Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail (1903-1981)

  • One of the first Apsáalooke (Crow) people to achieve a higher education, and the first Crow registered nurse in the United States
  • Worked diligently to modernize the health services offered to her tribe

    Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail

    and fight the forced sterilization of Native American women.

  • For over 30 years (1930-1960) served as a consultant throughout the United States to improve services to Native American populations; her wit and open candore opened many doors and earned her the respect of many political leaders.
  • Passionately dedicated to the health and welfare of children and mothers.
  • Performed worldwide as a dancer in the Crow Indian Ceremonial Dancers troupe, preserving and advocating for Native American culture and values.
  • Founded the first professional association of Native American nurses.
  • Named in 1978 by the American Indian Nurses Association the “Grandmother of American Indian Nurses.”

More information here, here,  here, here, and here

Lavinia Lloyd Dock (1858-1956)

Inspiration for activism! 

  • “Compassionate, and unconventional, soon becoming an ardent pacifist and then a militant suffragist” from AJPH
  • Despite objections from other nurses who believed nurses should not be involved politically, Dock organized and engaged in picketing and

    Lavinia Dock

    protesting on behalf of the vote for women in the United States, organizing protests and campaigns for suffrage; she was arrested at least 3 times for attempting to vote.

  • Devoted to a wide range of issues in addition to women’s suffrage, including better housing for immigrants, safe working conditions, state and national legislation to regulate child labor, pensions and health insurance.
  • Worked tirelessly for better standards and practices for nursing education; she wrote, financed and published Materia Medica for Nurses, a nursing textbook of pharmacology.
  • Served as a visiting nurse with the House on Henry Street in New York City, contributing to standards for public health nursing world-wide.
  • Co-authored, with Adelaide Nutting, “A History of Nursing,” believing that nursing would not be fully accepted until its history had been fully documented. This work has been recognized as “culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.”

More information here and here.

Lavinia Dock papers here.

Diana J. Mason

Inspiration for Activism!

  • Senior Policy Service Professor and Co-Director of a new Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University

    Diana Mason

    School of Nursing.

  • Co-Director of the Center for Health, Media, and Policy at Hunter College, City University of New York.
  • Past president of the American Academy of Nursing.
  • Former editor-in- chief of the American Journal of Nursing.
  • Co-producer and moderator of a weekly radio program on health care issues since 1985.
  • Lead editor of the award-winning book, Policy and Politics in Nursing and Health Care, now in its 7th edition.
  • Her scholarship focuses on health policy and what can be learned from nurse-designed models of care.
  • Co-Founder (with Barbara Glickstein) of HealthCetera, the voice of GW Nursing Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement. “Let’s talk health is our motto and we mean it.”

More information here, here and here.

Also see report of the follow-up Woodhull Study, reported at the National Press Club May 8, 2018, also available 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

Mary Seacole (1805 – 1881)

Inspiration for Activism!

  •  British-Jamaican business woman and nurse who set up the British Hotel behind the lines during the Crimean War
  • inveterate traveller, and before her marriage visited other parts of the

    Mary Seacole

    Caribbean, including Cuba, Haiti and the Bahamas, as well as Central America and Britain. On these trips she complimented her knowledge of traditional medicine with European medical ideas.

  • Funded her own trip to the Crimea where she established the British Hotel near Balaclava to provide ‘a mess-table and comfortable quarters for sick and convalescent officers’. She also visited the battlefield, sometimes under fire, to nurse the wounded, and became known as ‘Mother Seacole’.
  • Her reputation rivaled that of Florence Nightingale.

More information here and here