Beliefnet is a lifestyle website providing feature editorial content around the topics of inspiration, spirituality, health, wellness, love and family, news and entertainment. You know you are a nurse when you find yourself complimenting a … Mary Eliza Mahoney became the first African American nurse in 1879 (b. When you see the symbol of the Red Cross, remember Clara Barton’s contribution to a changed and better world. These were ideas that Nightingale put into practice, herself, during her time as a nurse in the Crimean War, which the death rate at her hospital by a third. Mary Mahoney, however,  insisted on taking her meals separately in order to distance nursing from the household staff. Her theory placed emphasis on helping patients become individuals again rather than completely relying on others for care—this helps increase the chance of patients caring for themselves once they leave care. Mary Mahoney Lecture Series, Indiana University Northwest Honoring Mary Eliza Mahoney, America’s first professionally trained African-American nurse. Anna Caroline Maxwell changed the world by helping to integrate quality nursing into the American military, improving the working conditions and training of the nurses who would later take her place. For a year, she closely studied birth control, even traveling to Europe to study family planning. Her contributions changed the world through their far-reaching effects on the international nursing community. In 1936 the NACGN created the Mary Mahoney Award in her honor. Later, she found her calling as a nurse with the First Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers, later renamed the 33d Regiment U.S. 1845 d. 1926). Anna Caroline Maxwell was one of America’s great nurse leaders, whose activities were important to the growth of nursing as a profession in the United States. During the Spanish-American War, Maxwell was sent to a field hospital in Chicmauga, Georgia, where she led a large number of nurses in improving sanitation, containing disease, and lowering the death rate—the military was so impressed with her contributions, that the United States Army Nurse Corps was established. It became an organization to encourage, support, and promote African-American nurses. The organization proved reluctant to accept black members, and so Mahoney later form the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, speaking at their first convention in 1909 and addressing issues of racial inequality in the nursing field. After the war, she successfully campaigned for nurses to be given rank within the military. If you’ve ever had a nurse who you felt was particularly instrumental in helping you regain your individuality and strength, you have Henderson’s world-changing writing to thank. No list of famous nurses would be complete without Florence Nightingale. For 15 years, Mary Mahoney worked at the hospital. Mary Mahoney’s Early life and path to Nursing. When Mary Mahoney was 10, Massachusetts passed a law desegregating schools. Nurses change the world every day, yet seldom do they come into the spotlight for their actions. You’ve got Nurse Margaret Sanger to thank for that. She was also a founding member of the American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools for Nurses, which was a forerunner of the National Nurses Association. In her speech she addressed the inequalities African-American nurses faced in nursing education. Your email address will not be published. She was successful in all three of these endeavors, starting her own magazine, Woman Rebel, reversing the Comstock Law, which made the mailing of birth control information illegal, and establishing the organization that is, today, known as Planned Parenthood . Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization was first founded in 1949 by Anne Foy Baker and twelve other Seattle nurses. Virginia Henderson earned the title “Foremost nurse of the 20th century,” and for good reason. When she and her family escaped across Union lines and were liberated, army officers took note of her education, and she became the first black teacher for freed African Americans in a freely operating school. In addition to her dedication to the nursing profession, she is known for promoting equality for African-Americans and for women. Born into slavery in 1848, Taylor’s family were servants at the Grest Plantation in Liberty County, Georgia. In 1879, Mahoney received her diploma from the New England Hospital Nursing School, becoming one of only four out of a class of 42 students to graduate from the rigorous program. Mary Eliz Mahoney was the first professionally trained African-American Nurse in the United States. During World War I, Maxwell worked to prepare nurses for military service, traveling around Europe to visit hospitals in the warzones. This led her, along with co-founders Adah Belle Samuels Thoms and Martha Minerva Franklin, to create the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN). Mary Eliza Mahoney was one of only four students to complete the rigorous graduate nursing program at the New England Hospital for Women and Children, making her the first Black licensed nurse. In 1986, Miller organized a fundraiser to put a memorial on Mary Mahoney’s graveside. She was inducted into the American Nurses Association Hall of fame in 1976 and the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993. This hospital was dedicated to providing healthcare for women and children. She acted in a variety of support positions, including cook, washerwoman, janitor, and as a nurse’s aide. Mary Eliza Mahoney. This was a well overdue recognition of her contributions to nursing. There were 695 existing baccalaureate of nursing programs in the U.S. in 2002, comprising 31% of all registered nurses. It consisted of 16 hour days spent in a combination of hands on experience with patients and attending lectures. As the first African-American registered nurse, Mary Eliza Mahoney changed the world through her efforts to raise the status of nurses of color in the professional workplace. The ANA also included her as one of the first nurses to be inducted into the Nursing Hall of Fame when it was established in 1976. So the next time you’re being expertly patched up by a well-trained nurse, think of Florence Nightingale.