In the history of nursing, there are few people who have had a significant impact on the industry. However, the few people who have had an impact have given a lot to the way nursing was viewed in the world.
Clara Barton was one of these people who changed the course of nursing. Her name is second only to Florence Nightingale's in the history of nursing.
Her full name was Clarissa Harlowe Barton and she was born in North Oxford, Massachusetts on Christmas in 1821. She was born into a respectable family with four older siblings.
Her father, Captain Stephen was a farmer, horse breeder, and politician. Clara Barton's talent at nursing first shone through when she was eleven and helped nurse her brother David back to health after he had contracted a serious illness.
Clara accelerated at her studies and became a teacher at the age of seventeen. When she was twenty-three she started her own school, where she taught for ten years.
At this point she decided to change her livelihood and decided to study writing and languages at the Liberal Institute in New York. When she completed her studies there she started another school in New Jersey.
Due to her experience and leadership, the school grew to have 600 enrolled students. When it was time to hire a head of the school, the board decided to hire a man instead of Barton.
Feeling extremely frustrated, Barton move to Washington D.C. where she worked in the U.S. Patent Office as a clerk. She was the first woman to be offered a clerk position by the federal government.
When the Civil War broke out, Barton stopped taking her salary from the government and decided to aid soldiers on the battlefront. She was the first woman to be allowed to help in the hospitals, camps, and battlefields.
In the beginning, her help was refused. However, she gained trust from the officials and she soon started to get supplies from all over the country.
Her enduring sacrifice earned her the title of "Angel of the Battlefield." In 1864, she became the superintendent of the Union nurses.
Continued supplies and assistants for both hospitals and camps continued to flow in from all parts of the country. Clara Barton worked as a nurse only on the battlefields.
She is known to have been involved with sixteen various battles. She began a search for missing soldiers following the war through the Office of Correspondence with the permission of President Lincoln.
Later in her life she joined the suffrage campaign. In 1869, her doctor told her to travel to Europe and for rest.
While in Europe, she learned about the Treaty of Geneva and the idea of the Red Cross. After observing the work of the Red Cross and learning the United States had not signed the treaty, she returned to the United States to organize the Red Cross there.
Clara also expanded the mission of the Red Cross to include natural disaster relief which resulted in the United States being labeled at the "Good Samaritan of Nations." In 1882, the United States signed the Treaty of Geneva.
For twenty-two more years, Clara Barton continued to work as the President of the American National Red Cross. Throughout this time she worked on altering how the Red Cross functions to be effective during times of war and times of peace.
Since her time the Red Cross has had a huge impact on the United States and around the world. When she reached the age of 83, she retired from this position to live in Glen Echo, Maryland.
After she died, Clara Barton left behind her legacy in what she called two rules of action. They were "unconcern for what cannot be helped" and "control under pressure." Clara Barton's work in the field of nursing and her revolutionary influence on the world will continue to live on in history.
Tom Selwick has worked as a traveling nurse for the last 16 years. He has worked in many local clinics and the ER and recommends looking into becoming a travel nurse.