Lydia Hall (1906 – 1969)


Inspiration for Activism!

  • Established and directed the Loeb Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation at Montefiore Hospital in Bronx, New York, from 1963 to 1969.
  • Her “Core, Cure, Care” nursing theory identifies the nurse-to-patient relationship as central to healing for those who are chronically ill (see more detail here).
  • Consistent with her philosophy that nurses were key to healing for people with chronic illness, Loeb was run by nurses, had an all RN staff; medicine served only as an ancillary service.
  • Her nursing-centered care model reduced rehabilitation time and length of stay by up to one-half to one-third.

More information here and here and here.

Linda Richards (1841 – 1930)


Inspiration for Activism!

  • First student to enroll in the first nurse training school at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in 1872; graduated in 1873 (6 years before Mary E. Mahoney).
  • As night superintendent in the Bellevue Hospital Training School in New York, she created the first system for charting and maintaining medical records – a model that was widely adopted in the United States and England.
  • Eager to expand her nursing knowledge, she went to England to study at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, where she met Florence Nightingale.
  • First president of the American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools in 1894.
  • Established the first nurse training program in Japan in 1885 and supervised the school at the Doshisha Hospital in Kyoto for five years.
  • Her commitment to the education (not the training) of nurses became the foundation for the development of modern nursing education.

Linda Richards’ writings:

More information here and here and here.

Mary Eliza Mahoney (1845 – 1926)


Inspiration for Activism!

  • After working for 15 years at the New England Hospital for Women and Children as a janitor, cook and washer woman, was admitted to the hospital’s training program for professional nurses, becoming the first African-American licensed nurse in 1879.
  • Worked as a private nurse until 1911.
  • Joined the Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada (NAAUSC), which later became known as the American Nurses Association (ANA) in 1896.
  • Because of ongoing discrimination against African-American nurses, she co-founded the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN) in 1908 to advocate for the rights of African-American nurses.
  • After the 19th Amendment was ratified in August 1920, Mahoney was among the first women who registered to vote in Boston.

More information here and here and here and here and here.

Vernice Doris Ferguson (1928 – 2012)


Inspiration for Activism!

  • At a time when few black women attended college, she graduated from New York University with a nursing degree in 1950 and was awarded the Lavinia L. Dock prize for high scholastic standing.
  • Fought for greater opportunities, higher wages and more respect for nurses as chief nursing officer for the Veterans Administration from 1980 – 1992.
  • Pushed for nurses to be freed from such activities as making beds d answering phones, so that they could focus on patient care.
  • Fought to obtain for nurses the same access to scholarship money and training as physicians in the VA.
  • Promoted nursing research and organized a network of nurse researchers at the VA.
  • During her tenure at the V.A., the number of nurses with a baccalaureate degree more than doubled, and nurses salaries almost tripled – an achievement that had a ripple effect nationwide.
  • Served as president of the American Academy of Nursing from 1981 to 1983.
  • Served as president of Sigma Theta Tau from 1985 to 1987.

More information here and here and here and here.

M. Elizabeth Carnegie (1916 – 2008)


Inspiration for Activism!

  •  Tireless commitment to the advancement of the nursing profession and the advancement of Black and other minority nurses.

    CREDIT: Howard University photo CAPTION: Dr. M. Elizabeth Carnegie.

  • First Black nurse to serve on a board of a state nursing association (Florida State Nurses Association).
  • Founded the four-year nursing program at Hampton University in 1943, and then from 1945 to 1953, she was dean of Florida A&M University’s School of Nursing (both historically Black Universities).
  • Took personal stands against discrimination early in her career — refused to ride in the freight elevator at Florida State Nursing meetings; insisted on being addressed by her title (as were all White nurses) at a time when Black nurses were only addressed as “Nurse” (not as “Miss Carnegie” or any other title).
  • Longtime member of the American Association for the History of Nursing; unfailingly alerted members to the contributions of African American nurses on any topic under discussion.
  • Author of three editions of “The Path We Tread: Blacks in Nursing Worldwide, 1854-1994.”
  • On the Editorial Staff of the American Journal of Nursing from 1953-1978.
  • Editor of Nursing Research from 1973-1978.
  • During the 30 years after her retirement in 1978, she remained active as a consultant, author, visiting professor and advocate for African American and other minority nurses.

More information here and here and here