degree in nursing education at Columbia University teachers college where she become part of the Columbia school of nursing theory (Barnard, 1990, 15). Hendersons nursing career began in 1921, at Henry Street Visiting Nurse Association, New York and two years in the profession she proceeded to the Visiting Nurse Association, Washington, D. C. where she practiced for one year until 1924. In the same year Norfolk Protestant Hospital, Norfolk, Virginia, offered Henderson a chance to work as a Supervisor and Clinical instructor in the Outpatient department until 1930.
It was here where Henderson took an active role in the state nurses association She proceeded on to join the Teachers College, Columbia University in New York as an instructor and Associate Professor, a career she served competently till 1948. Henderson burning desire for the profession did not end there, in 1953; she joined the Yale University School of Nursing, New Haven, Connecticut, as a Research Associate and the year 1971 saw Henderson become a research associate with Research Associate Emeritus (Reniers, 1941, 89).
During her nursing career, Henderson made some national and international achievements that made her to be identified as the quintessential nurse of the twentieth century. She became the recipient of the Virginia Historical Nurse Leader award and a Member of the American nurses Association Hall of fame while at Norfolk Protestant school of Nursing as a full time nursing instructor She is also respected for proposing the plan for creating districts in the Graduate Nurses association of Virginia currently know as Virginia Nurses association and advocating for the psychiatric nursing to be included in the curriculum.
She has served in the committees that came up with the course at Eastern state Hospital based in Williamsburg, Virginia in the year 1929. It was in June, 1985 that Henderson was awarded with the first Christianne Reimann Prize by the international Council of nurses and in 1988 she won the Virginia Historical Nurse Leadership award as well as recognition by the Virginia nurses association as one if the fifty-one pioneer nurses in Virginia in 2000. The Library of Sigma Theta Tau International was also named in her honor and she was bestowed with honorary degrees from some thirteen (Reiners, 1941, 96).
Henderson has been famed for authoring the her nursing definition the nurse has the unique obligation of helping the person who is either sick or well, to perform the activities that contribute to health as well as its recovery till a peaceful death which he was in a position to perform without aid if he was having the required strength, knowledge or the will to do it. She has been referred to as the first lady of nursing as well as the first international true nurse.
This is mainly because of her contribution to the nursing profession where her writing, presentations and research work as well as her contact with nurses made some profound effects to the profession and impact on the care recipients by nurses all over the world (Barnard, 1990, 24). During her teaching career at Teacher College, Columbia University, Henderson was remembered for her outstanding character that attracted so many students from all over the world to study with her. Most nurses in the U.
S got the chance to study with her while at their home schools after her revision of Bertha Harmers book Textbook of the Principles and practice of Nursing was in wide use. Henderson while in Yale contributed to publication of Nursing Research a Survey and Assessment that was in collaboration with Leo Simonds. In addition to these she directed four volumes Nursing Studies Index, twelve years project that has been used intensively for reference over the years. Nature of Nursing, another Hendersons book that was published in 1966, elaborated her notion on the essence of nursing which later had a lot of influence to those who went through it.
At 75, she focused on the international teaching as well as speaking, enabling another generation to gain from contact with this quintessential nurse of the twentieth century. She described Nursing role to be related to the needs of the patient but not to the general nursing theory. Her work is useful and widely adapted by many nurses all over the world because it is believed to be practical and based on the experience of the profession. Henderson died at the age of 98, at the Connecticut Hospice and was laid down in her family plot of the churchyard, St.Stephens church, forest, Bedford County in Virginia (Power, 1998, 35).
Barnard F. Hollinger, Outside the Magic Circle: the Autobiography of Virginia Henderson, Alabama, University of Alabama Press, 1990, pp. 15, 24. Power Trace, Lees Miserables: Life in the army of Northern Virginia from the Wilderness to Appomattox, Carolina, University of North Carolina press, 1998, pp. 35. Reniers Perceval, the springs of Virginia: Life, love and Death at the Waters, Carolina, University of North Carolina Press, 1941, pp. 89, 96.