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ANA Celebrates Women's History Month

March 1 - 31, 2019

ANA Celebrates Women's History Month by highlighting several Hall of Fame inductees. Click on each image to learn more about these amazing women.

Stella Goostray


1976 Inductee

One of nursing's most energetic leaders, Stella Goostray earned a distinguished reputation as a scholar, author, and teacher. She graduated from Children's Hospital of Boston in 1919 and later earned a B.S. in nursing from Teacher's College, Columbia University and an M.E. from Boston University.

During her outstanding career, Goostray served 13 years on the board of directors of the American Journal of Nursing Company, seven as president. She was secretary of the National League for Nursing Education for 11 years and also served as advisor to the Joint Nursing Committee on Educational Policies and as nurse consultant to the Committee on the Grading of Nursing Schools. From 1940-1946, she was president of the National Nursing Council for War Service, Inc. Goostray's publications include Drugs and Solutions for Nurses, Mathematics and Measurements in Nursing Practice, Applied Chemistry for Nurses, Fifty Years: A History of the School of Nursing, the Children's Hospital, Boston, and Memoirs: Half a Century in Nursing.

Julia Catherine Stimson


1982 Inductee

Julia Catherine Stimson was the first woman to receive the rank of major in the United States Army. She earned this distinction in 1920 while superintendent of the Army Nurse Corps. When Congress amended the National Defense Act in that year, giving members of the Army Nurse Corps relative rank, the head of the corps received the rank of major.

Stimson had served in the Army Nurse Corps during World War I. In 1918, less than a year after her arrival in Europe, she was assigned as chief nurse of the American Red Cross. In France, seven months later, she became director of nursing services of the American Expeditionary Forces in France. She returned to the U.S. in 1919 and became dean of the Army School of Nursing and Superintendent of the Army Nurse Corps, positions she held until 1932. After full commissioned rank was granted to army nurses, Stimson, a former president of the American Nurses Association, was promoted to the rank of colonel six weeks before her death.

Mary Berenice Beck


1986 Inductee

Sister Mary Berenice Beck received the first doctorate in nursing education awarded by The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and is one of the first ten U.S. nurses to earn a doctorate. This distinction also made her the first doctorally prepared nurse in a religious order. Through her leadership at the American Nurses Association (ANA), the first code of ethics for the profession was adopted. While working with Marquette University, Beck completed the merger of the training school with the university and enrolled the first collegiate nursing students. After serving as dean of the Marquette University College of Nursing, Beck was professor and department chairman for ten years of the Department of Nursing Education of the Marquette Graduate School.

She was a member of the Committee on Nursing Education of the Catholic Hospital Association, Association of Collegiate Schools of Nursing, and National League of Nursing Education. She was president of the Wisconsin League of Nursing Education, vice president of ANA's Professional Counseling and Placement Service, and board members of the Wisconsin Nurses Association, American Journal of Nursing Company, and ANA.

Hildegard Peplau


1998 Inductee

Hildegard Peplau, the "mother of psychiatric nursing," was a true pioneer in the development of the theory and practice of psychiatric and mental health nursing. Her achievements, including her revolutionary work in patient-nurse relationships, are valued by nurses around the world and her ideas have been incorporated into virtually every nursing specialty and into the practices of other health care professionals.

Peplau introduced the "nurse-patient relationship" idea 40 years ago, a time when patients did not actively participate in their own care. Peplau's publications, including her classic book, Interpersonal Relations in Nursing, have been translated into several languages.

Throughout her career, Peplau, a member of the New Jersey State Nurses Association, actively contributed to the ANA by serving on various committees and task forces. She is the only person to have been both the executive director and the president of ANA. She was a member of many local, state and federal nursing committees and a consultant to many organizations, including the World Health Organization and the U.S. Air Force.

Peplau was committed to nursing education throughout her career. She was a visiting professor at schools around the world and a professor at Rutgers University until her retirement in 1974. She was a professor emerita at Rutgers University, College of Nursing. She received numerous awards and honors for her contributions to nursing and held 11 honorary degrees.

Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail


2002 Inductee

While working with the then Indian Health Service from 1929 to1931, Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail helped to bring modern health care to her own people and to end abuses in the Indian health care system, such as the sterilization of Native American women without their consent. She effectively communicated Native American culture and perspectives to non-Indians throughout the country then as well as throughout her public service career.

From 1930 to 1960, the Montana nurse traveled throughout North American reservations to assess the health, social and educational problems Native Americans faced. One of her assessment's revealed that acutely ill Native American children were literally dying on the backs of their mothers, who often had to walk 20 to 30 miles to get to one of the five hospitals that served 160,000 Navajo. She also provided midwifery services to Native American and other women in the Little Horn Valley for 30 years.

Through her work with the then Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the founder of the Native American Nurses Association was instrumental in winning tribal and government funding to help Native Americans enter the nursing profession. In 1962, Yellowtail received the President's Award for Outstanding Nursing Health Care.

Pearl McIver, MS, RN


2014 Inductee

The late Pearl McIver created an enduring legacy in the field of public health nursing, a journey that began when she took a position with the United States Public Health Service in 1922.

There, she served 35 years in several divisions, from the Maternal and Child Health Division to the Office of Public Health Nursing, before becoming the chief nurse in the United States Public Health Service Bureau of State Services. In this role, Ms. McIver built the foundation of public health nursing and remained active in preventing disease and promoting health and wellness.

Her dedication and knowledge of the nursing profession established nursing programs across state and local levels, which effectively employed more than 3,500 nurses during the Great Depression. Her ability to lead people to solutions and build partnerships helped strengthen the nursing profession.

Ms. McIver’s most noted leadership role in nursing was as chair of the Joint Coordinating Committee, where she paved the way for the unification of five nursing organizations into two, the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the National League for Nursing.

Additionally, Ms. McIver served in leadership roles with ANA for nearly 20 years, including president of ANA from 1948 to 1950. She was a former president and editor of the American Journal of Nursing and vice president of the American Public Health Association, where she led the establishment of the Nursing Section. Additionally, McIver served as chair of the Federal Nursing Council, a member of the World Health Organization’s Expert Panel on Nursing, chair of the International Council of Nurses Constitution Committee and vice-chair of the American Nurses Foundation.

To recognize and honor Pearl McIver’s remarkable accomplishments, the first Public Health Nurse Award was bestowed upon her by ANA’s Public Health Nurses Section in 1956. This award, later renamed in her honor, recognizes the outstanding professional contribution of one public health nurse.

Ms. McIver died in 1976 at age 83; however, her immense contributions still impact the Public Health Service and the nursing profession.

Capt. Mary Lee Mills, (Ret.) USPHS, MSN, MPH, RN, CNM

North Carolina Nurses Association

2012 Inductee

The late Capt. Mary Lee Mills improved the quality of life for countless people around the world through her passion for public health nursing. She achieved her professional education from Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing in Durham, NC; New York University in New York City; and George Washington University in Washington, DC. Her trailblazing career transported her from a small town in North Carolina to the international stage as a nurse ambassador.

Early in her career, she practiced as a public health nurse and a nurse-midwife. In 1946, she became director of public health for the nursing certificate program at North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central University). That same year, she was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), where she progressed to captain and served as Chief Nursing Officer from 1946-1952.

Mills received many national and international awards. Liberia vested her as Knight Official of the Liberian Humane Order of the Redemption for numerous public health initiatives. Lebanon bestowed the Order of the Cedars for her role in establishing the first school of nursing.

In 1966, Mills traveled as a consultant to the Secretary of the former U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare to Finland, Germany, and Denmark to study their national health systems. She represented the United States at public health conferences in Mexico, Canada, Australia, Italy, and Sweden.

She contributed professionally to the American Nurses Association and the North Carolina Nurses Association. During 20 years with the Office of International Health, Mills received the USPHS Distinguished Service Award and North Carolina’s highest award, Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Her portrait is featured with 33 distinguished African-Americans at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Mills overcame racial, gender, class, and societal barriers to dramatically improve public health and nursing. A phenomenal nurse, role model, humanitarian, and international nursing leader, she died in 2010 at 98 years old.

Muriel Poulin, EdD, RN, FAAN


2016 Inductee

Dr. Muriel Poulin has achieved an extraordinary career in nursing, spanning more than 50 years in over a dozen countries.

Throughout her career, she has served on numerous boards of directors, published research articles including the original Magnet Hospital study (which she co-authored) under the auspices of the American Academy of Nursing, and taught as a visiting professor in other countries. She successfully established the first master’s program in nursing in Spain after serving as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Barcelona. Furthermore, her outstanding leadership and commitment to nursing have earned her several awards for excellence in research and teaching.

Dr. Poulin moved to Washington, DC, in 1946, where she worked at Gallinger Municipal Hospital (later renamed District of Columbia General Hospital in 1953) as a staff nurse, head nurse and clinical supervisor. In 1953, she was recruited to be a member of a task force responsible for opening and managing the newly constructed Damascus General Hospital in Syria, and served as its director of nursing. This opportunity led her to understand that high quality patient care is achieved when nursing services are led by well-prepared nursing administrators, and it also began her commitment to international health care.

Dr. Poulin returned to the U.S. in 1955, where she worked at Massachusetts General Hospital as the coordinator of staff development. Two years later, she was recruited by the U.S. Agency for International Development to work at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in San José, Costa Rica, as the assistant hospital administrator for nursing. She returned to the U.S. in 1958, went on to earn her master’s degree in nursing administration from the University of Colorado, spent a year traveling the world and then joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky in 1962 as an assistant professor.

After earning her doctorate in education and nursing administration at Columbia University’s Teachers College, Dr. Poulin returned to Massachusetts, where she was the chair of the graduate program in nursing administration for 17 years at Boston University until she retired in 1989. Dr. Poulin has strengthened the profession of nursing nationally and internationally, and she has been an inspirational role model to nurses everywhere.

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