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CEUfast Blog - Category: Nurse History



Nurses in the military have been an essential part of our American Armed Forces since the American Revolution. Their dedication in aiding the injured and ill, along with their service to the United States, deserve our respect and appreciation.

From the beginning, where military nurses were “volunteers” that wished to follow and care for their loved ones during battle, to the decorated veterans of today, we owe our thanks and gratitude to their selfless acts of heroism and courage to protect and mend our soldiers.

Posted  October 11, 2017


“Work more and better the coming year than the previous year.”

Such was the motto of Mary Eliza Mahoney. Today, Mahoney isn't a household name like Florence Nightingale, the mother of modern nursing, or Mary Breckinridge, who pioneered the concept of family medical centers and health care in rural areas, — But she deserves the same recognition for her pioneering work in the profession.

Posted  August 30, 2017


Within a month of landing on the beach in Korea in 1950, nurse Margaret (Zane) Fleming and her fellow nurses with the 1st Mobile Army Surgical Hospital were attacked. The group of 13 Army nurses was traveling with the 7th Infantry Division from Incheon to Pusan when enemy forces ambushed them. They ran to a nearby ditch to take cover and watched as gunfire and burning vehicles lit up the sky. At sunrise they ventured out and went to work, treating the wounded. Eight men died, and some of the supply vehicles were lost. None of the nurses were injured.

Because of nurses like Fleming, traveling with troops and working in MASH units, wounded people survived. During World War II, the fatality rate for seriously injured troops was 4.5 percent; during the Korean War, it was reduced to 2.5 percent.

Posted  August 2, 2017
florence nightingale


“Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better.”


These powerful words—spoken by a woman steeped in conviction to help others—were reinforced by the actions of her life. To be so ready to renounce all that had been handed to her—an eligible upbringing promising everything that a Victorian woman could desire—to reduce herself to a profession held as immodest and unsuitable for a lady of her social status required immense tenacity and self-belief. Her determination, sacrifice, and confidence are the reason we have since seen a medical renaissance in nursing practices and militaristic triage efforts. For all of these reasons and more, Florence Nightingale unarguably deserves the title “Mother of Modern Nursing.”

Posted  July 4, 2017


“I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them,” said Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross.

It seems most nurses share this feeling, and although medicine was in no way sophisticated by the time of the American Revolutionary War, men and women did what they could to care for the soldiers under their watch.

Posted  June 13, 2017
Clara Barton Small


Clara Barton was no stranger to the dangers of war: while serving as a nurse during the Civil War, a bullet skimmed her sleeve and killed the soldier she was caring for. “A ball had passed between my body and the right arm which supported him, cutting through the sleeve and passing through his chest from shoulder to shoulder,” she recalled. “There was no more to be done for him and I left him to his rest. I have never mended that hole in my sleeve.”

Posted  May 15, 2017
vietnam war women memorial


In 1956, Majors Francis Smith, Helen Smith, and Jane Baker arrived in Saigon to serve with the United States Military Assistance Advisory Group’s Medical Training Team. Their assignment was to train the local Vietnamese in modern nursing techniques to assist in the escalating civil war. These three were the first American service women to serve in Vietnam.

Posted December 31,2013
(Updated April 12, 2017)
nursing WW1 pic

World War I was a profound event that played an important role in the placement and future advancement of women within the military. It demonstrated not only that women were capable of duties supporting active military troops, but also that their own enlistment in the military was invaluable in multiple capacities.

This is particularly true when looking at nurses and the service and care they provided the US military during WWI; both the Navy and the Army allowed women to become more mobilized than ever before.

Written by Kristal Roberts 
Nurse Mary Breckinridge


March isn’t just the month that kicks off spring, it’s National Women’s History Month! In honor of a month that celebrates women’s contributions to the United States, we’ve decided to shine a light on nurses who have impacted our beloved calling for the better. 

When it comes to historically relevant nurses, many people start by paying homage to nurse icon Florence Nightingale, an English nurse who became famous for bringing sanitation improvements during the Crimean war in the 1850s and developing the Army Medical College and Nightingale School & Home for Nurses.

Written by Kristal Roberts

It’s your week---National Nurses Week, that is!

It kicks off today, May 6, and ends on May 12, the birthday of nursing trailblazer Florence Nightingale.

Written by Julia Tortorice
Nurses and child

Photo by: Seattle Municipal Archives (Flickr)

Being a nurse myself, you might think I'm a little biased in writing this blog post, but there are amazing nurses who have deeply affected the world in which we live. We often think about famous presidents or events which have shaped our history, but there are also famous nurses in history. Some of the world's most famous nursing leaders have shaped health care into what it is today. Without these influential, brave, and strong women, we nurses might not have the vocation that we know and love.

It took famous nursing leaders to put nursing on the map, and many of these famous nurses in history improved nursing practices for nurses and their patients. Whether they demanded better training or equality, changed legislation, or simply taught us how to care, many of these influential women have shaped our industry into the positive and important industry it is today. Let's look at ten of the most influential nurses in history.

January 31, 2014
midwifePhoto Source: Library of Congress

The word midwife comes from Old English, with the prefix "mid" meaning with and "wif" or "wife" meaning woman. The word itself means "with woman" and a midwife is a woman who assists a pregnant woman throughout and during her pregnancy. 

The word also signifies bringing something forth, such as the new baby. Attempts to license or regulate midwifery in the U.S. began as early as Colonial America, though the role of the midwife dates back to antiquity. Midwifery was a common practice in ancient Greece, China, and Rome as well. Modern midwives are trained professionals who have undergone certification and licensing through an established or approved curriculum.


WWII_NursePhoto by: US Navy


World War II changed the world in many different ways. One of these way involved the medical field, or specifically, nursing. Nursing is a key element of healthcare and during times of war it can be the difference between life and death for a wounded soldier. 

During World War II, this important fact became more obvious than at any other time in the history of war. Not only did the number of female nurses increase significantly during the war, but the roles that nurses played became more critical. In 1941, the Army Nursing Corps had a severe shortage of nurses with fewer than seven thousand nurses, leading to the need for nurses to volunteer to serve. In order to join the Nursing Corps, a woman had to meet certain criteria. Naturally, she had to be a citizen of the United States and she had to be a registered nurse.

linda_richardsPhoto By: Unknown

Linda Richards pioneered the way for individuals interested in the field of nursing. Despite being christened Malinda Ann Judson Sinclair Richards after a missionary, she found her niche with taking care of others and transforming nursing into a career. 

In a time when nurses were often considered just one step above a common house maid, Richards took learning to a new level and opened up doors that still exist today for those ready, willing, and able to aid others in the medical industry. From the time she was young, she saw firsthand what different health issues could do to the body. Within less than a decade, she had lost both her parents to tuberculosis. After taking care of her mother, at the age of 13 she began to accompany Dr. Currier, a local family physician, to house calls. While this training was informal, she could easily set up a splint and clean up wounds. It was here that she began to take an interest in medicine.

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