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Mary Breckinridge

Famous Nurses Who Made History

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Mary Breckinridge

Founder of the New Model of Rural Health Care & Frontier Nursing Service (1881 to 1965) Mary Breckinridge came from an influential family and enjoyed a privileged childhood. Unfortunately, though, her 2 own children did not endure childhood. This was the most notable accounts of Mary Breckinridge that are associated with her decision to dedicate her life in improving health of poor women and children in rural areas of America. Breckinridge became a registered nurse 1910 at St. Lukes Hospital School of Nursing in New York, worked as public health nurse in Boston and Washington D.C., served as nurse during World War I in France through the American Red Cross, and furthered her study at Columbia University after WWI. She then focused on the poor areas in Kentucky, where shes rooted. She looked into the health status of those living in inaccessible areas with no physicians. Mary found high maternal mortality due to lack of prenatal care, having many children, and no trained mid wives. These problems brought her to London to become nurse midwife, and came to Scotland to learn effective community midwifery system for the poor. After equipping herself for the challenging nurse midwife job to the rural America, Mary Breckinridge began serving in Kentucky in 1925, wherein she introduced the new system of rural health care. In that same year, she established Frontier Nursing Service, providing care for low service fee. In areas covered, maternal and neonatal mortality rates significantly dropped. FNS is still serving mothers and children down to this very day.


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