The First Trained American Female Nurse

The First Trained American Female Nurse

The First Trained American Female Nurse (1841 to 1930) Malinda Anne Judson Richards, America’s first trained female nurse

The First Trained American Female Nurse(1841 to 1930) Malinda Anne Judson Richards 

Malinda Anne Judson Richards, America’s first trained female nurse was moved to enter the nursing profession due to the death of her parents from tuberculosis. Although she already got informal training from her mother’s physician, Richards pursued teaching. 

It was only after the death of her fiance from the Civil War that she finally decided to become nurse, and worked at the Boston City Hospital. After serving barely as maid in the hospital, Richards signed-up for a nurse-training program at the New England Hospital for Women and Children, and graduated in 1873.

The New York City gave Richards opportunity to prove her worth in the profession, being able to develop the system of keeping records of each patient at the Bellevue Hospital. Significantly, her concept was widely integrated in the U.S. and England, including Florence Nightingale’s St. Thomas Hospital where she later on furthered her nurse training. 

She also went to King’s College Hospital and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in Scotland for added training and education. In 1874, Richards came to be the superintendent of Boston Training School who turned the then dying nurse-training program into one of America’s best, with all the nursing knowledge that she brought with her when she came back in 1877. 

After 9 years, Richards had gone off to Japan where she opened Japan’s first nurses training school in Kyoto during her 5-year missionary service there.

At the age of 51, Linda Richards went back to the U.S. and held leadership roles in Philadelphia Visiting Nurse Society and superintendent of 2 other training schools. In 1892, Richards was also able to establish training school at the Philadelphia Methodist Episcopal Hospital and reorganized the nursing training program in the New England Hospital for Women and Children in 1893 to 1894. 

She also served as president of the American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools, member of the Hospital Economics Program Committee at the Teacher’s College, Columbia University, director of training schools at the Taunton Insane Hospital in Massachusetts, Worchester Hospital for the Insane, and Michigan Insane Asylum. Further, Richards was the first stockholder in the American Journal of nursing. 

Her nursing and teaching career ended on her retirement on 1911. In April 16, 1930, at the age of 88, Linda Richards died. 

In 1976, Richards became ANA Hall of Fame Inductee.

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