10 Most Famous Nurses in History


Lillian Wald

Nurse Lillian Wald taught a class about at-home nursing and good hygiene to immigrant women on Manhattan's Lower East Side in the 1890s. After witnessing first-hand the unsanitary conditions and lack of adequate medical care in the tenement neighborhood, Wald was moved to found the Visiting Nurse Service. Two years later in 1895, with government and financial support, she moved the Visiting Nurse Service of New York into a larger building, founding the Henry Street Settlement House -- a community center offering comprehensive assistance services to people in need. As a result, Wald and her nursing staff became the first public health nurses in the United States.

As a public health pioneer, Wald was instrumental in getting nurses placed in American public schools and also helped establish the National Organization of Public Health Nursing, the National Women's Trade Union League to advocate for working women, and the Children's Bureau to help end child labor.