Historical Nurses and their Contributions to Nursing

  • Dorothea Dix

    Dorothea Dix
    Dorothea Dix accomplished her dream when the US Congress granted her the right to own 5 million acres of land to be used for the care of the mentally ill. Dorothea Dix has been described as "the most effective advocate of humanitarian reform in American mental institutions during the nineteenth century" (Goldenson, 1970). April 4, 1802 - July 17, 1887
  • Clara Barton

    Clara Barton
    Clara Barton was a civil war nurse and founder of the American Red Cross. She began by working at the Battle of Bull Run. After this battle she established a company that would give wounded soldiers supplies. Twenty years later, in 1881, she founded the American Red Cross, which is still in circulation today. December 25, 1821 - April 12, 1912
  • Mary Ann Bickerdyke

    Mary Ann Bickerdyke
    Mary Ann Brickerdyke was a nurse and health care provider during the Civil War to the Union Army. Under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant, she became the chief of nursing. After the war was over Mary Bickerdyke worked with a salvation army group on a project for for Civil War veterans. July 19, 1817 - November 8, 1901.
  • Linda Richards

    Linda Richards
    Linda Richards holds the honorable title of becoming America's first nurse. Richards created a system for charting and maintaing individual medical records for each patient while she was at Bellevue Hospital in New York. In 1886 she established the first nurse-training school in Japan. July 27, 1841 - April 16, 1930
  • Lavinia Dock

    Lavinia Dock
    Lavina Dock compiled Material Medica for Nurses, which is the first, and long most important, manual of drugs for nurses. At the age of 50 she retired from nursing, but still continued to voice her opinion on contoversial subjects such as improved working conditions, the elimination of prostitution and venereal diseases, and women's rights. 1858-1956
  • Lillian Wald

    Lillian Wald
    Lillian Wald began her career in 1893 working at the Henry Street Settlement. By 1903 she had organized 18 district nursing centers in New York that treated 4500 patients. She became the target of many racial battles, speaking up for racial integration. She also led a protest against the first world war in 1914. March 10th, 1867 - September 1, 1949
  • Isabel Hampton Robb

    Isabel Hampton Robb
    Isabel Robb was one of the founders of modern American nursing theory. In September of 1896 delegates met and organized the Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada. The first president of this organization was Robb.The purpose: to foster high standards of nursing practice . August 26, 1859 - April 15, 1910
  • Mary Adelaide Nutting

    Mary Adelaide Nutting
    In 1907, after serving 13 years as principal of Johns Hopkins Hospital Training School for Nurses, Mary Adelaide Nutting became the world's first professor of nursing. As principal of the Johns Hopkins Nursing program, Nutting recognized the importance of collecting materials and books for a historical collection for the nursing school. November 1, 1858 - October 3, 1948
  • Mary Eliza Mahoney

    Mary Eliza Mahoney
    Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first African-American registered nurse in the US. In 1908 Mahoney became the co-founder of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses. May 7, 1845 - January 4, 1926.
  • Margaret Sanger

    Margaret Sanger
    Margaret Sanger is known for advocationg birth control and women's health. In1912 Margaret Sanger gave up her nursing career to help distribute birth control information. Around 1916 she founded the first birth control clinic in the United States. September 14, 1879 - September 6, 1966
  • Annie Goodrich

    Annie Goodrich
    Annie Goodrich became the first Dean and Professor of Yale University's School of Nursing. She maintained this status from 1923 to 1934. Ms. Goodrich then became Emeritus in 1934 and continued so until she passed away in 1954. 1866-1954
  • Virginia Henderson

    Virginia Henderson
    Virginia Henderson's national and international achievements made her the most ideal nurse of the twentieth century. She served as the first full-time nursing instructor at Norfolk Protestant School of Nursing in Virginia. She also took an active role in the state nurses association. Henderson strongly urged that psychitric nursing be included in educational programs. November 30, 1897 - March 19, 1996
  • Mary Breckinridge

    Mary Breckinridge
    In 1925 Mary Breckinridge began work on what would bring about a new type of health care in the US, the Frontier Nursing Service (FNS). She helped raise $6 million for the FNS through her influential speeches. The service was established for less maternal deaths during child birth. Since 1925, the FNS has registered over 64,000 patients, delivering 17,053 babies with only 11 maternal deaths. 1881 - 1965
  • Ida V. Moffett

    Ida V. Moffett
    Ida V. Moffett organized Alabama's first unit of the Cadet Nurse Corps. This is a federal program that was established to overcome a shortage of nurses. She also was set on the concept that nurses should be taught in a university setting. In her honor, Samford University's nursing school is named after her. She passed away in 1996.
  • Lillian Holland Harvey

    Lillian Holland Harvey
    From 1944 - 1973 Lillian Holland Harvey served as the director of nurse training at the John A. Andrew Hospital, Tuskegee University. Alabama's first baccalaurete degree program in nursing was established under her leadership in 1953. 1912-1994
  • Hildegard Peplau

    Hildegard Peplau
    Hildegard Peplau was known in the nursing world as the mother of psychiatric nursing. She was a member of the Army Nurse Corpe during World War II. This is where she began her career in psychiatric nursing by working in the neuropsychiatric hospital in London. Peplau served the nursing field for fifty years before she passed away in 1999.
    September 1st, 1909 - March 17th, 1999.
  • Dorothea Orem

    Dorothea Orem
    Dorothea Orem is credited to one of the most widely used models in nursing, the Self-Care deficit Theory. This theory was to help invidiuals along with their families to have a say in their health care. The theory was completed in 2001.
    1914 - June 22, 2007
  • Martha Rogers

    Martha Rogers
    Martha Rogers first published her model of human interaction and the nursing process in 1970 when she published an Introduction to the Theoretical Basis of Nursing. Her view presented a drastic but attractive way of viewing human interaction and the nursing process. Martha's strong background in sciences helped NYU lay the foundation for the nursing program to develop as a body of scientific knowledge. May 12, 1914 - March 13, 1994
  • Madeleine Leininger

    Madeleine Leininger
    Madeleine Leininger was a nurse anthropologist pioneer. In 1974 she created a program at the University of Washington, School of Nursing, that would allow nurses to understand their patient's cultural background in order to provide better care for them. 1925-present
  • Jean Watson

    Jean Watson
    Professor Jean Watson founded the Watson Caring Science Institute. This international non-profit foundation was created to advance the philsophies, theories and practices of Human Caring. In 1979 she published her caring theory of nursing which is to guide transformative models of caring and healing practices for nurses and patients alike, in diverse settings worldwide. 1940- present