Anita Perry

Texas First Lady Anita Thigpen Perry spent 17 years working as a nurse. In 2008, Texas Tech University renamed its nursing school the Anita Thigpen Perry School of Nursing. Anita Thigpen was born in Haskell, Texas on May 5, 1952. Her father, Joseph Eltidge Thigpen, was a family physician and Anita sometimes accompanied him on [...]

A Notable Nurse: Alberta Hunter

Alberta Hunter at her nursing school graduation ceremony

Alberta Hunter at her nursing school graduation ceremony

Alberta Hunter, one of the most influential jazz and blues singers of the 20th century, worked as a nurse for over 20 years. She entered the nursing field after a 45-year music and theatre career that took her from Memphis to Chicago, New York, London and Paris. She had to lie about her age to get into nursing school and was forced to retire from Goldwater Memorial Hospital when she was 82 although the hospital thought she was 70. Undaunted, she then began a second musical career that lasted until her death in 1984.
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Notable Nurse Margie Oppenheimer

Holocaust survivor and nurse Margie Oppenheimer was born on May 9, 1924, in Oelde, Germany.   On November 9, 1938, she and her family were attacked in a pogrom known as “Kristallnacht” (Night of the Broken Glass) and in December 1941 deported to the Jewish ghetto in Riga, Latvia. Over the next several years, Oppenheimer [...]

Notable Nurse Nellie Wade

Nellie Ann Beatty Wade, who turned 90 years old last month, is the oldest practicing nurse in Florida. Wade, who was first licensed as a registered nurse in Florida in October 1952, was born in Washington, Pennsylvania on September 21, 1923 to John Edward and Nellie Agnes Beatty. She came from a large family and [...]

Mary Breckinridge

Widely recognized as the founder of the Frontier Nursing Service, Mary Breckinridge was born on February 17, 1881 in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1906, she attended nursing classes at New York City’s Saint Luke’s Hospital. She received her degree in nursing in 1910. In the 1920s, she joined the American Committee for Devastated France. She realized [...]

Linda Richards

Widely recognized as America’s first professionally trained nurse, Linda Richards was born on July 27, 1841 in West Potsdam, New York.   Caring for her dying mother, and then her fiancé, who was gravely wounded during the Civil War, sparked an interest in nursing, even though she had studied teaching for a year. She first worked [...]

Florence Nightingale

Widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of nursing and in adding much-needed respectability to the profession, Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820 in Florence, which at the time was a part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. At a time in history when women of wealth were not expected to worry [...]

Florence Guinness Blake

Widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of pediatric nursing and in the development of advanced nursing education programs, Florence Guinness Blake was born on November  30, 1907 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.   In 1928, she graduated from the Michael Reese Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago, Illinois.  The nursing faculty quickly discovered her talent [...]

Edith Shain

Edith Shain was born in Tarrytown, New York on July 29, 1918. She later attended the New York University nursing program and worked as a psychiatric nurse at Doctor’s Hospital in New York City. Upon learning that World War II had ended, on August 14, 1945, she went to Times Square with a friend to [...]

Walt Whitman

Although better known as an influential American poet, essayist and journalist, Walt Whitman also worked as a nurse during the Civil War.               More information Traveling with the Wounded: Walt Whitman and Washington’s Civil War Hospitals Meeting the mother man: rediscovering Walt Whitman, writer and nurse. The Wound Dresser by [...]