To Celebrate International Woman’s day today our blog looks at four inspirational Nurses across the ages.
Florence Nightingale, known as the founder of modern nursing, is famous for her work during the Crimean War. She revolutionised nursing care with her focus on hygiene and use of statistics to provide evidence on best practice. She also changed the face of the profession from a mostly untrained workforce, founding the world’s first secular nursing school and paving the way for today’s highly skilled and well-respected profession with its complex responsibilities.
Florence Nightingale became an icon of Victorian culture, known as “The Lady with the Lamp” thanks to her habit of making rounds of wounded soldiers at night.
In recognition of her pioneering work in nursing, the Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses, and the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve, were named in her honour, and the annual International Nurses’ Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday.
Mary Seacole was a Jamaican business woman who travelled to Crimea during the war to set up convalescent quarters for wounded officers, known as the British Hotel, behind the lines.
When the Crimean War broke out, Seacole had applied to the War Office to assist but was refused because of her race. Undeterred she funded herself and despite having no formal nursing training, and with only healing practice learned from her mother and a collection of herbal medicines, she tended to the British soldiers. She also established a facility that provided caregivers, medical attention, food as well as comfortable place for the sick and wounded, all at her own expense.
Born shortly before Nightingale and Seacole made their mark in the Crimean War, Edith Cavell trained as a nurse in London and, after gaining clinical experience left Britain to become matron of a newly established nursing school in Belgium in 1907.
After the Germans occupied Belgium she cared for the wounded regardless of nationality, receiving criticism for treating German and Austrian soldiers. However, she also sheltered wounded British and French soldiers and civilians and helped them escape to Holland, violating German military law. She was arrested in 1915 and sentenced to death for treason. Despite pressure from the still neutral US to pardon her, she was executed by firing squad.
Hazel W. Johnson-Brown
Named as the first African-American Brigadier General of the Army Nurse Corps (ANC) in 1979, Hazel W. Johnson-Brown reached the most honourable rank when she was appointed as the chief of the ANC.
She then commanded 7,000 men and women in the Army National Guard and Army Reserves, and oversaw numerous medical centres, free-standing clinics, and community hospitals in Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Panama and the United States.