Famous 20th Century Nurses

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 20th Century Nurses

 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
(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 
Clara Barton
(Nurse, Founded of the American Red Cross)

Clara Barton
6
Birthdate: December 25, 1821
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oxford, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 12, 1912

 5 
Naomi Judd
(Nurse, Motivational speaker, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Singer)

Naomi Judd
6
Birthdate: January 11, 1946
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ashland

 6 
Claudette Colvin
(Civil Rights Activist)

Claudette Colvin
4
Birthdate: September 5, 1939
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama, United States

 7 
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
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 8 

Edith Cavell
4
Birthdate: December 4, 1865
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Swardeston, Norfolk, England
Died: October 12, 1915

 9 

Violet Jessop
4
Birthdate: October 2, 1887
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bahía Blanca, Argentina
Died: May 5, 1971

 10 

Jennifer Worth
3
Birthdate: September 25, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, England, UK
Died: May 31, 2011

 11 
Rachel Robinson
(Nurse, Baseball player)

Rachel Robinson
3
Birthdate: July 19, 1922
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Los Angeles

Yetunde Price
4
Birthdate: August 9, 1972
Sun Sign: Leo
Died: September 14, 2003

 13 

Marie of Romania
3
Birthdate: October 29, 1875
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Eastwell Park, Kent, England
Died: July 10, 1938

Anita Cobby
3
Birthdate: November 2, 1959
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sydney
Died: February 2, 1986

 15 

Margarete Himmler
3
Birthdate: September 9, 1893
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Goncarzewo near Bromberg, Poland
Died: August 25, 1967

 16 

Evelyn Mase
3
Birthdate: May 18, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Transkei
Died: April 30, 2004

 17 
Sineenat
(Thai nurse)

Sineenat
3
Birthdate: January 26, 1985
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nan, Thailand

 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 
Mimi Smith
(Nurse, Housewife, Secretary)

Mimi Smith
3
Birthdate: April 24, 1903
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Liverpool
Died: December 6, 1991

 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 
Rena Owen
(Actor, Nurse)

Rena Owen
3
Birthdate: July 22, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bay of Islands

 23 
Agnes von Kurowsky
(Former nurse who inspired the character "Catherine Barkley" in Ernest Hemingway's 1929 novel A Farewell to Arms.)

Agnes von Kurowsky
3
Birthdate: January 5, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: September 25, 1984

 24 
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

 25 
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.

 26 

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.

 27 
Nella Larsen
(Author)

Nella Larsen
2
Birthdate: April 13, 1891
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Died: March 30, 1964

 28 

Bonnie Nettles
0
Birthdate: August 29, 1927
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States
Died: June 19, 1985

 29 

Derek Longmuir
5
Birthdate: March 19, 1951
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edinburgh

 30 

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner
3
Birthdate: December 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kirchdorf an der Krems

 31 
Lillian Wald
(Nurse, Humanitarian)

Lillian Wald
2
Birthdate: March 10, 1867
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Died: September 1, 1940

 32 
Li Shuxian
(Nurse)

Li Shuxian
0
Birthdate: September 4, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: China
Died: June 9, 1997

 33 

Michaela Schaffrath
2
Birthdate: December 6, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Eschweiler, Germany

Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia
2
Birthdate: April 18, 1890
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russian
Died: December 13, 1958

 35 
Charles Cullen
(Serial Killer)

Charles Cullen
2
Birthdate: February 22, 1960
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: West Orange, New Jersey, United States

 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 

Mary Kingsley
2
Birthdate: October 13, 1862
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Islington, London, England
Died: June 3, 1900

English ethnographer and traveler Mary Kingsley was the daughter of renowned physician and traveler George Kingsley and the niece of Charles Kingsley. Unlike girls of her era, she was well-educated and later ventured on an exploratory trip to West Africa, becoming the first European to enter remote areas such as Gabon.

 38 

Hildegard Peplau
2
Birthdate: September 1, 1909
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Reading
Died: March 17, 1999

 39 

Lucia de Berk
2
Birthdate: September 22, 1961
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: The Hague

 40 
Andrée de Jongh
(Resistance fighter)

Andrée de Jongh
2
Birthdate: November 30, 1916
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Schaerbeek, Belgium
Died: October 13, 2007

 41 

Erna Flegel
2
Birthdate: July 11, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kiel, Germany
Died: February 16, 2006

 42 
Bun Rany
(Nurse)

Bun Rany
2
Birthdate: December 15, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Krouch Chhmar, Cambodia

 43 

Dorothea Orem
2
Birthdate: July 15, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: June 22, 2007

 44 

Susan Travers
2
Birthdate: September 23, 1909
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 18, 2003

 45 

Masha Bruskina
1
Birthdate: 1924 AD
Birthplace: Minsk, Belarus
Died: October 26, 1941

 46 
Madeleine Leininger
(Former CEO of the American Nurses Association)

Madeleine Leininger
2
Birthdate: July 13, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sutton, Nebraska, United States
Died: August 10, 2012

 47 
Naomi Mitchison
(Novelist)

Naomi Mitchison
2
Birthdate: November 1, 1897
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: January 11, 1999

Known for authoring books such as Memoirs of a Spacewoman and The Conquered, Naomi Mitchison was also a driven socialist. She served as an advisor to Botswana’s Bakgatla tribe and had also been a farmer. Honored with numerous awards and honorary doctorates, she lived till age 101.

 48 
Kristen Gilbert
(Serial killer and former nurse who was convicted of four murders)

Kristen Gilbert
3
Birthdate: November 13, 1967
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fall River, Massachusetts, United States

 49 
Mamie Johnson
(Baseball player, Nurse)

Mamie Johnson
0
Birthdate: September 27, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ridgeway, South Carolina, United States
Died: December 18, 2017

Doris Pilkington Garimara
2
Birthdate: July 1, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Balfour Downs Station, Newman, Australia
Died: April 10, 2014