Timeline of Linda Richards’ Life. America’s First Trained Nurse Linda Richards (1841–1930) was the first professionally trained nurse in the United States. Born Melinda Ann Judson Richards on July 27, 1841, in Potsdam, New York; died on April 16, 1930, in Boston, Massachusetts; youngest daughter of Sanford Richards and Betsy (Sinclair) Richards; graduated from the New England Hospital for Women and Children nursing school, 1873; never married; no children. Linda Richards was its first graduate and thus is known as America’s first professionally trained nurse. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. She was one of the ones who tackled problems head on. Born: July 27, 1841; 1854: Linda cares for her mother until her death from tuberculosis Richards went on to establish her own precedent-setting programs as superintendent of nursing at New York’s Bellevue Hospital and at Massachusetts General Hospital; she also set up the first nursing school in Japan. When nursing first evolved, it was not a respectable profession and was often associated with “women of ill repute.” This didn’t change until the mid-1800s, when respected and high-profile individuals began stepping into caring roles as a community service. Posted June 27th, 2017. After getting midwife training in England (which was unavailable stateside), she returned to the US and founded the Kentucky Committee for Mothers and Babies, which later became the Frontier Nursing Service. She started working as a nurse back when nursing education was virtually non-existent, but then enrolled as the first student in the first U.S. training program at New England Hospital for Women and Children, graduating a year later in 1873. In 2001, Richards was inducted into New York's Women of Distinction program. Her taciturnity may have come from her Puritan New England traditions,” Baer wrote. The recipient of the first diploma awarded by the nation’s first school of nursing, Linda Richards recognized the nation’s need for professionally-trained nurses and dedicated her life’s work toward the creation of training institutions to meet that need, in hospitals, homes and communities. She suffered a severe stroke in 1923 and lived the remainder of her life at the New England Hospital for Women and Children where she had done her first training. After visiting the UK in the mid-19th century, Dix realized that America’s health care system was entirely inadequate for caring for our mentally ill patients. Breckenridge was born in Memphis to a prominent family, enjoying all the spoils of a comfortable life, such as private education in Switzerland and frequent global travel. Major Events in Nursing and Nursing Education Part One 1872 thru the Great Depression 1 Emergence of Nursing Schools: 'Nightingale Model' Training schools 1872 - New England Hospital for Women (Not considered based on the Nightingale model. However, this is a relatively new concept in the United States, a struggle resolved by the work of Dorothea Dix. Linda Richards (1841-1930) Widely recognized as America’s first professionally trained nurse, Linda Richards was born on July 27, 1841 in West Potsdam, New York. Nightingale is credited as the first nurse to formalize the profession by offering training for England’s student nurses. Though these stories come from different eras and have vastly different endings, each of these nurses shared a common goal of improving the lives of as many patients as they could, often one patient at a time. By way of introduction to the matron at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in Scotland, Florence Nightingale described Linda Richards as a Boston lady with a high-spirited manner who set out for a year’s experience abroad. Linda Richards’ innovation saved potentially millions of lives during her career, all because she was handy with a file folder and a spreadsheet. “She did not take an assertive leadership role in her fledgling profession, but chose to dissent in a ‘silent’ manner from positions with which she disagreed, such as the American movement toward nursing registration. Source: nursingschoolhub.com/top-10-nurses-in-history. She also established institutions for the mentally ill because, according to her memoir, it “stands to reason that the mentally sick should be at least as well cared for as the physically sick.”. 9600 SW Barnes Road, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97225, © 2020 Concordia University | Privacy Policy, National Nurses Week: Four Nursing Role Models Who Changed Nursing Forever, Lady of Grace of the Order of St John (LGStJ), Nursing Care of Clients with Mental and Behavioral Health Issues, 1844: Nightingale announces her intention to pursue nursing, despite strong objections from her family, 1850: Observes the care of the sick and ailing at a Lutheran encampment in Germany and feels a calling from God to do the same work, 1853: Becomes superintendent at the Institute for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen in, 1854: Travels to front lines of Crimean War with 38 student nurses, 1855: Within a year, after Nightingale pleads for aid from the British Government through the newspapers, the UK sends a team to improve frontline conditions. Sometimes you’ll find that a small intervention can make a world of difference, as one Appalachian midwife nurse discovered at the turn of the 20th Century. Her work set the stage for the nurses of today. But her parents’ attempt to set Mary up for a similar life fell apart through the interventions of her first husband’s and children’s deaths, the infidelity of her second husband, and a divorce. The dominating medical theory of infection at the time was the “miasma” theory, or the “bad air” theory, where the disease was assumed to be passed by bad smells or stagnant air. Richards realized, after working in a few different hospitals, that the American health care system had a critical Achilles heel: there was no centralized record keeping at any hospital. Perhaps her greatest contribution to medical history is her writings, which Nightingale intentionally wrote in simple English so that her medical knowledge could be available to anyone with basic literacy. Many landmark innovations and inventions in the medical field have been born from the minds of outstanding nurses. … During this time in Europe, she met other nurses who had midwife training and were able to help lower maternal death during childbirth, especially in rural areas. The American Journal of Medicine, in a 1934 article about infant and maternal mortality, highlighted the staggering efficacy of Breckinridge’s program thusly: The lives of mothers and children in a so-called backward country area can be saved by those who know and are willing to lead, is nowhere better demonstrated than by the work of the nurses of the Frontier Nursing Service in the Appalachian Mountains under the inspiring direction of Mrs. Mary Breckinridge.

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