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Today is International Nurses Day when we celebrate the wonderful nurses that make impactful contributions to the world.

According to Nursing World, every year on May 6th, National Nurses Week begins and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

These fixed dates help plan and establish the monumental week as a recognized event.

Since 1896, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has supported and promoted the nursing profession.

TV One would like to thank all the nurses that continue to help save the lives of countless people.

Here is an insight of African-American nurses who made huge contributions to the medical world to show our appreciation!

Mary Eliza Mahoney

Mary Eliza Mahoney was born in 1845 in Boston to two formerly enslaved people originally from North Carolina.

Mahoney was the country’s first Black registered nurse.

She graduated from a New England program in 1879 that required 16 hours of work per week, seven days a week, at the age of 18. Only three students graduated from the program, including Mahoney.

She proved her worth and helped pave the way for future nurses. Mahoney was a founding member of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses in 1908 due to the racism she faced as a member of the Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada (NAAUSC), which later became the American Nurses Association (ANA).

The American Nurses Association established the Mary Mahoney Award in her honor, which is currently considered one of the finest distinctions a nurse can get.

Estelle Massey Osborne

Estelle Massey Osborne is a monumental figure who helped change the nursing industry in the 20th Century.

Osbourne was born in the small Texas town of Palestine in 1901, the eighth of eleven children.

She was the first black nurse to obtain a master’s degree in the United States. In 1945, she became the university’s first black assistant professor at New York University.

Osbourne worked relentlessly to open nursing to women of color as a nurse administrator, educator, and leader during a period when racial barriers prevented most African American women from attaining top positions in their fields.

She was elected president of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, based in New York City, in 1934.

She developed strategic relationships with White-only nursing organizations like the American Nurses Association (ANA). She lobbied them hard to welcome Black nurses, particularly those in the South, who were denied participation owing to discriminatory state membership regulations.

She also supported programs to expand post-nursing school options for nurses of color. She grew the association’s membership from 175 to 947 members by the time she left in 1939.

With the country at war, Osborne was recruited as a consultant to the National Council for War Service’s Coordinating Committee on Negro Nursing in 1943. In response to a significant shortage of nurses at home and the military overseas, Congress established the Bolton Act that year. Nurses couldn’t be trained quickly enough.

Osborne worked to guarantee that the $160 million set aside for nursing education and financial aid went to Black nurses. Her efforts also increased the number of Black students accepted into nursing schools.

Lillian Holland Harvey

Lillian Hollard Harvey was a nurse, educator, and doctor who made significant contributions to medical education.

After graduating from high school, she traveled to New York to join the Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing.

In 1945, Harvey became the director of the Tuskegee School for Nurses. The Tuskegee School for Nurses was a historically black nursing school that offered only a three-year nursing program.

In 1948, Harvey became the Dean of Tuskegee School for Nurses. She began the process of transitioning from the diploma program into a bachelor’s program in 1949.

It would be the state of Alabama’s first of its sort. Nursing students could now earn a Bachelor of Science in nursing in 1953.

In 1957, the National League granted full accreditation to the Nursing program. Students might have hands-on experience both at the John A. Andrew Hospital in their home state and at medical offices in Massachusetts, Florida, New York, and Connecticut as part of the curriculum.

Patricia Bath

On November 4, 1942, Patricia Bath was born in New York, NY.

Ophthalmologist and laser scientist Bath was a pioneering researcher and champion for preventing, treating, and curing blindness.

Her achievements include the invention of laserphaco, revolutionary equipment and procedure for cataract surgery, creating “community ophthalmology,” and her appointment as the first woman chair of ophthalmology in the United States at Drew-UCLA in 1983.

Bath sought and received a National Science Foundation Scholarship while still in high school, which led to a research assignment at Yeshiva University and Harlem Hospital Center. She studied the links between cancer, nutrition, and stress.

She had examined the effects of streptomycin residue on microorganisms as part of a summer program organized by Rabbi Moses D. Tendler.

She graduated from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., interned at Harlem Hospital from 1968 to 1969, and did an ophthalmology fellowship at Columbia University from 1969 to 1970.

Dr. Bath finished her residency in ophthalmology at New York University between 1970 and 1973, when she was the first African American resident.

Goldie D. Brangman

Goldie D. Brangman is a well-known nurse in history, most remembered for her role in a successful emergency heart surgery and leadership positions.

Brangman was a Harlem Hospital the surgical team member that saved Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life during an assassination attempt in 1958. She was on the front lines of a life-saving procedure for a significant civil rights leader and contributed to his survival.

She was the one who operated on the breathing bag that kept Dr. King alive during surgery.

Brangman’s career took off in various areas after this significant and life-saving act. Between 1973 and 1974, she served as President of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA).

Happy International Nurse Day!

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