Prominent Male Nurses Throughout History
Although today's nursing profession primarily comprises women, there have also been many men throughout history who helped shape the occupation. In fact, centuries ago in India, only men were considered noble and pure enough to be nurses (crazy, we know!). In keeping with the article's topic, six of the most prominent male nurses elsewhere in the world in history are given honorable mentions below.
St. Benedict, known as San Benedetto da Norcia in his country of origin, was a Christian saint during the years 480 to 547 CE/AD. Benedict was honored by both the Anglican and Catholic churches as the Patron Saint in Europe. While he was mostly known for his religious teachings and for founding Western Monasticism, he was also known for his spiritual ability to heal various inflammatory disorders.
Often referred to as St. John of God, Juan Ciudad was born in Portugal and became one of the most prominent religious figures in neighboring Spain. As a young man, Ciudad served as a soldier for the Spanish army. However, he is known most for his books on religion. As his spirituality grew, Ciudad organized a healthcare facility known as the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God acting as a nurse until shortly before his death in 1550.
Moving on to the United States, James Derham was a man born into slavery during the year 1757. During his young adult years, Derham worked as a nurse for a variety of doctors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By saving the money he earned as a nurse, Derham was able to buy his freedom in 1783. As a free man, Derham continued his medical studies and opened his own medical practice specializing in diseases and disorders of the throat.
You probably know Walt Whitman as being one of the best writers and poets in history. But did you know that Whitman devoted much of his adult life to caring for others? In fact, Whitman created most of his best works while volunteering his services as a nurse during the American Civil War! Many of Whitman's most prized works were influenced by the plight of American Soldiers during the war.
Joining the United States Army Corps. as a nurse anesthetist in 1955, Edward Lyon paved the way for male nurses in the U.S. military. At the time when Lyon was commissioned to the U.S. Army Corps., he joined 3,500 other nurses, all of whom were women. Thanks to the efforts of Lyon and a woman by the name of Representative Francis Bolton of Ohio, by the year 1990, about 30 percent of nurses in the military were men.
Jumping forward to the late twentieth century, Joe Hogan was an African-American male who helped put an end to sex-segregated higher education programs. In 1979, Hogan applied for admission into the nursing program at Mississippi University for Women. While he was denied admission, Hogan sued the school on the basis of violating the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. As a result of Hogan's case, schools cannot ban students from educational facilities based on gender.