• James Derham

    Derham was the first African-American to formally practice medicine in the United States, although he never received a medical degree. Born into slavery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Derham was owned by several doctors. One of his owners, Dr. Robert Dove of New Orleans, encouraged Derham’s interest in medicine. By working as a nurse, he purchased his freedom by 1783 and opened a medical practice.

  • Dorothea Dix

    Dorothea Dix served as an advocate for the mentally ill. Her efforts were instrumental in the founding of the first public mental hospital in Pennsylvania in 1851. She was later appointed Superintendent of the Union Army Nurses where her authority was often challenged by physicians.

  • Clara Barton

    In April 1862, after the First Battle of Bull Run, Barton established an agency to obtain and distribute supplies to wounded soldiers. She was given a pass by General William Hammond to ride in army ambulances to provide comfort to the soldiers and nurse them back to health and lobbied the U.S. Army bureaucracy, at first without success, to bring her own medical supplies to the battlefields.


  • Walt Whitmam

    Although more recognized as a writer and poet, Walt Whitman is perhaps the most noted male nurse in modern history. He spent a better part of his time during the American Civil War as a volunteer nurse after his brother was wounded. His experiences inspired his writings - “The Wound Dresser,” “Drumtaps,” “Specimen Days,” and “Collect”.

  • Mary Ann Bickerdyke

    Mary Ann Bickerdyke served as a hospital administrator for the Union Army and became the best known and probably most resourceful Civil War nurse. By the end of the war, 1865, with the help of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, Bickerdyke had built 300 hospitals and aided the wounded on 19 battlefields including the Battle of Shiloh and Sherman's March to the Sea.

  • Linda Richards

    Linda Richards was the first American trained nurse. In 1872, she became the first student to enroll in the inaugural class of five nurses in the first American nurse's training school at the New England Hospital for Women and Children.

  • Mary Elizabeth Mahoney

    Mary Mahoney was America's first black professional nurse. She graduated from the New England Hospital for Women and Children Training School for Nurses in 1879 and was one of only three persons in her class to complete the rigorous 16 month program.


  • Lavinia Dock

    Lavinia Dock is remembered for her contributions to nursing literature. She authored Materia Medica for Nurses, one of the first nursing textbooks, as well as serveral other publications. Dock also served as foreign editor of the American Journal of Nursing.

  • Lillian Wald

    By 1893, as a young nurse, Wald she left medical school and started to teach a home class on nursing for poor immigrant families on New York City's Lower East Side. She was known for contributions to human rights and was the founder of American community nursing. She founded the Henry Street Settlement and was an early advocate for nursing in schools.

  • Mary Adelaid Nutting

    Nutting was the first nurse to ever be appointed to a University professoership. In 1894, Nutting because principal of the John's Hopkins School of Nursing. Nutting also created a course on dietetics at Johns Hopkins, the first course of its kind in any nursing school in the United States.

  • Isabel Hampton Robb

    In 1896, Isabel Hampton Robb organized the American Nurses Association and served as the first president. She served on the original committee that founded the American Journal of Nursing. Robb was also appointed as head of the John Hopkins nursing school where she became a published nursing theorist.

  • Virginia Henderson

    In 1921, Virginia Henderson received her diploma from Army School of Nursing in Washington, DC. A modern legend in nursing, Virginia A. Henderson has earned the title "foremost nurse of the 20th century." Her contributions are compared to those of Florence Nightingale because of their far-reaching effects on the national and international nursing communities.

    She holds twelve honorary doctoral degrees and has received the International Council of Nursing's Christianne Reimann Prize, which is considered nursing's most prestigious award.

  • Annie Goodrich

    Annie Goodrich served as president of the American Nurses Association from 1915-1918. During her career, Goodrich was also president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Nursing, New York State Inspector for Training Schools, director of nursing service at Henry Street Settlement, professor of nursing at Teacher's College, Columbia University, and dean of the Army School of Nursing.

    In 1924, Goodrich founded and became the dean of the first nursing program at Yale University.

  • Mary Breckinridge

    Mary Breckinridge was an American nurse-midwife. After receiving proper training at the British Hospital for Mothers and Babies, she returned to the United States and founded the Frontier Nursing Service which provides healthcare services to rural, underserved populations and educates nurse mid-wifes.

  • Ida V. Moffet

    Ida V. Moffet became Registered in 1926. Throughout her nursing career, Moffet was a pioneer in setting standards for healthcare. She was the first woman involved in achieving school accreditation, in forming university level degree programs for nursing, in licensing practical nursing, and in starting junior college level degree programs for nurses.

  • Hildegard Peplau

    Peplau began her career in nursing in 1931 as a graduate of the Pottstown, PA, School of Nursing. was the first published nursing theorist since Florence Nightingale and created the middle-range nursing theory of interpersonal relations, which helped to revolutionize the scholarly work of nurses. As a primary contributor to mental health law reform, she led the way towards humane treatment of patients with behavior and personality disorders.

  • Lillian Holland Harvey

    In 1948, Lillian Holland Harvey received her master's degree from the Teachers College at Columbia University and initiated the first baccalaureate degree in nursing program in the state of Alabama at Tuskegee Institute.

  • Edward T Lyon

    On October 6, 1955, Edward Lyon became the first man to receive a commission as a reserve officer in the U.S. Army Corps. Lt. Lyon, a nurse anesthetist, joined 3,500 commissioned women in the Corps in an act that finally overcame the U.S. military objection to male nurses. This objection was overruled by an amendment to the Army-Navy Nurses Act of 1947 that went into effect in August 1954, thanks to Rep. Frances Bolton of Ohio, a long-time nursing supporter. This change in military status of male nursing led to the growth of men in various military nurse corps."

  • Dorothea Orem

    Dorothea Orem was a nursing theorist and creator of the self-care deficit nursing theory, also known as the Orem model of nursing, developed between 1959 and 2001. It is particularly used in rehabilitation and primary care settings where the patient is encouraged to be as independent as possible.

  • Madeleine Leininger

    A nursing theorist and nursing professor, Madeleine Leininger was the pioneer of transcultural nursing. Leininger first taught a transcultural nursing course at the University of Colorado in 1966. According to Leininger, transcultural nursing is a substantive area of study and practice that focuses on the comparative cultural values of caring, the beliefs and practices of individuals or groups of similar or different cultures.

Welcome to NAA

Welcome to Nurse Advocacy Association!  NAA is a newly formed professional nursing association for all nurses who are dedicated to excellence of care and practice, and who are open to developing adaptive, creative, and supportive learning environments for nurses.  The role of the nurse is uncertain amidst a changing national healthcare climate leaving many to struggle silently.

How would you answer the following questions?

What is your perception of the role of the nurse in today’s healthcare climate?

Can you describe your current workplace as a positive practice environment? 

Do the skills of nurse leaders directly influence the ability of these leaders to create positive practice environments that impact job satisfaction, recruitment, and retention? 

Do you perceive that you have the knowledge, resources, understanding, and support needed to safely and competently perform your duties as a nurse every day?

Nurses can no longer sit in silence amid the chaos, stress, and tension we experience in today’s practice environments.  NAA provides all nurses with an alternative approach to finding solutions to problems associated with growing discontent with the role of nurses and the practice environment.  NAA provides you a safe and effective venue in which to express your views and opinions, create solutions to problems, explore new ideas and concepts, challenge the status quo, and establish a collaborative learning environment.  NAA is about you!  Nurses advocating for nurses.