A Look Back Through Time: Famous Nurses


Florence Nightingale: Florence Nightingale was born on May 12th, 1820 and passed away on August 13th, 1910. She was an English social reformer and statistician considered by many to be the founder of modern nursing. Florence played the role of a manager and trainer of the nurses during the Crimean war, in which she organized care for wounded soldiers. Nightingale is the main reason many soldiers did not die from their life-threatening wounds during the war. She did this by improving hygiene practices in the field of medicine, which actually plays a major role in making sure you don’t get certain diseases and infections. Nightingale also completed nightly routes through soldiers’ camps to do checkups.

Clara Barton: Clara Barton was an American nurse who founded the American Red Cross. She was a nurse in the American Civil War, a teacher, and a patent clerk. Back then, nursing education was not very formalized. Because of this, Clara didn’t even go to nursing school- she was a self-taught nurse. Clara was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1973.

Dorothea Dix: Dorothea Dix was an American advocate who worked with the indigent mentally ill who. Through a tough and sustained program of lobbying state legislatures and the US Congress, she created the first generation of American mental asylums. During the Civil War, she served and was a highly classified nurse in the army. Dix was born on April 4th, 1802, and passed away on July 17th, 1887.

Mary Breckinridge: Mary Breckinridge was born on Feb 17th, 1881, and passed on May 16th, 1965. She was an American nurse midwife and the founder of the Frontier Nursing Service (FNS). Through the FNS, Breckinridge provided comprehensive family medical care to the mountain people of rural Kentucky. FNS served remote and impoverished areas off the road and rail system but accessible by horseback. She modeled her services on European practices and sought to professionalize American Nurse-Midwives.