By Sherry Gordon-Harris
As a little girl, I played with baby dolls. I combed their hair, changed their clothes and fed them. I even put Band-Aids on their imaginary “boo-boos” just like when I got a minor scrape or bruise. I took care of them as I experienced my parents take care of me.
But my patients were only baby dolls. Many U.S. Army soldiers injured in combat received much-needed nursing care from one of the most honored women in American history. Her name is Clarissa “Clara” Harlowe Barton. She was a hospital nurse during the American Civil War.
Nursing education was not very formalized back then, so Clara provided self-taught nursing care. Her first nursing experience began in her teen years when she helped care for her seriously ill brother.
Clara also helped distribute needed supplies to the severely wounded soldiers in the Army. Her intense devotion to helping others earned her the nickname “Angel of the Battlefield.” Her mantra was “You must never think of anything except the need and how to meet it.”
Clara went on to become the visionary leader and founder of the American Red Cross. Its mission is to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. The legacy of Clara Barton lives on through the many volunteers and employees of the American Red Cross bringing help and hope across the nation and around the world.
Clara was also recognized for doing humanitarian work and civil rights advocacy at a time before women had the right to vote. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1973. Clara is just one of the many women who are deserving of recognition during March, Women’s History Month.
You can count on Health Alliance for a coordination of trusted high-quality health care, coverage and support. Like Clara Barton, we also have a passion and dedication for helping for people. We’re dedicated to providing innovative health solutions to take care of our members and our community. For more information, you can visit HealthAlliance.org.
Sherry Gordon-Harris is Community Liaison/Medicare Advisor at Health Alliance. She’s a wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys traveling, collecting dolls and hosting princess parties and pageants.
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