Linda Richards

The recipient of the first diploma awarded by the nation’s first school of nursing, Linda Richards recognized the nation’s need for professionally-trained nurses and dedicated her life’s work toward the creation of training institutions to meet that need, in hospitals, homes and communities.

Richards’ mission began when she struggled to find competent nurses’ training; after her education at the New England Hospital for Women and Children, she became superintendent of the new Boston Training School and developed a curriculum for the trainees and got them admission to work in all wards of the hospital. She learned from Florence Nightingale in England, and later traveled to Japan to establish nursing schools. During her life, Richards established and headed a large number of training schools, and became the first president of the American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools. She also established special institutions for those with mental illness.

The nation’s first professional nurse had transformed her profession, bringing the work of nursing from menial chores to the great caregiving profession of today.

Year Honored: 1994
Birth: 1841 - 1930
Achievements: Science