Famous 20th Century Nurses

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 1 
Florence Nightingale
(Social Reformer & Founder of Modern Nursing and Known as 'The Lady with the Lamp')
Florence Nightingale
4
Birthdate: May 12, 1820
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: August 13, 1910
The Lady with the Lamp Florence Nightingale is remembered for her relentless efforts in nursing soldiers during the Crimean War. She founded London’s St Thomas' Hospital to train nurses. She also pioneered the use of the polar area diagram and was the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society.
 2 
Irena Sendler
(Polish Humanitarian & Social Worker)
Irena Sendler
4
Birthdate: February 15, 1910
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: May 12, 2008
Polish social worker and nurse Irena Sendler was part of the Polish Underground Resistance in German-occupied Poland, during World War II. She was arrested for smuggling Jewish children out of Poland but never revealed much about her work. She had received many awards, such as Israel’s Righteous Among the Nations.
 3 
Margaret Sanger
(Birth Control Activist Who Opened the First Birth Control Clinic in the United States)
Margaret Sanger
8
Birthdate: September 14, 1879
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Corning, New York, United States
Died: September 6, 1966

Margaret Sanger was an American writer and sex educator. She is credited with popularizing the term birth control. A birth control activist, Sanger established the first birth control clinic in America. She also set up organizations that later became the well-known non-profit organization Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She also played a key role in legalizing contraception in the US.

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 4 
Naomi Judd
(American Actress and Singer Best Remembered as One-Half of the Country Music Duo 'The Judds')
Naomi Judd
6
Birthdate: January 11, 1946
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ashland

Naomi Judd was an American actress and singer. She is best remembered as one-half of the country music duo, The Judds, which won nine Country Music Association awards and five Grammy Awards between 1980 and 1991. Naomi Judd stopped performing in 1991 due to health reasons. In 2022, she was made an inductee of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

 5 
Clara Barton
(American Nurse Who Founded the American Red Cross)
Clara Barton
6
Birthdate: December 25, 1821
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: North Oxford, Oxford, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 12, 1912

Clara Barton was an American nurse best remembered for founding the American Red Cross. She is renowned for her civil rights advocacy and humanitarian work. She also played an important role in the Civil War, serving as a hospital nurse, a patent clerk, and a teacher. In 1973, Barton was made an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 6 
Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia
(Eldest Child of Emperor Nicholas II, and of Empress Alexandra of Russia)
Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia
4
Birthdate: November 15, 1895
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: July 17, 1918
 7 
Violet Jessop
4
Birthdate: October 2, 1887
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bahía Blanca, Argentina
Died: May 5, 1971
 8 
Jennifer Worth
(British Nurse, Midwife, and Memoirist)
Jennifer Worth
3
Birthdate: September 25, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, England
Died: May 31, 2011

Jennifer Worth was a British memoirist best remembered for her best-selling trilogy: Call the Midwife, Farewell to The East End, and Shadows of the Workhouse. The trilogy, which is about Jennifer Worth's experience as a nurse and midwife in East End of London during the 1950s, inspired the popular TV series, Call the Midwife. 

 9 
Edith Cavell
(British Nurse Who Saved the Lives of Soldiers from Both Sides During the First World War)
Edith Cavell
4
Birthdate: December 4, 1865
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Swardeston, Norfolk, England
Died: October 12, 1915

Edith Cavell was a British nurse best remembered for saving the lives of many soldiers from both camps without discrimination. She helped nearly 200 Allied soldiers escape from Belgium during World War I. Her decision to help both German and Allied soldiers without discrimination landed her in trouble; Edith Cavell was accused of treason and sentenced to death.

 10 
Rachel Robinson
(Widow of Professional Baseball Player Jackie Robinson)
Rachel Robinson
3
Birthdate: July 19, 1922
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Los Angeles

Rachel Robinson is an American retired professor and registered nurse. She is best known as the widow of the popular baseball player, Jackie Robinson. She is credited with founding the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which provides leadership and educational opportunities for minority students. Rachel Robinson has been portrayed in a couple of films.

 11 
Marie of Romania
(Wife of Ferdinand I of Romania and Former Queen Consort of Romania (1914 - 1927))
Marie of Romania
3
Birthdate: October 29, 1875
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Eastwell Park, Kent, England
Died: July 10, 1938

Marie of Romania was a descendant of Queen Victoria and born as the Princess of Edinburgh, before she married King Ferdinand I and became the last queen of Romania. A visual artist and a patron of the Art Nouveau movement, she was also a skilled equestrian and driver.

Anita Cobby
3
Birthdate: November 2, 1959
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sydney
Died: February 2, 1986
 13 
Yetunde Price
(Personal Assistant and Oldest Half-sister of Serena and Venus Williams)
Yetunde Price
4
Birthdate: August 9, 1972
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan, United States
Died: September 14, 2003

Yetunde Price was the personal assistant and oldest half-sister of famous American tennis players, Serena and Venus Williams. She also worked as a nurse before being killed in a shooting on September 14, 2003, near a drug house in Compton, California. It was later confirmed that Yetunde Price was an innocent, ill-fated victim.

 

 14 
Margarete Himmler
3
Birthdate: September 9, 1893
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Goncarzewo near Bromberg, Poland
Died: August 25, 1967
 15 
Sineenat
(Thai nurse)
Sineenat
3
Birthdate: January 26, 1985
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nan, Thailand
 16 
Evelyn Mase
3
Birthdate: May 18, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Transkei
Died: April 30, 2004
 17 
Mimi Smith
(Parental Guardian of English Musician John Lennon)
Mimi Smith
3
Birthdate: April 24, 1903
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Liverpool
Died: December 6, 1991

Mimi Smith was a British nurse best remembered as the parental guardian and maternal aunt of the popular English musician John Lennon. She played an important role in the upbringing of John Lennon. Mimi Smith has been portrayed in several films, including Birth of the Beatles, In His Life: The John Lennon Story, and John and Yoko: A Love Story.

 18 
Sue Johanson
(Public Speaker)
Sue Johanson
3
Birthdate: March 16, 1930
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
 19 
Philomena Lee
3
Birthdate: March 24, 1933
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newcastle West, Ireland

An unwed mother in her late teens, Philomena Lee was forced to hand over her son to Irish nuns, who then sold her off to be adopted by an American Catholic family. Author Martin Sixsmith’s book on Philomena’s journey, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, was later made into an Oscar-nominated film.

 20 
Kristen Gilbert
(American Serial Killer and Former Nurse)
Kristen Gilbert
3
Birthdate: November 13, 1967
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fall River, Massachusetts, United States

Kristen Gilbert is an American serial killer who worked as a nurse. She was convicted of two attempted murders and four murders of patients admitted to the Northampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Massachusetts. Nicknamed The Angel of Death, Kristen Gilbert was found guilty of inducing cardiac arrest in patients at the hospital.

 21 
Nancy Wake
(British Agent who Led the Maquis Groups of the French Resistance - One of the Most Decorated Servicewomen During WW II)
Nancy Wake
0
Birthdate: August 30, 1912
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand
Died: August 7, 2011

Initially a journalist, Nancy Wake earned the nickname The White Mouse for her skilful spying on Germans. Working under the alias Helene for the SOE, the stiletto-wearing socialite earned respect for her 500 km bicycle ride to report a situation to London, while being chased by the Nazis.

 22 
Agnes von Kurowsky
(American Nurse and Ernest Hemingway's Lover)
Agnes von Kurowsky
3
Birthdate: January 5, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: September 25, 1984

Agnes von Kurowsky was an American nurse who served during the First World War in an American National Red Cross hospital in Milan. She is credited with inspiring Ernest Hemingway's character Catherine Barkley in his 1929 novel A Farewell to Arms. Agnes von Kurowsky and Ernest Hemingway's love story was portrayed in the 1996 movie In Love and War.

 23 
Bonnie Nettles
(Co-Founder of the 'Heaven's Gate' New Religious Movement)
Bonnie Nettles
0
Birthdate: August 29, 1927
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States
Died: June 19, 1985

Bonnie Nettles was an American registered nurse best remembered for co-founding the Heaven's Gate new religious movement alongside  Marshall Applewhite. Nettles died of cancer in 1985, 12 years before the religious group's mass suicide in 1997. Bonnie Nettles was one of the two main leaders of the group.

 24 
Cicely Saunders
3
Birthdate: June 22, 1918
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Barnet, Hertfordshire, England
Died: July 14, 2005
A pioneer of the hospice movement, English nurse and social worker Cicely Saunders not only developed the palliative care approach but also established the St. Christopher’s Hospice in London. A supporter of medical ethics, she was against voluntary euthanasia. She won numerous awards, such as the Templeton Prize.
 25 
Niels Högel
3
Birthdate: December 30, 1976
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Wilhelmshaven, Germany
 26 
Suze Randall
(Nurse, Photographer, Model, Director, Glamour model)
Suze Randall
3
Birthdate: May 18, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Worcester

Suze Randall is an English photographer, model, and pornographer. Randall worked as a staff photographer for Hustler and Playboy, becoming the first woman staff photographer for both the publications. In 1980, she directed a pornographic film titled Kiss and Tell, becoming one of the earliest woman porn film directors. Suze Randall has also modeled for magazines like Hustler and Playboy.

 27 
Rena Owen
(Actor, Nurse)
Rena Owen
3
Birthdate: July 22, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bay of Islands
 28 
Derek Longmuir
(Scottish Drummer & Founding Member of the Pop Rock Band 'Bay City Rollers')
Derek Longmuir
5
Birthdate: March 19, 1951
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edinburgh

Derek Longmuir is a Scottish retired drummer. He is best known for co-founding the pop rock band, Bay City Rollers. Longmuir retired from music in the 1980s and started training as a nurse. He then went on to work at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. In 2000, Longmuir pleaded guilty for possessing child pornography and was sentenced to 300 hours' community service.

 29 
Michaela Schaffrath
2
Birthdate: December 6, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Eschweiler, Germany
 30 
Lillian Wald
(American Nurse and the Founder of American Nursing Community)
Lillian Wald
2
Birthdate: March 10, 1867
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Died: September 1, 1940

Lillian Wald was an American nurse, author, and humanitarian. She is credited with establishing the Henry Street Settlement, a not-for-profit social service agency in New York City. After founding the agency, Lillian Wald became an activist and fought for the rights of minorities and women. She also supported racial integration and campaigned for suffrage.  

Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia
2
Birthdate: April 18, 1890
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russian
Died: December 13, 1958
 32 
Constance Kent
(English Woman Who Murdered Her Three-Year-Old Half-Brother)
Constance Kent
3
Birthdate: February 5, 1844
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: idmouth, Devon, England, United Kingdom
Died: April 10, 1944

Constance Kent was an English woman who murdered her half-brother, Francis Saville Kent. She was only 16 years old when she killed her three-year-old half-brother. The murder inspired several works of art, including films and novels.

 33 
Li Shuxian
(Nurse)
Li Shuxian
0
Birthdate: September 4, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: China
Died: June 9, 1997
 34 
Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner
(Austrian Climber and the 1st Woman to Scale All 14 Eight-Thousanders Without Extra Oxygen)
Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner
3
Birthdate: December 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kirchdorf an der Krems

Austrian mountaineer and climber Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner scripted history as the 2nd woman to climb all 14 of the eight-thousanders of the world and the 1st woman to do so without supplemental oxygen. The 2012 National Geographic Explorer of the Year also scaled many peaks with her then-husband, German mountaineer Ralf Dujmovits.

 35 
Hildegard Peplau
(American Nurse and the First Published Nursing Theorist Since Florence Nightingale)
Hildegard Peplau
2
Birthdate: September 1, 1909
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Reading
Died: March 17, 1999

Hildegard Peplau was an American nurse best remembered for creating the middle-range nursing theory, which helped revolutionize the scholarly work in the field of nursing. She was the first nurse to publish her nursing theory since Florence Nightingale. Hildegard Peplau's work paved the way for humane treatment of people with personality and behavior disorders.

 36 
Mayinga N'Seka
(She died from Ebola virus disease during the 1976 epidemic in Zaïre)
Mayinga N'Seka
0
Birthdate: 1954 AD
Birthplace: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Died: October 19, 1976
 37 
Lucia de Berk
2
Birthdate: September 22, 1961
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: The Hague
 38 
Andrée de Jongh
(Resistance fighter)
Andrée de Jongh
2
Birthdate: November 30, 1916
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Schaerbeek, Belgium
Died: October 13, 2007
 39 
Hildegard Lächert
2
Birthdate: January 20, 1920
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: 1995 AD
 40 
Erna Flegel
2
Birthdate: July 11, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kiel, Germany
Died: February 16, 2006
 41 
Bessie Lillian Carter
(Mother of the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter)
Bessie Lillian Carter
3
Birthdate: August 15, 1898
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Richland, Georgia, United States
Died: October 30, 1983

Bessie Lillian Carter was an American nurse best remembered as the mother of Jimmy Carter, who served as the 39th president of the USA. She is also remembered for her immense contributions to nursing in Georgia. Lillian Gordy Carter also served in India as a Peace Corps volunteer.

 42 
Susan Travers
(British Nurse Best Remembered for Her Service in the French Red Cross During World War II)
Susan Travers
2
Birthdate: September 23, 1909
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kensington, London, England
Died: December 18, 2003

Susan Travers was a British ambulance driver and nurse. She is best remembered for her service in the French Red Cross during World War II. She also played an important role during the First Indochina War, serving in French Indochina.

 43 
Masha Bruskina
1
Birthdate: 1924 AD
Birthplace: Minsk, Belarus
Died: October 26, 1941
 44 
Dorothea Orem
(Nursing Theorist and Creator of the 'Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory')
Dorothea Orem
2
Birthdate: July 15, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: June 22, 2007

Dorothea Orem was an American nursing theorist. She is best remembered for creating the self-care deficit nursing theory, which is also called the Orem's Model of Nursing. Developed between 1959 and 2001, the theory is often used in primary care and rehabilitation settings, where the patient is taught to be independent.

 45 
Madeleine Leininger
(Nursing Theorist and Developer of the Concept of Transcultural Nursing)
Madeleine Leininger
2
Birthdate: July 13, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sutton, Nebraska, United States
Died: August 10, 2012

Madeleine Leininger was an American nursing professor and nursing theorist. She is credited with developing the concept of transcultural nursing. Madeleine Leininger's contributions to nursing theory were honored by the American Academy of Nursing with a Living Legend award in 1998.

 46 
Bun Rany
(Nurse)
Bun Rany
2
Birthdate: December 15, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Krouch Chhmar, Cambodia
 47 
Daisy de Melker
(Serial killer, Nurse)
Daisy de Melker
1
Birthdate: June 1, 1886
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Eastern Cape, South Africa
Died: December 30, 1932
Doris Pilkington Garimara
2
Birthdate: July 1, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Balfour Downs Station, Newman, Australia
Died: April 10, 2014
 49 
Mary Breckinridge
(American Nurse Midwife and Founder of the 'Frontier Nursing Service')
Mary Breckinridge
1
Birthdate: February 17, 1881
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Died: May 16, 1965

Mary Breckinridge was an American nurse midwife best remembered for founding the Frontier Nursing Service, which educates nurse-midwives and provides healthcare services to the rural population. In 1995, Mary Breckinridge was made an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 50 
Mamie Johnson
(American Baseball Player and the First Female Pitcher to Take Part in the 'Negro leagues')
Mamie Johnson
0
Birthdate: September 27, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ridgeway, South Carolina, United States
Died: December 18, 2017

Mamie Johnson was an American baseball player and the first female pitcher to take part in the Negro leagues. She was also one of the three women to play in the Negro leagues. Mamie Johnson's life and career have inspired a couple of books, namely A Strong Right Arm and Mamie on the Mound.