Mary Agnes Snively (1847-1933)

Inspiration for Activism!

  • Canadian nursing/nursing education pioneer,  credited with beginning professional nursing in Canada.
  • “Trained” at Bellevue Training Hospital in NYC, 1882-84, after spending almost 20 years as a public school teacher.
  • Upon graduation from Bellevue, hired in 1884 as lady superintendent by Toronto General Hospital, where a “Training School for Nurses” had been established 3 years earlier.
  • Immediately instituted reforms both in the unacceptable living conditions of nurses and in their curriculum:
    • Focused on knowledge required to care for patients while removing “housekeeping” kinds of tasks from their workloads;
    • Implemented an examination at the end of the initial 2-year program, which she extended to a 3-year program by 1897;
    • Convinced hospital officials to build a proper nursing residence with libraries.
  • In 1897, named president of the Society of Superintendents of Training Schools in Canada and the U.S.
  • Believed nurses needed to be organized and consolidated, advocating for fixed curriculum, uniform examinations, and a registration process.
  • In 1899, became founding member of the International Council of Nurses ICN) and served as its first treasurer.
  • In 1908, brought together nurses and nursing alumnae to form Canadian National Association of Trained Nurses (CNATN – to become Canadian Nurses Association in 1924) and became its first president.
  • Immediately forged ties with ICN so that CNATN officially became part of ICN in 1909.

More information here

Clara Barton (1821-1912)

Inspiration for Activism!

  • Became a teacher at age 15 and later opened a free public school in New Jersey
  • During Civil War,  risked her life to deliver supplies to soldiers, saw combat, and served as independent nurse; known as Angel of the Battlefield
  • While visiting Europe worked with International Red Cross
  • On arrival home, founded in 1881 at age 60, and served as the first President of the American Red Cross for next 23 years

More information here and here

Lillian Wald (1867-1940)

Inspiration for Activism!

  • Advocate for public health, children’s and women’s health and rights, and peace.
  • Began a visiting nurses’ service in 1883 and opened Henry Street Settlement to provide further assistance to poor people in 1885 and simultaneously lobbied to change socio-economic conditions that contributed to poor health.
  • Founded public health nursing, including school nursing and rural health programs.
  • Established Women’s Trade Union League in 1903 and lobbied for the Children’Bureau, which was established in 1912 to address child labour and welfare.
  • In 1914, led a march of 1000 women to protest World War I.
  • Published the book “The House on Henry Street” in 1915 – still available here.

More information here and here and here.

See information about the new 2018 book LILLIAN WALD : America’s Great Social and Healthcare Reformer by Paul M. Kaplan!

Ethel Johns (1879-1968)

  • Canadian nurse advocate for nursing education and gender and racial equality.
  • In 1919, established first Canadian baccalaureate program at University of

    Ethel Johns

    British Columbia.

  • Provided consultation in the U.S. and Europe, establishing Schools of Nursing in both countries.
  • Hired by the Rockefeller Foundation to study status of African American women in nursing. Her report advocated for increased educational and employment opportunities for Black women but her recommendations were not acted upon until the 1980s.
  • Report highlighted racial inequality in nursing education and employment, particularly the exploitation of Black nursing students.

More information here.

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)

Inspiration for Activism!

  • Vision of nurses as agents of societal and individual reform.
  • Coupled care with political activism directed at laws and social conditions

    Florence Nightingale

    contributing to ill health.

  • Not only reduced mortality rates in the Crimea but influenced subsequent army reforms related to medical training and sanitation; advised foreign governments on such matters.
  • Credited for inspiring both the founding of the Red Cross and the Geneva Convention.
  • Advocated for workhouse reforms, including the provision of trained nursing care and drafting administrative framework for the Metropolitan Poor Act of 1867, which led eventually to the National Health Services Act of 1946.
  • Laid the foundation for professional nursing by establishing the world’s first secular training school for nurses at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London

More information here.

Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not, available for download at no cost