Notable Women in Nursing History

  • Dorothea Dix

    Dorothea Dix
    During the Civil War she volunteered her services and was named the Superintendent of United States Army Nurses. She opened many schools own her own and was an avid children;s book writer. Most of her life she traveled and studied of the mentally ill around the world. When was between the states began, dix volunteered for an Army Nursing Corps, and was soon made Superintendent of Nurses for the Union Army. She also established hospitals and raised money for medical supplies.
  • Clara Barton

    Clara Barton
    Barton started her own school when she was 23. When she heard many people from the First Bull Run were wounded, she began her own independent organization to distribute goods including medical supplies from all over. She was granted a pass to travel with army ambulances in purpose of caring for those wounded ain battle and distibuting comforts. Her work in Fredericksburg, Va., Civil War, and Bermuda Hundred attacted national notice. She established the American Association of the Red Cross.
  • Mary Ann Bickerdyke

    Mary Ann Bickerdyke
    Bickerdyke was a nurse and health care provider to those involved with the Union Army during the Civil War in 1861. She went above and beyond her call of duty to imporve the living conditions of those with injuries. She gathered a group of ladies to help in the betterment of cleanliness and shortening the patients' recovery. During the war, she was given the honor by General Ulysses S. Grant to serve as chief of nursing and also serves at the Battle of Vicksburg.
  • Linda Richards

    Linda Richards
    Linda attended a nurse-training program offered at New England Hospital for Women and Children. In 1873, graduated from the program after 1 yr of training & became America's 1st trained nurse. By 1874 she wanted to take over the Boston Training School. Richards, with the help of sister Helen, turned the program around & it became one of the best nurse-training programs all around. She established nurse-training programs at Boston College Hospital, Japan, Philadelphia, Massachusetts, & Michigan.
  • Mary Eliza Mahoney

    Mary Eliza Mahoney
    In 1879, Mahoney became the 1st African American to gradaute the nursing program she atteneded at New England Hospital for Women and Children. An award was created in her honor to those women who played an important role in crossing racial barriers in the nursing profession, called the National Association of Colored Graduated Nurses. She later became a member of a predominately white Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada. After her death she was added to the Hall of Fame.
  • Isabel Hampton Robb

    Isabel Hampton Robb
    In 1883, Robb graduated from the Bellevue Hospital Training School for Nurses and began her journey. She made one of the most notable contributions to the system of nursing, which was the use of a grading policy for people in the field of nursing. She was appointed leader of Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in 1889, teaching and publishing the text called Nursing: Its Principles and Practices. Robb also wrote two more books, Nursing Ethics in 1900 and Educational Standards for Nursing in 1907.
  • Lavinia Dock

    Lavinia Dock
    Lavinia Dock graduated from Bellevue Training School for Nurses in 1886. Dock wrote many books, one was the history of nursing and for years was a standard nurse's manual of drugs. In 1893, Dock, founded the American Society of superintendents of Training Schools for Nurses in the US and Canada, with the help of Mary Nuttng and Isabel H. Robb. In 1896 she became the secretary and also chairperson on the Committee of a National Association, that founded the Nurses' Associated Alumnae.
  • Mary Adelaide Nutting

    Mary Adelaide Nutting
    Nutting was a student of the first graduating class at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in 1891, becoming the school's superintendent in 1894. She strongly supported education for nursing. While being superintendent, she lengthened the school's nursing program from 2 years to 3 years, which became the national standard for obtaining a nursing diploma. In 1907, she went to teach at Columbia University, later becoming chair of their new Department of Nursing Education.
  • Annie Goodrich

    Annie Goodrich
    Goodrich graduated from the New York Hospital Training for Nurses and remained there until 1893. She eventually left to
    become superintendent of nurses at New York Postgraduate Hospital, where she became involved in nurse education. In 1918, at the request of the surgeon general of the army, she took the role as being the chief inspecting nurse of the United States Army's hospitals. Goodrich would be the originator of the plan for the Army School of Nursing.
  • Lillian Wald

    Lillian Wald
    Lillian Wald attended the New York Hospital School of Nursing. She was a tireless and accomplished humanitarian. Wald was the founder of the Henry Street Settlement, and the Visiting Nurse Service in 1893. She began teaching health and hygiene to immigrant women on the impoverished side of the Henry Street Settlement. Wald assigned the term “public health nurse” for nurses who worked outside of hospitals in poor and middle-class communities in 1893 also.
  • Mary Brekinridge

    Mary Brekinridge
    In 1910, Brekinridge graduated from St. Luke's School of Nursing with a nursing degree. She experienced death of children, as well as 2 divorces during her early years and then turned back to nursing for comfort and strength. She traveled to Europe and became friends with nurse mid-wives in France and Great Britian and believe with their training she would be able to meet the problems of medical care for mothers and babies in all over America. She then knew this was what she was meant to do.
  • Margaret Sanger

    Margaret Sanger
    Margaret was educated as a nurse in her earlier years. In 1912, she gave up her nursing ablilties and dedicated herself to the dicorvery of information on birth control. In 1914, she founded the National Birth Control League which was eventually overtaken by Mary Ware Dennett while she was exploring Europe. Around 1916 she sent up the first birth control clinic in the U.S. Her main focus was advocatiing birth control and women's health. In addition, she wrote many books on birth control.
  • Virginia Henderson

    Virginia Henderson
    Henderson graduated from the Army School of Nursing,located in Washington D.C., in 1921. She earned her M.A. degree in nursing education from the Teachers College, Columbia University. She also served 18 years as being a member of the faculty. Later, she wrote several editions of the The Principles and Practice of Nursing. In 1985, age 87, she recieved her first award, Christianne Reimann Prize, from the International Council of Nurses.
  • Ida V. Moffett

    Ida V. Moffett
    Moffett graduated from Birmingham Baptist Hospital School of Nursing in 1926, passed the state exam, and became a RN. Afterwards, she took a job at that same hospital regarding private duty nursing. Moffett also developed a program allowing all students at the Birmingham Baptist Hospital School of Nursing to take courses courses at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Halfway through her career the Hospital was named after her because of her contribution to Alabama's health profession.
  • Hildegard Peplau

    Hildegard Peplau
    Peplau graduated from Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing in 1931 and worked as an operating room supervisor at Pottstown Hospital. During World War II, Hildegard Peplau was a member of the Army Nurse Corps & worked in a neuropsychiatric hospital in London. The only nurse to serve as an ANA executive director and later as president, she served two terms on the Board of the ICN. In 1997, she received nursing's highest honor, the Christiane Reimann Prize, at the ICN Quadrennial Congress.
  • Martha Rogers

    Martha Rogers
    In 1936, Rogers received her nursing diploma and her Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health Nursing from the College of Nursing in Nashville a year later. In 1954 she was appointed Head of the Division of Nursing at New York University. She was widely known for her leadership skill and a future vision that improved nursing education in the United States and internationally.
  • Dorothea Orem

    Dorothea Orem
    Orem attended the Providence School of Nursing in the early 1930's and completed her BSN in 1939. In 1959 she published her first theory in “Guides for Developing Curricula for the Education of Practical Nurses." Dorothea Orem was the founder of the Orem model of nursing, or in other words "Self Care Deficit Nursing Theory". This theory notes that nurses have to supply care when the patients cannot provide care to themselves.
  • Lillian Holland Harvey

    Lillian Holland Harvey
    Lillian Harvey was Dean of the Tuskegee University School for Nursing for almost 3 decades. In1948 the first baccalaureate of nursing program was started under her leadership in the state of Alabama. The AL State Nurses' Association established the an annual award in honor of her contribution called ASNA Lillian Holland Harvey Award. She was also the first recipient to recieve this award. In 1992 she recieved and honor in which the Nurses' Home was named after her.(Lillian Holland Harvey Hall)
  • Jean Watson

    Jean Watson
    Jean Watson earned her BSN, MS, and PhD all at the University of Colorado. Dr. Watson is known as the Distinguished Professor of Nursing at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and holds the highest honor given out for scholarly work there. Previously she served as Dean of Nursing at the University of health sciences and was President for the National League for Nursing. She is a well known author and has published more than 14 books. She is very well known today.
  • Madeleine Leininger

    Madeleine Leininger
    Leininger was appointed dean of the University of Washington School of Nursing in 1969, and remained there for 5 years. She is sometime referred to as "Madeleine Mead of Nursing" and is recognized worldwide as the founder of transcultural nursing, which is program she created while working with this school in 1974. She has written 27 books throughout her life and founded the Journal of Transcultural Nursing which supported her global research of the document she created earlier that year.