The 10 most influential female nurses of all time


Dorothea Dix is best known for creating the first mental health system in the United States. Inspired by a trip to England, Dix returned to America curious how the US government treated the mentally unstable. Dix first succeeded with the construction of the North Carolina State Medical Society in 1849, dedicated to the care of the mentally ill. During the Civil War, Dix served as superintendent of the Union Army Nurses. She was a staunch believer in caring for everyone, and her nurses were some of the only caretakers of Confederate soldiers.

7. Ellen Dougherty


Ellen Dougherty, of New Zealand, was the first Registered Nurse in the world. New Zealand was the first country to initiate the Nurse Registration Act that allowed for legal registration of nurses prior to completion of training. Dougherty trained at the Wellington Hospital and was the matron at Palmerston North Hospital.

8. Mabel Keaton Staupers


Mabel Keaton Staupers was an advocate for racial equality in the field of nursing. Staupers served as the secretary of the National Associated of Graduate Colored Nurses. She advocated for the introduction of African American nurses into the Army and Navy during WWII. In 1945, she won the fight and all nurses, regardless of race, were to be included in the military. In 1950, Staupers dissolved the NAGCN as it re-aligned with the American Nursing Association.

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4 Responses to The 10 most influential female nurses of all time

  1. sharon parsons

    what an inspiring website! I have been a nurse for 34 years Now I work as an educator for iCU nurses in Bloomington, Indiana. Nice to see the varied reponses and information posted here.

  2. Matt Polani

    Why top FEMALE nurses???
    Females are MAJORITY in nursing!!
    What about the unsung minority: male nurses???
    We had equal duties, hours, pay; but often are called on to help with or take on overweight, unstable, innapropriate acting patients, or just plain extra physical work: moving furniture/ supplies.

    • Nailil

      Well, you should forward this to Nurse Mendoza, he always advocates for the male species in the nursing field.

  3. Nailil

    Whaooo, these ladies left a legend that we should all honour.