By Esperanza Poquiz Edited by Jul DeGeus
International Nurses Day is a day for people around the world to give thanks to the subtle heroes who quietly help save lives, daily. Though nurses should be appreciated every day, it’s always nice to have a dedicated time to celebrate these hard working professionals. International Nurses Day is celebrated on May 12th, which is the anniversary of the birth of one of the most famous nurses in history, Florence Nightingale. Today, Centura College acknowledges a few nurses that helped changed history and say thank you to all the nurses around the globe.
Florence Nightingale is widely known as the founder of modern nursing. In 1854, the Secretary of War, Sidney Herbert, requested Nightingale to assemble a unit of nurses to help aide the soldiers of Crimea. Not only did Nightingale care for the wounded, but she also improved the hospital’s living conditions. Before her arrival, soldiers were dying more from infectious diseases than actual battle wounds obtained on the field. She was able to help drop the mortality rates in the hospitals by changing the sanitary methods in the facility. Her work did not go unnoticed and she was honored with the title of “the Angel of the Crimea.” (1)
Clara Barton, or “the Angel of the Battlefield,” is the founder of American Red Cross. Barton traveled with Army ambulances during the American Civil War. She tended to the victims of the battlefield, distributed supplies, and provided comfort and support to patients in hopes to keep the moral high. After the war was over, Barton headed a program that helped locate and identify men, both alive and deceased, to notifying their families of their statuses. When her duties to the Civil War were complete, Barton traveled to Europe and came into contact with the International Committee of the Red Cross. Inspired by what the organization stood for, Barton petitioned to begin a branch of the Red Cross in America. Though she was met with resistance from the government at first, the request was granted in 1881, with Barton as the American Red Cross’s first president. (2)
Dorothea Dix is known for bringing to light the terrible treatment of the mentally ill and fighting for their rights. After seeing the horrible conditions patients were living in, Dix decided to bring matters to the United States Congress. With her carefully noted research and data, she was able to get the support and funds needed to help provide more humane living conditions and treatment for the mentally disabled. Dix’s efforts resulted in the creation of more than 30 institutions for the mentally ill across the United States and Europe. (3)
Mary Eliza Mahoney is the first registered African American Nurse. She began her “health care” career working as a janitor, cook, and laundry woman at the New England Hospital. Between her three jobs at the hospital, Mahoney became an unofficial nurse aide. This unsanctioned hobby helped kick-start Mahoney’s passion and career in nursing. In 1829, Mahoney became “official.” She was admitted into the hospital’s nursing program and was one of only three students to graduate. Her perseverance helped African American students become widely accepted for nurse training. After experiencing racial discrimination in the field, Mahoney helped co-find the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, NACGN, in 1908. This improved the statuses of African American nurses nationwide. (3)
So there you have it, just a few nurses whose actions and passions helped mold the field of nursing as we know it. Centura College thanks these incredible ladies and nurses all over the world for the hard work, toiling hours and dedication that goes into helping better the health of others. If you are feeling inspired and can see yourself in a health care field, a great way to start that new journey is looking into the various health programs we offer here at Centura College.
- Biography.com Editors. “Florence Nightingale.”Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, 28 Apr. 2017. Web. 5 May 2017. < http://www.biography.com/people/florence-nightingale-9423539 >
- History.com Staff. “Clara Barton.”History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 5 May 2017. < http://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/clara-barton#>
- “25 Famous Nurses – Past to Present World’s Popular Nurse Professionals | Coffee Time – Pulse Uniform.” Pulse Uniform – Medical Nursing scrubs. N.p., 01 Feb. 2016. Web. 05 May 2017. < http://www.pulseuniform.com/coffee-time/index.php/2016/02/01/25-famous-nurses-past-to-present-wolrds-popular-nurse-professionals/ >