Influential Nurses in History
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Influential Nurses in History

Florence Nightingale, known to have ‘invented’ modern nursing, was born in the month of May, so each year, we honor her and all nurses with National Nurses Week, which runs May 6th through the 12th. Senior Helpers is grateful for all nurses currently working, retired, and those on the path to becoming a nurse! This past year has been especially challenging for all healthcare workers, and they should be celebrated always, but during the month of May and National Nurses Week, we wanted to put the spotlight on a few influential nurses who have impacted modern nursing for the better.

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)

She was the first to advocate for human rights and patient needs during the Crimean War in 1853. Florence Nightingale also introduced the concept of holistic nursing. She is known as the “Mother of Modern Nursing” because she developed the Polar Area Diagram that led to modern hospital sanitation practices.

Clara Barton (1821-1912)

She began her nursing career providing for the sick during wartime. She traveled to Europe and learned of the Switzerland-based Red Cross and decided America should be participating in the global Red Cross network. In 1881, she founded the American Red Cross and served as the president of the organization until 1904.

Linda Richards (1841-1930)

She was the first training nurse and initiated high-quality professional nurses training in the United States. Linda Richards was the first to graduate with a diploma from a nursing program as a woman and developed a modern system of record-keeping used in hospitals. In 1994, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and many more contributions for her have been made since then.

Mary Eliza Mahoney (1845-1926)

Mary Mahoney was influential because she was the first African American nurse to enter the field. She inspired many women of color to enter the industry because, at the time, the profession was very much segregated. She founded the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses to promote the profession in the United States and Canada.

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