Monday, January 3, 2011

20 Iconic Nurses Every Nursing Student Should Study | Nursing

During your time in nursing school, you're bound to hear the names of countless famous and influential nurses thrown around. But if you're looking for inspiration in your own career or just want to further your education, there are some amazing women and men in the profession you should study. Here are twenty nurses who worked hard, often against the grain of the larger medical community, to change the face of health care in the United States and around the world.

  1. Florence Nightingale: Even if you weren't in nursing school, you more than likely would have heard of this woman, perhaps the most famous nurse in history. Believing that God has called her to be a nurse, Nightingale went against expectations for aristocratic women at the time, pursuing a career rather than marrying and settling down. She is best known in stories for her nursing in the Crimean War, but should also be credited with laying the foundation for modern nursing with the establishment of the St. Thomas Hospital in London, the first secular school of its kind to train and educate nursing students.
  2. Dorthea Dix: Born in 1802, Dix was one of the loudest voices in America when it came to lobbying Congress to improve the treatment and care for the mentally ill in the United States. Inspired by reforms she saw going on in England, Dix moved to establish new facilities and legislation that helped improve the social welfare of the insane both here and abroad. When the Civil War broke out, Dix was appointed Superintendent of Union Army Nurses, providing care to the wounded on both sides of the conflict.
  3. Helen Fairchild: If you want to learn more about the realities of combat nursing during World War I, read through Helen Fairchild's collection of wartime letters to her family. You'll get vivid stories about the horrors and challenges that nurses faced when trying to care for patients who were the victims of sometimes horrific war injuries. After surviving heavy shelling and mustard gas on the battlefield in France, Fairchild would die from complications during an ulcer surgery after only five years as a nurse.

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