Dorothea Dix Research Paper

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Many women in history have had a significant influence on the advancements and positive strides that have led to the way nursing is today. Dorothea Dix is one woman who we can attribute some very important accomplishments to (Jorgensen, 2014). She made changes happen in the healthcare field as if she had a team of people working behind her, but she was working alone (Bumb). Dorothea was greatly involved in the advancement of care to the mentally ill, which largely influenced my decision to research her. I believe that proper care to the mentally ill would prevent a lot of the tragedies we still see today, some of which have been rising over time. I think mental health is a widely overlooked portion of healthcare and has a long way to go still.…show more content…
At this time, girls weren’t permitted to attend public school, so her educational opportunities were slim, and her outlook for a prosperous future was not promising. Her father took it upon himself to teach Dorothea how to read and write, despite him being an abusive alcoholic (Bumb). Dorothea took these skills and became passionate about teaching. Although she had no formal education, degrees, or certificates, Dorothea was able to open a classroom at age 15 and began to teach women and girls how to read and write. Her life as a teacher evolved into what led her to make great differences in healthcare. After many years of teaching at her grandmothers mansion, two significant events of illness, recuperating from her illnesses, and some traveling between to England, she ended up back in Massachusetts in 1841. Dorothea’s contributions to the nursing profession began with her return to Boston when she taught Sunday School for the women inmates. It was at this time that she witnessed unsanitary and inhumane treatment of the mentally ill inmates and many others whom the jail classified as “insane” prisoners (Viney & Zorich, 1982). The beliefs about the mentally ill were very obscured, and Dorothea’s opposing views were equally as radical. The jail believed the mentally ill to be incurable, and they were treated as worthless individuals - only receiving enough amenities to get them by because it was also believe that they didn’t know the difference…show more content…
and influencing much change on the western side of the states, she traveled again to Europe with the hopes to rest and heal. Instead, she began repeating her process and creating changes all across Europe. In two years, she visited 13 countries and changed the way those countries treated the mentally ill. Once she finished her work in Europe, she returned to the U.S. and continued her routine through some of the states she had missed before. It was not long before the Civil War broke out and her focus shifted. Dorothea was the type of person who had a dream, but always placed her focus where her help was needed most. At this time, she became the Superintendent of Union Army Nurses. She was reportedly very mean and autocratic toward other nurses, but she continued in this position throughout the war (Jorgensen, 2014). After the war, she was asked to step down and relieved of her position. Her health continued to fail, and she admitted herself into the state hospital in Trenton, New Jersey in 1881. This hospital was opened due to her unfailing efforts, and it is where she remained for 6 years until her death in 1887. Dorothea managed to serve the nursing profession for 40 years, and she caused tidal waves of positive change for the care of the mentally ill. Her determination and demand for quality care drove these changes, and her dreams of helping others became a reality at a very young age. I can only hope to influence

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