A Look Inside the First Lady of Nursing: Virginia Henderson
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Jessica Menice, School of Nursing, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jessica Menice, School of Nursing, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Ma 01003. E-mail: Jmenice@student.umass.edu
Virginia Henderson has made an everlasting imprint on society. With her various degrees and teaching settings, Virginia was a very knowledgeable nurse who helped other young nurses into their roles in the health care industry. She was not only a teacher and student, but also a researcher. Because of her many roles in nursing, the books she has written and revised cover a wide span of information. Although this may intimidate some, Virginia wrote for a general audience so that all could learn how to take care of a sick loved one. She defined nursing, so that the whole population could have a universal definition. She pushed for the roles of nurses to be clearly defined so that hospitals would be able to see all a nurse could or could not do, making a safer environment for the patient. Because of all her work, Virginia Henderson is one of the most well-known nurses in history. Key Words: Virginia Henderson, Need Theory, Definition of Nursing
A look Inside the First Lady of Nursing: Virginia Henderson
After a long hospital stay a patient hopes to go home and care for themselves; this was not always the case until Virginia Henderson revolutionized the nursing industry. Virginia grew up with a great education and went to school for many years, giving her an extensive span of knowledge that allowed her to make her mark on nursing. Although nursing is a forever changing occupation with new innovative technology always arising, Virginia Henderson has made a lasting mark on nursing with her “Need Theory” and her many books, teaching nurses worldwide the concepts of health promotion and disease prevention.
Henderson began her life in Kansas City, but she was only there for a short four years. Born on November 30, 1897 Henderson became the fifth child of what would be eight. Her parents, Lucy Abbot Henderson and Daniel B. Henderson, came from a background of educators and scholars. In 1901, at the age of four, the Henderson’s relocated to Virginia, where Virginia would finish her maturing (Halloran, 2007).
Through a developed impulse to help the sick and wounded military personnel, Henderson began her journey of nursing. Beginning her education at a young age of four under William Richardson Abbot, a figure named “grandfather”, Virginia Henderson grew to be a well-informed individual as she continued her schooling. Although she attended school, Virginia’s education did not produce a diploma, which hindered her entrance into nursing school (Halloran, 2007). In 1921, Virginia graduated the Army School of Nursing, located in Washington D.C and continued her journey as a nurse by accepting a position as a staff nurse at the Henry Street Visiting Nurse Service. After briefly working here, Henderson began her role as a teacher. Working back to her roots, she taught at Norfolk Protestant Hospital in Virginia (Anderson, 1999, p. 9). Here, Virginia was the first and only teacher in the school of nursing (Halloran, 2007). Although she was not done with her role as teacher, she decided to let another do the teaching when she went back to school at Columbia University Teachers College to complete her Baccalaureate and Masters degree in nursing. After accomplishing these goals in her career she again went back to educating young nurses at the Teachers College from 1930 to 1948 (Herrmann, 1996, p. 19). Throughout her role as an educator, Henderson saw the need to teach young nurses not only clinical skills, but also analytical skills to help them succeed as nurses (Anderson, 1999,...