African American Nursing Essay

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Medicine has always played a crucial role in our society. The advancements made in the medical field have led to a population of informed and health conscious citizens. However, there is one segment of the medical population that often gets overlooked and taken for granted: the nursing profession. Nurses are far more than just the helpful men and women that a patient sees before the doctor arrives, in fact, they tend to set the tone for the hospital. Their contributions and caring dispositions are invaluable, but such standards were not easily achieved. In a country as diverse as America, it was imperative and inevitable that African-Americans would become key figures in the foundation of the field. One such figure is that of Ms. Mary Eliza…show more content…
It was said that Mary was recommend to the program through a female doctor who observed her work ethic. On March 23, 1878 Mahoney was enrolled into a 16 month program which was no easy process for nursing. She started the program with 40 of her classmates with her as the only minority (Chayer, Mary p.430). She, along with her colleagues, worked 16 hour shifts 7 days a week while also managing a ward of six patients. Through determination, on August 1, 1879 Mary was one of only four students to graduate from the program and received her diploma and became the first trained African-American Registered Nurse. It was Mary who paved the way for other minorities in nursing. However this would be one of many firsts to come. Upon graduation, Mahoney continued to provide optimal care as a private duty nurse for over 30 years along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States (“First African American Graduate Nurse” 2012). Mary mostly worked with prominent and wealthy individuals and was admired for her gentle, caring, and professional approach with her patients. In fact, in 1911, Mary became the leader of the Director of Howard Orphan Asylum for Black Children in Long Island, New York (“First African American Graduate Nurse” 2012). There she pursued being an activist for women’s

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