In all actuality, the nursing profession has been around since the beginning of time. It is thought that the first inception of the nursing field was during 300 A.D. during the Roman Empire. The “nurses” at this time would go to their patient’s homes and treat them there. There was no formal doctor’s office or meeting place for this profession.

Fast forward to the Middle Ages, this is when medical advancements started to take place. Most of the nurses were nuns and monks. There were a number of different hospitals at this time, and because of nurses’ roles during this time, the hospital systems we now know began to take shape.

Without these advancements in the healthcare field, there might have never been the field of nursing in the medical world! However, these influential nurses paved the way for the field we know today and organization that are known globally.

1. A nurse that is globally known as one of the most important nurses in history is Florence Nightingale. In the 1900s, nurses were more important than ever before. This is because of the Civil and Crimean Wars. At the time, death to lack of hygiene (what we know now as Hospital Acquired Infections) was killing more soldiers than the wounds. Nightingale asked for support from the British Government to keep the areas sanitized. She was known as an advocate for sanitary conditions in hospitals and on the battlefields for her patients.

2. An important male nurse that led the way for males in the nursing profession was Edward T. Lyon. He became the first male nurse in the Army Nurse Corps in the US. He helped for other males to be recognized in the profession and to hold higher positions and standards.

3. One of the first registered African American nurses in the United States was Mary Eliza Mahoney. She worked in a variety of different positions at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Roxbury. At 33 years old, she decided to start her nursing career. Mahoney was one of the founding members of the Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada; which we all know now as the American Nurses Association (ANA).

4. The first African American nurse ever was Susie King Taylor! She was born into slavery in 1848. She attended a secret and illegal school where Taylor learned to read and write. At first, she was a teacher for freed African American children in the North, and then, was asked to be a nurse with the First Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers. This is known today as the 33rd Regiment U.S. Colored Troops. Taylor showed the rest of the world at this time and still to this day that freed slaves could achieve so much more in life!

These nurses and so many others throughout history have changed the medical field for the better. It’s with their intelligence, voices for patient advocating, ambition, and more that the nursing field is the way it is today! Furthermore, because of these advances in the field, it also led the way to advances in science, technology, and medicine.

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