  • Linda Richards

    Linda Richards
    Richards was the first professionally trained American Nurse. She established training programs for nursing in the United States and Japan. She later created the first system for keeping medical records for hospitalized patients. In 1877, in an effort to gain more knowledge, Richards went to England to participate in an intensive seven month nurse training program where she studied at St. Thomas's Hospital in London.
  • Lillian Wald

    Lillian Wald
    As a young nurse, Wald hoped to provide decent health care to residents of New York’s Lower East Side tenements. Her work as the founder of the Henry Street Settlement and the Visiting Nurse Service demonstrated her masterful administrative talents, deep regard for humanity and skill at fundraising and publicizing.
  • Mary Adelaid Nutting

    Mary Adelaid Nutting
    Nutting was the first nurse to ever be appointed to a University professoership. In 1894, Nutting because principal of the John's Hopkins School of Nursing.
  • Lavinia Dock

    Lavinia Dock
    In hopes to advance nursing education, Dock authored one of the first nursing textbooks, Materia Medica for Nurses. She also served as foreign editor of "American Journal of Nursing."
  • Isabel Hampton Robb

    Isabel Hampton Robb
    In 1896, Robb organized a group of women known as the Nurses' Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada. In 1911, the group was renamed the American Nurses Association.
  • Mary Eliza Mahoney

    Mary Eliza Mahoney
    Mary Mahoney was America's first black professional nurse. In 1909, Mahoney gave the welcome address at the first conference of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses. In 1936, in recognition of her outstanding example to nurses of all races, the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses established the Mary Mahoney Award.
  • Margaret Sanger

    Margaret Sanger
    Sanger was an American Birth Control activist that eventually became the founder of the American Birth Control League (which eventually became Planned Parenthood). In 1916, she opened a clinic in Brooklyn, was arrested, and served thirty days for distributing information about contraceptives.
  • Annie Goodrich

    Annie Goodrich
    In 1918, Goodrich established the United States Student Nurse Reserve, commonly known as the Army School of Nursing. In 1923, she became the first Dean and professor at Yale University School of Nursing.
  • Mary Breckenridge

    Mary Breckenridge
    Breckenridge established the Frontier Nursing School (FNS), originally called the Kentucky Committee for Mothers and Babies, in 1925 to provide professional health care in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky, one of American's poorest and most isolated regions. In 1929, the FNS staff members formed the beginnings of the American College of Nurse Midwives.
  • Ida V. Moffett

    Ida V. Moffett
    In 1943, she organized Alabama's first unit of Cadet Nurse Corps, a federal program of the Public Health Service that was established to overcome a shortage of nurses. In 1968, after she oversaw the construction of the second building of the School of nursing, the Board of Trustees of Baptist Medical Centers of Birmingham renamed the school of nursing to honor Ida V. Moffett. In 1973, this school became part of what is now known as Samford University.
  • Lillian Holland Harvey

    Lillian Holland Harvey
    Dr. Lillian Harvey was Dean of the Tuskegee University School of Nursing for almost three decades. Under her leadership and efforts, the School of Nursing at Tuskegee became the first to offer a Bachelor of Science Degree in nursing in the state of Alabama.
  • Hildegard Peplau

    Hildegard Peplau
    Peplau used the term psychodynamic nursing to describe the relationship between the a patient and a nurse. This term made her known as "the mother of psychiatric nursing."
  • Dorothea Orem

    Dorothea Orem
    Orem was a nursing theorist and founder of the Orem Model of Nursing also known as the Self Care Deficit Nursing Theory. Her theory stated that nurses have to supply care when the patients cannot care to themselves.
  • Virginia Henderson

    Virginia Henderson
    Henderson was funded to direct the Nursing Studies of Index Project from 1959-1971. The outcome of this project was publication of the four- volume Nursing Studies Index, the first annotated index of nursing research. She holds twelve honorary doctoral degrees and has received the International Council of Nursing's Christianne Reimann Prize, which is considered nursing's most prestigious award.
  • Martha Rogers

    Martha Rogers
    Martha Rogers provided a framework for continued study and research, and influenced the development of a variety of modalities, including therapeutic touch. Rogers also wrote three books that not only enriched the learning experience for a number of students but also influenced the direction of nursing research.
  • Madeleine Leininger

    Madeleine Leininger
    In 1974, Dr, Leininger became the foundress of the worldwide Transcultural Movement. This movement brought the role of cultural factors in nursing practice into the discussion of how to best attend to those in need of nursing care.
  • Jean Watson

    Jean Watson
    Watson is not only the founder of the Center for Human Caring, but she is also a Distinguished Professor of Nursing and former Dean of the school of nursing at the University of Colorado. Her theory of Human Caring was developed in 1975, stating that through love and care, better care for the patient wil be given.