Nurses

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When we talk of famous nurses, Florence Nightingale is undoubtedly the first name that comes to mind. Popularly known as the “The Lady with the Lamp”, she went beyond the call of duty while tending to wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. Another nurse who received praise for her wartime work is Clara Barton who served as a hospital nurse in the American Civil War and was actively involved in humanitarian work. Well known for her role as a birth control activist and sex educator, American nurse Margaret Higgins Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the United States. Nurses throughout history have played a pivotal role in bringing about a difference in not just the lives of individual patients, but in promoting major social changes. When Mary Eliza Mahoney, a black woman, became a professionally qualified nurse in the United States in the late 19th century, she challenged professional discrimination against African Americans. This section provides you information about the life and works of famous nurses from all over the globe.
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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.

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 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 
Mary Seacole
(Heroine of the Crimean War)
Mary Seacole
4
Birthdate: November 23, 1805
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica
Died: May 14, 1881

Mary Seacole was a British-Jamaican nurse, businesswoman, and healer. She played a major role during the Crimean War, providing aid for wounded servicemen and nursing them back to health. In 1991, Seacole was posthumously honored with the Jamaican Order of Merit. In 2004, she was named the greatest black Briton for her contribution during the war.

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 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
 8 
Violet Jessop
4
Birthdate: October 2, 1887
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bahía Blanca, Argentina
Died: May 5, 1971
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 9 
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. 

 10 
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.

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 11 
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.

 12 
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.

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Anita Cobby
3
Birthdate: November 2, 1959
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sydney
Died: February 2, 1986
 14 
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.

 

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 15 
Margarete Himmler
3
Birthdate: September 9, 1893
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Goncarzewo near Bromberg, Poland
Died: August 25, 1967
 16 
Elizabeth Kenny
(Nurse & Health Administrator)
Elizabeth Kenny
3
Birthdate: September 20, 1880
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Warialda, New South Wales
Died: November 30, 1952

Elizabeth Kenny was an Australian bush nurse. A self-trained nurse, Kenny pioneered a new and then-controversial method to treat the victims of poliomyelitis. Her method, which she advocated enthusiastically, became the foundation of physiotherapy. Her life and career inspired the 1946 American biographical film Sister Kenny, in which she was played by Rosalind Russell.

 17 
Sineenat
(Thai nurse)
Sineenat
3
Birthdate: January 26, 1985
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nan, Thailand
 18 
Evelyn Mase
3
Birthdate: May 18, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Transkei
Died: April 30, 2004
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 19 
Elizabeth Fry
(English Prison Reformer Who Played a Major Role in the' Gaol Ac't, Which Necessitated Sex-Segregation of Prisons)
Elizabeth Fry
3
Birthdate: May 21, 1780
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Norwich
Died: October 12, 1845

Elizabeth Fry was an English social reformer, prison reformer, Quaker, and philanthropist. Nicknamed the Angel of Prisons, Fry played a major role in the Gaol Act, which necessitated sex-segregation of prisons. The act also mandated the appointment of female warders for female inmates.

 20 
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.

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 21 
Sue Johanson
(Canadian Public Speaker, Sex Educator, and Registered Nurse)
Sue Johanson
3
Birthdate: March 16, 1930
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
 22 
Ethel Roosevelt Derby
(American Nurse and Youngest Daughter of Theodore Roosevelt)
Ethel Roosevelt Derby
3
Birthdate: August 13, 1891
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Oyster Bay (hamlet), New York
Died: December 10, 1977

Ethel Roosevelt Derby was an American nurse best remembered as the youngest daughter of Theodore Roosevelt. Ethel played an important role in preserving the legacy of her family home and the legacy of her father for future generations. Ethel Roosevelt Derby also played a prominent role during the First World War, serving as a nurse in France.

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 23 
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.

 24 
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.

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 25 
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.

 26 
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.

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 27 
Elizabeth Freeman
(The First Enslaved African American Person to Win a Freedom Suit in Massachusetts)
Elizabeth Freeman
3
Birthdate: 1742 AD
Birthplace: Claverack
Died: December 28, 1829

Elizabeth Freeman was an African American midwife and herbalist. She is best remembered as the first enslaved African American person to win a freedom suit in Massachusetts. After gaining her freedom, Elizabeth Freeman became widely known for her skills as a midwife, nurse, and healer.

 28 
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.

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 29 
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.
 30 
Niels Högel
3
Birthdate: December 30, 1976
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Wilhelmshaven, Germany
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 31 
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.

 32 
Rena Owen
(Actor, Nurse)
Rena Owen
3
Birthdate: July 22, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bay of Islands
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 33 
Mary Eliza Mahoney
(First African-American to Work as a Trained Nurse in the USA)
Mary Eliza Mahoney
2
Birthdate: April 16, 1845
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: January 4, 1926

Mary Eliza Mahoney was an African-American nurse. In 1879, she became the first African American to successfully complete her course from an American school of nursing. She helped eliminate racial discrimination in the nursing profession. Mahoney was made an inductee of the American Nurses Association Hall of Fame and the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1976 and 1993 respectively.

 34 
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.

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 35 
Michaela Schaffrath
2
Birthdate: December 6, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Eschweiler, Germany
 36 
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
 38 
Aurora Quezon
(Former First Lady of the Philippines)
Aurora Quezon
2
Birthdate: February 19, 1888
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Baler
Died: April 28, 1949

Aurora Quezon was a Filipino political figure best remembered for her role as the First Lady of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944. Quezon is also remembered for her humanitarian activities; from 1947 to 1949, she served as the chairperson of the Philippine Red Cross. In the 2018 biographical drama film Quezon's Game, Aurora Quezon was played by Rachel Alejandro.

 39 
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.

 40 
Li Shuxian
(Nurse)
Li Shuxian
0
Birthdate: September 4, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: China
Died: June 9, 1997
 41 
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.

 42 
Mary Kingsley
(British Ethnographer, Scientific Writer and Explorer Known for Her Travels and Writings on West Africa)
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.

 43 
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.

 44 
Sahra Noor
(Somali-American Health Care Executive and Nurse)
Sahra Noor
0
Birthplace: Mogadishu, Somalia

Sahra Noor is a Somali-American health care executive and nurse. She is best known for her service as the CEO at the People's Center Health Services which is located in Minneapolis. Sahra Noor is also known as the sister of the popular politician, Ilhan Omar.

 45 
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
 46 
Lucia de Berk
2
Birthdate: September 22, 1961
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: The Hague
 47 
Camillus de Lellis
2
Birthdate: May 25, 1550
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Province of Chieti, Italy
Died: July 14, 1614
 48 
Andrée de Jongh
(Resistance fighter)
Andrée de Jongh
2
Birthdate: November 30, 1916
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Schaerbeek, Belgium
Died: October 13, 2007
 49 
Hildegard Lächert
2
Birthdate: January 20, 1920
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: 1995 AD
 50 
Erna Flegel
2
Birthdate: July 11, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kiel, Germany
Died: February 16, 2006