Lillian Wald and other notable nurse pioneers, 1923The first paragraph of Maureen Shawn Kennedy’s editorial in the March issue of AJN, “Securing Our Place in History,” ends with a thought-provoking suggestion:

In 1980, after realizing that women were largely missing from the history books, a group of women formed the National Women’s History Project . . . and, in 1987, were successful in getting Congress to designate the month of March as Women’s History Month. . . .This year’s theme, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives,” reflects the . . . tenet that “[k]nowing women’s achievements challenges stereotypes and upends social assumptions about who women are and what women can accomplish today.” One might substitute the word nurses for women in this statement.

Public health nursing, school nurses, hospice, and many other crucial areas of health care today began with the efforts of nurses. Noting the many accomplishments of Lillian Wald, Lavinia Dock, Annie Goodrich, M. Adelaide Nutting, and the other nurses in the 1923 group photo on our March cover, shown as they gathered to celebrate the opening of the new headquarters of the Henry Street Visiting Nurse Service, Kennedy urges nurses today to learn about this tradition and to envision how they can carry it forward:

“The story of nursing continues to be one of social commitment, innovation, and problem solving. It legitimizes and supports our inclusion on governing boards and our presence at policymaking tables. It can infuse each of us with pride and energy for the work we do. Let it infuse you.”

Click here to read the entire short editorial.—Jacob Molyneux, senior editor/social media


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