14 May 2011


Apologies, I did have this post planned for Thursay but some kind of gremlin invaded blogger and services have only just resumed today.

There are now all kinds of 'days' being celebrated, so much so that its all getting kind of silly.

For example did you know that the 11th of May, was ..........

  • Eat What You Want Day.
  • Receptionist Day.
  • Nigh Shift Workers Day
  • Donate A Day's Wages Day
  • School Nurses Day
  • Twilight Zone Day
Whilst on Thursday the 12th ..........
Yes, thats right, the 12th of May is INTERNATIONAL NURSES DAY, and like last year, I for one would like to say a big thank you to all you nurses out there.

Whilst many of you will have heard of FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE and some may even have heard of MARY SEACOLE I wonder how many of you can name a famous male nurse?

No, me neither.

Though believe it or not nursing was once upon a time a solely male occupation and indeed in the world's first nursing hospital, started in India in about 250 B.C. when only men were considered 'pure' enough to become nurses.

But what of male nurses in more 'modern' times?

Well ..........

Early religious orders such as the Benedictine Nursing Order, founded by St Benedict, provided much of the care during the middle-ages whilst, co-patron saints of nursing, St. John of God devoted his life to serving the ill and mistreated and St. Camillius is credited with developing the first field ambulance - the symbol of his order, the red cross, remaining the primary symbol of health care till this day. Whilst, across the pond, Father Juan de Mena, shipwrecked off the South Texas coast some 70 years before the Pilgrim Fathers landed on Plymouth Rock, is largely identified as the first nurse in what was to become the USA.

And going back to my earlier question of can you name a famous male nurse?

The website Nursetini in 2009 listed the 10 most famous male nurses in history as being:-

  • The aforementioned St Benedict (480-547): Patron saint for servants who break their master’s things, the patron saint for gallbladders and other inflammatory ailments, and a patron saint for a happy death.
  • Brother Gerard (1040-1120): Founder of the Hospitallers, also known as the Order of Malta or the Knights of Malta, but known as the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem under Brother Gerard’s leadership until 1118.
  • St. Alexis (Fifth-century Rome): Patron saint of the Alexians, a group that  provided nursing care for Black Death victims in the 1300s.
  • The aforementioned Father Juan de Mena (1500s)
  • Juan Ciudad aka St John of God (1495-1550): A Portuguese-born friar and saint who has become one of Spain’s leading religious figures, St John expended all his energy in caring for the neediest people of Granada.
  • The afore mentioned St Camillius (1550-1614); Universal patron of the sick, hospitals and nurses, his Order of Clerks Regular Ministers to the Sick (Camillians), assisted soldiers on the battlefield and devoted themselves to plague victims and alcoholics.
  • James Derham (1757-1802): Born into slavery, Derham, although he never received a medical degree, was the first African-American to formally practice medicine in the United States.
  • Walt Whitman (1819-1892):  Although more recognized as a writer and poet, Whitman is, perhaps, the most noted male nurse in modern history having spent a better part of his time during the American Civil War as a volunteer nurse.
  • Edward L. T. Lyon (mid-twentieth century): The first man to receive a commission as a reserve officer in the U.S. Army Corps, Lt. Lyon, a nurse anesthetist, joined 3,500 commissioned women in an act that finally over cam the U.S. military objection to male nurses.
  • Joe Hogan (late twentieth century): An African-American associate-degree nurse, Hogan applied for admission to earn his bachelor’s degree in nursing at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus in 1979. Denied admission on account of his being a man Hogan sued for violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Obviously an American based site, there will of course be many other 'famous' male nurses across the world and I would love it if you could add to the above list.

And in the meantime ........

A big thank you to Ruth, Joy, Frauke and all you other nurses both male and female, famous and not so famous.


Dizzy C said...

Great post, Tracy

Nurses do a wonderful, thankless (judging by their pay) job.

I did not know of any famous male nurses, but do remember the caring nurse who looked after AJ when he was particularly poorly on oxygen with his first asthma attack.


naida said...

Nice post. I had no idea Walt Whitman was a volunteer nurse.

danisletters13 said...

Happy Belated Nurses Day! They really are amazing. :)

Misha said...

I had no idea there was an International Nurse's Day. Thanks for that list of famous male nurses - I could not even name one!

kavita said...

Very interesting and enlightening .I never knew about WND.
Have a great weekend PW.

Kelly said...

Gee...I wish I had known the 11th was "eat all you want" day. Probably best I didn't know!

I'll have to wish my older daughter a belated happy nurses appreciation day when I see her later this evening.

Suko said...

I didn't know that Walt Whitman was a nurse! Thank you for another terrific post. Your new blog design is snazzy!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Hey! I know several nurses... but they are all female. Darn! :)

Arti said...

I had never heard of any male nurses till now. Thanks for the list. And did I just miss one of the best days of the year, eat what you want day?! Not that I need one for that, but the day kind of helps in reducing the guilt somewhat!

Dorte H said...

A big thank you to all the nurses, male or female!

But no thanks to Blogger. This time I am seriously considering moving my blog.

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

I had no idea that there was an International Nurse's Day and also didn't know Walt Whitman was a nurse!

thanks so much that so interesting post!

Great entry!

Big hugs!

Betty xx

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Oh, I didn't know about Nurses day. I have a few friends that are nurses. It would have been nice to surprise them with a little message saying happy day. :) Thank you!

chitra said...

Didn't know it was Nurse's day. They are so self less and their contribution to the society is invaluable.