Nursing History Timeline

Florence Nightingale
1860 Founded the first organized program for training of nurses., Born in 1820 to a wealthy family, grew up in England, well educated and traveled extensively. Trained as a nurse at 31. The Crimean War gave opportunity for achievement. Challenged prejudices against women, and elevated the status of all nurses. Established training school for nurses, and wrote books on healthcare and nursing education. Elevated the status of nursing to a respected occupation, and improved quality of care. Regarded as founder of modern nursing.

Dorthea Dix
1861 Schoolteacher appointed to organize military hospitals and provide medicals supplies to the Union Army. After the civil war she campaigned for more humane treatment of the mentally ill.

Harriet Tubman
1861-1865..she nursed sick slaves fleeing to the north using the “Underground Railroad”

Clara Barton
Launched the American Red Cross in 1882. An “angel” in the Civil War, she treated the wounded in the field.

Mary Eliza Mahoney
1st African American nurse to graduate from a school of nursing in the United States 1879

Dr. Semelweiss
1847 observed increased puerperal fever when doctors came to deliver after doing post mortems. Required them to clean hands with chlorine

Louis Pasteur
1862 proved bacteria were living organisms. Causative agents for anthrax, tetanux, gonorrhea, TB were described

Joseph Lister
1867 first used disinfectants for wounds

Linda Richards
1873 becomes america’s first trained nurse

American Journal of Nursing
1900 published. The first nursing journal to be owned and operated by nurses

Lillian Wald
1893,she and Mary Brewster opened the Henry Street Settlement, which focused on the health needs of poor people who lived in tenements in New York City, responsible for coining the term public health nurse to reflect focus on service to the whole community to improve both individual and society conditions affecting health, responsible for visiting nurses being covered by insurance

World War I
1914-1918…nursing glorified…conditions very stressful for nurses deployed worked 17-18 hours a day. Ratio 70/5000 wounded solders. This war caused nurses to become more visible and valued

United States Army Nurse Corps
1901 established by an act of congress

Mary Adelaide Nutting
1907 joins the faculty of Teacher’s College, Columbia University, New York…the first nursing professor in the world

United States Navy Nurse Corps
1908 established by an act of congress

Margaret Sanger
1916 opens the first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, the first in the United States

Permissive licensure
1923 all states institute examinations

Mary Brecklaridge
1924 established Frontier Nursing service in Kentucky. Studied midwifery abroad-envisioned care for isolated in the U.S. nurses traveled on mules or horseback to clients in the 1936 12 bed hospital built and 1939 school is founded

The Great Depression
1929 stock market crashes which virtually eliminates private duty nursing due to cost.

New York
mid 1930’s becomes the first state to require mandatory license

Work Progress Administration
1930-1940 created to employ unemployed workers…10,000 unemployed nurses hired to work in public hospitals, clinics and public health including school districts and homes

Social Security Act
1935 offers grants to states for old age assistance, unemploymnet compensation; maternal-child welfard and aid to dependent children; public health monies for federal and state work; monies for public health research

National League for Nursing
Guide for education of nurses. Primary function of nursing schools and nursing serves the whole community not just hospital; reduced the number of clinical hours and increased classroom time and areas of content

Code of ethics
1949 developed by ANA

National Council of State Boards of Nursing
1947 ANA advocating for a standardized examination for licensure

Two National Organizations
1952..Nursing restructured into the ANA and NLN. The league assumes responsibility for accrediting nursing education programs

Hildegard Peplau
1953 published “Interpersonal Relations in Nursing”. AKA “mother of psychiatric nursing”

Virginia Henderson
1953 published “Principles and Practice of Nursing” Considered the 20th century eqiuivalent to “Notes on nursing” by Nightingale.

National Organization for Women
1960 established, called for equal employment opportunity and equal pay for women. Also championed the legalization of abortion and passage of an equal rights amendment to the Constitution.

surgical glove
1891 in Baltimore


1895 led to more precise diagnoses

Mildred Montag
1952 started experimental 2 yr. Associate Degree program at Columbia University

Mobile army surgical hospitals

1981 AIDS described and diagnosed–led to changes in infection control practices, became epidemic by the 80’s in the U.S. and internationally

Image of Nursing in 1930
“Angels of Mercy”

Image of Nursing in 1940

Image of Nursing in 1950

Image of Nursing in 1960
“Nurse Ratchitt”

image of nursing in 1970
“Sexual revolution–nurses sexually promiscuous “Hot Lips Houllihan”

image of nursing in 1980
portrayals of moral dimellma; competence and caring; mixed with humor, scorn or lack of focus on the nurse.

Why should we care about Nursing History? “CNA believes learning from nursing history is critical to advancing the profession in the interests of the Canadian public” (CNA, 2007). How does understanding our history advance the profession and the interests of …

Lillian Wald (1867-1940) Founder of Public Health nursing Offered trained nurses to poor NY slums Founded Henry Street settlement and Visiting nurse service with Mary Brewster; provides nursing and social services and organized educational & cultural activities School nursing established …

American Association of Colleges of Nursing members are baccalaureate and higher degree nursing education programs. The association serves as the national voice for these programs. American Nurses Association a national association for registered nurses in the US. founded 1896 WE …

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American nurses association The national professional association of registered nurses in the united states, founded in 1896. American public health association A national organization founded in 1872 to facilitate interdisciplinary efforts and to promote the health of the public. WE …

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