“Virginia Henderson: The First Lady of Nursing”
By: Jordan Harrell
Virginia Henderson has been one the most influential people in the nursing field,
she has received many honors for her skill and knowledge about nursing and the care of
patients. Some of the major contributions to nursing as a profession include creating a
finite definition of the nursing process, Henderson also arranged Maslow’s hierarchy of
needs into a 14 step process relating to nursing care. Today even in death Henderson
remains a authority on the role of the nurse and how that related to providing care for the
individual patient in American and around the world.
Virginia Henderson (1897-1996) was born in Kansas City, Missouri in her life
time she received many honors for her dedication to nursing and the care of patients. She
began her education in Virginia, in 1921 she graduated from the Army School of Nursing
in Washington D.C. This was followed by a BS as well as a MS from Columbia
University, Teachers College graduating in 1932 and 1934 respectively. She has been
called the “first lady of nursing” as well as the “first truly international nurse”. She was
the first full time instructor of nursing in Virginia at the Norfolk Protestant Hospital.
During her teaching career she revised Bertha Harmer's Textbook of the Principles and
Practice of Nursing which become the standard text for nursing students across the
country. Most importantly her work at Yale University School of Nursing, New
Haven, Connecticut from 1953-199 which produced many important publications
including Nursing Research a Survey and Assessment in collaboration with Leo Simonds
which defined the role of the nurse. She had many honors bestowed upon her and
influcened many generations of nurses making her one of the most important people in
the nursing field .
Virginia Henderson produced many publications pertaining to nursing and...
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