M Adelaide Nutting

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Mary Adelaide Nutting



Mary Adelaide Nutting


Mary Adelaide Nutting was born November 1, 1858, in Frost Village, Quebec, Canada. In 1889, she went to Baltimore to enter the first class of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Training School for Nurses. After graduating in 1891, she served as a head nurse at the school. In 1894, she became the school's principal. Nutting held this position until 1907. That year, she joined the faculty of Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City and became the world's first professor of nursing. Nutting headed the Department of Nursing and Health at the college from 1910 until she retired in 1925.

  • 1889-1891 Entered the first class of the new Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing in Baltimore, Maryland graduating in 1891.

  • 1891-1894 Head nurse in the hospital for two years and then assistant superintendent of nurses for a year.

  • 1894-1907 Became superintendent of nurses and principal of the school.

  • 1899-1907 An experimental program in hospital economics was established at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City where Nutting taught part-time.

  • 1907-1910 Left Johns Hopkins to teach full-time at Teachers College.

  • 1910-1925 She was named head of the new department of nursing and health.

  • 1934 Named honorary president of the Florence Nightingale International Foundation

Honored for her outstanding contributions to nursing and nursing education, Mary Adelaide Nutting was a noted educator, historian, and scholar. She was a strong advocate of university education for nurses and was instrumental in developing the first programs of this type.

During her lifetime, Nutting made significant contributions to nursing literature. She wrote A Sound Economic Basis for Nursing, co-authored with Lavinia Dock the first two volumes of the four-volume History of Nursing, and wrote many articles for nursing and health periodicals.

As principal of the Johns Hopkins Nursing program, Nutting recognized the importance of collecting materials and books for an historical collection for the nursing school. This collection became the basis for the first two volumes of A History of Nursing. Nutting, through letters, speeches, and published works, worked to realize her dream of seeing basic education for nurses established in universities. Due to her demanding schedule, it fell to Lavina Dock, then Secretary of the International Council of Nurses, to complete the last two volumes of A History of Nursing. A History of Nursing became the classic of nursing history and by its very production denoted the rise in standing of organized nursing.

In 1934 she was named honorary president of the Florence Nightingale International Foundation, and in 1944 the National League of Nursing Education created the Mary Adelaide Nutting Medal (modeled by Malvina Hoffman) in her honor and awarded it to her that year. She died in White Plains, New York, on October 3, 1948.

Last Modified: Thursday May 20, 2010


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