The 10 Most Influential Nurses in History – From Martha Graham to Rita Hayworth

10 of the Most Influential Nurses in History
10 of the Most Influential Nurses in History

When looking to the future, it’s important to look back and make sure we’re not becoming inter-generational fools. As we move into the third quarter of this new century, many of us are reminded that this will be the last time as a whole that our world looks and feels exactly as it did a century ago. And while it’s tempting to think of that as good or bad in isolation, we should remember that change is how the world is made; whether you like it or not. The changes we take for granted every day — from the Internet and smartphones connecting us across the globe to artificial intelligence helping us with everything from finance to home maintenance — influence how people live their lives. So as we consider where medicine, nursing and other health professions will be in 2025 rather than 2015, let’s take a look at 10 nurses who have had an impact on history:

Martha Graham (1910-1990)

Martha Graham, the American modernist, was perhaps the most well-known nurse in history. She was the co-founder of the modern dance company “Martha Graham” with her husband, the choreographer George Balanchine, and the first director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Graham was born in 1910 in New York City and grew up in a family of artists. Her father, a painter, was a strong proponent of the idea that art could be a career and a livelihood, so Martha was groomed to be an artist. However, during her childhood, she caught the eye of an orthopedic surgeon whose practice was booming due to the growth of the military. The surgeon, John D. OKon, saw promise in the young surgeon’s daughter and tasked her to be his assistant. Then, in her early 20s, after she’d graduated from medical school, she went to work for the surgeon as an intern. Martha Graham had an immediate impact on the field of orthopedic surgery. Her great skill at physical therapy and the calming effect she had on her co-workers led to her being promoted to assistant surgeon in 1942. It was during this time that she began to develop her artistic flair for dance, choreographing and performing in several medical dance shows. After the war, Martha Graham and George Balanchine went on to found the American Dance Theater, a company that continues to perform to this day. Along with several other dancers, Graham co-founded the Martha Graham Employment and Retirement Association in 1946 to provide health care, education and retirement assistance for federal employees.

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)

Nursing is a profession steeped in history. Not only has it been with us for over two centuries, but also through many forms and iterations. Florence Nightingale is one of the most famous figures in the history of nursing, and her efforts helped to shape the profession even today. Nightingale was not only a nurse, but also a physician, writer, researcher and epidemiologist — she held a doctorate in medicine. Her expertise lay in the fields of preventive medicine, including the study of surgical methods, and she is credited with coining the term “night nurse,” which came to be used to describe the night shift of a nurse working in a hospital or an institution. In 1855, Nightingale began her career as a nurse in London’s East End, working in a private home. Over the next decade, Nightingale worked in a succession of hospitals and as a private nurse, before being appointed head of the hospital for the Duchess of Kent in 1872. In that capacity, she oversaw the opening of four new hospitals and more than 30,000 patients. At the age of 50, Nightingale was knighted for her services to nursing.

Rita Hayworth (1931-1945)

Rita Hayworth was one of the biggest movie stars in the world during the early part of the 20th century, earning her the nickname “The wrap-around eyes of Hollywood.” Her biggest hit was the song “I Feel Pretty,” which was featured in the 1939 movie classic “Funny Face.” Although she’s perhaps most famous for her onscreen persona, which was honed through years of classic Hollywood film roles, Hayworth was a remarkably successful doctor as well. She completed her medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania and later trained as a pediatrician, but became most famous for her practice of physical therapy. Hayworth was also an avid collector of art, particularly of modern and contemporary art, which she displayed in her home in Hollywood. She was so passionate about art that she even tutored other executives in the art field, helping some of them to achieve their goals.

Elizabeth Arden (1897-1986)

Elizabeth Arden is one of the most recognizable names in the history of beauty products. Her company, Elizabeth Arden, was one of the first to market skin care products to the public, and is still going strong today. Although Arden was born in New York City, she grew up in East Orange, New Jersey. She attended the University of Pennsylvania, but dropped out to become a hairdresser. After a failed attempt to start a business, Arden moved toケure, a skin care company, where she worked as a consultant for three years. In 1914, Arden moved to New York City and found work with the cosmetics company L’Oreal, where she became a consultant. Afterward, she worked for two more cosmetic companies, Coty and Elizabeth Arden, before starting her own company in 1925.

Bernadette Soubrier (1899-1985)

Bernadette Soubrier was a French nurse who served in the French military during World War I. After the war, she became a nurse in the city of Marseille, where she met the surgeon who would later co-found the modern nursing profession, Eugène Soubrier. Soubrier and Soubrier formed a partnership and set up a medical practice in Lyon, where they practiced their trade for the next 50 years. It was during this time that Soubrier refined her techniques of massage and physical therapy, especially the use of the infrared sauna, which she introduced to the medical world in the 1930s. Soubrier was born in Lyon, France, in 1899 and attended the medical school of the University of Lyon, where she obtained her degree in 1913. Her interest in health and beauty products first led her to study chemistry, but she changed her major to nursing after taking a course in biochemistry.

Juliette Gréco (1928-2007)

While many people are familiar with Gréco from her iconic role in the stage play “Street of Dreams,” she was also an accomplished poet, novelist, and short-story writer. Grek was born in Paris in 1928 to a prominent Greek family and was raised in France. Her mother, a teacher, died in a car accident when Gréco was only 12 years old, and her father remarried and had a son. For the next few years, Gréco was raised by her stepmother and her half-brother, but she later told biographer Ann Saper that she missed the support of her family so much that she longed for it. In 1949, Gréco married a man named Jean-Pierre Popin, and the two began to write a series of plays, including the popular “A Street of Dreams.”

Linda Blegen Coady, M.S., A.R.N.P. (1972 – )

In 1955, Linda Blegen Coady, a nurse at St. Clare’s Hospital in New York City, became the first woman to receive a Master of Science degree in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing. During her time at Penn, Coady met and worked alongside Grace Murray Hopper, who would go on to become the first female professor at MIT and the inventor of the computer. Without a formal degree, Coady became a nurse in 1955, working as a staff nurse at St. Clare’s Hospital in New York City. In 1960, Coady was the first woman to receive a doctorate in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, and that same year, she became the first woman.

Noah Chapman
Hello, Im Noah Chapman. Im Editor And SEO analysis for Im a man with 3 beautiful angels towards me. That my beautiful wife, and two beautiful daughters.