Clara Barton: A Nurse Leader

Satisfactory Essays
What is a Nurse Leader?

A Nurse Leader is one who has a specific vision for the overall greater good and the personal drive to make that vision become a reality. There are many things that contribute to being a leader and Clara Barton is an excellent example of this. This paper will discuss the life of Clara Barton, what makes her a leader and her impact on the nursing world as a whole.

Clara Barton

Clara Barton was born on December 25th, 1821 in North Oxford, Massachusetts. She was the youngest of five children and at the young age of 11, Clara found her calling. Her brother suffered an accident and it was Clara who helped nurse him back to health. However, because of her shyness as a child, Clara struggled in school and it was recommended by a phrenologist that she become a teacher to overcome her issues of shyness. In May of 1838, Clara began her career as a teacher. In 1850, Clara moved to Bordentown, New Jersey to further her education and while she was there, she helped open a free public school, which was non-existent prior to her relocation. With the passing of years, came several life changes for Clara. She eventually made her way to Washington, D.C. where she worked as the first female clerk in the U.S. Patent Office. It was here in Washington, D.C. during the American Revolution where Clara got word of The Baltimore Riot and made the decision to leave the Patent Office in order to help tend to the wounded soldiers. But it wasn’t until after going back to North Oxford to help care for her dying father in 1861, did she fully commit to nursing in order to help her country win the war. In 1862, she returned to Washington and began her campaign to travel to the field hospitals, which was a only allowed by...

... middle of paper ...

... battle. Oates (1994) states, “What was more, the war had given Clara and her entire generation of women a new sense of worth.” (p. 377) Oates goes on to quote Clara “that she had character, and firmness of purpose-that she was good for something in an emergency.” (p. 377) Clara went against the odds and fought for her calling as a nurse during a time where most women wouldn’t even think of doing that. By doing so, she became a role model for women of her era and nurses of the future.


Clara Barton made great headway as a woman and as nurse in a time that was primarily dominated by men. She gained immense respect by those around her; she was listened to and trusted. Her efforts during the Civil War were only the beginning of a life long legacy that she would leave behind and for that, she without a doubt is one of America’s finest nurse leaders.
Get Access