Posted: March 28th, 2021

The Life and Impact of Dorothea Dix

On a list featuring big nursing names like Florence Nightingale and Mary Mahoney, Throated Dixie is a strange choice for a landmark woman of nursing considering she had little formal training in the science of nursing.But her interest in the psychological well-being of mental patients, impact on he practice of nursing and the American medical care system through social reform and humanitarian acts more than earns her a place in the nursing hall of fame (Staff Writers, 2009). Abstract In the nineteenth century Throated Dixie is most known for her life’s work as an advocate to reform mental health, she campaigned vigorously for people with mental illness and establish more state hospital for the community, She was a Boston school teacher, and taught Sunday-school at a local prison.

She was shocked at the conditions the inmates lived. Another major role played by Dorothy Dixie, was promote moral and humane treatment and protection of mentally ill patients in the United States.

She is also famous for her tireless efforts as the Superintendent of Nursing during the Civil War from 1861 1865. Without question Throated Dixie was a great woman whose work inspired the foundation for 21 SST century healthcare system in place today. Biography Throated Dixie was born Throated Lynda Dixie on April 4th, 1 802 to parents Joseph Dixie and Mary’ Biggest Dixie in Maine (Bum, n. . ).

Her father was a traveling Methodist preacher who circuited the Maine frontier. Die’s home life was turbulent. Her mother showed symptoms of mental illness and her ether was a notable alcoholic. The situation grew worse when the couple birthed two sons, Joseph and Charles Dixie after moving to Worcester, Massachusetts. With two parents incapable of rearing for their own children, the role of caring for her brothers fell squarely on young Die’s shoulders (Bum, n. D. .

When she was 12 years old, Dixie was forced to leave her parents household and made to stay in Boston with her grandmother. Being a wealthy, societal woman Madame Dixie was disappointed with her granddaughters propensity for charity for the less fortunate and sent Dixie to live with her aunt in Worcester. Inspired to become more “lady like’ so that she could return home to her brothers, Dixie did her best to comply with her aunt and grandmothers wishes (Bum, n. D. ).Two short years later at the tender age of 14, Dixie opened a school for young girls after being informed of their plight by her second cousin Edward Bangs (Bum, n. D.

). She opened a “little dame school” with his support where she remained a teacher and educational author for two decades until she became a full time advocate for social reform of the psychiatric care system in the United States (Bum, n. D. , p. 2). Life and Impact Throated Dixie is most notable for a “long stark, and arresting” address she made in January of 1843 to the state legislature of Massachusetts (United States History, n. .

). The address was the result of painstaking research Dixie had accumulated from travels across the United States to insane asylums, prisons, and poorhouses where mentally ill patients were being chained like animals, kept in filth, and treated with incorrigible cruelty. Her 1843 address to law makers would be her first successful appeal since she began her life’s work in 1841 (United States History, n. D. ). Her honesty, initiative, and vision inspired others to follow her in revolutionize the way that the mentally ill were conceived in society and cared from medicine.Her most notable supporters were prominent men like Horace Mann, (educator) and Charles Sumner (statesman) (United States History, n.

D. ). Throated Dixie would continue to be a champion of the mentally ill in America until her death in 1887, but her contributions to social healthcare reform did not stop in psychiatry. Throated Dixie recruited her powerful leadership skills in the aid of the Union forces after the April, 1861 attack on Fort Sumter (United States History, n. D. ).She used her well-developed research and orator skills to convince military leaders develop a female nursing program to aid wounded soldiers.

It was an unheard of concept in the late 19th century and was met with opposition at first. But Throated Dixie recruited and organized some 3,000 women into an efficient corps that provided important medical care to soldiers on the battlefield (United States History, n. D. ). She was named Superintendent of Female Nurses and lived up to her title.She was resourceful and tough. When necessary supplies were not forthcoming, Dixie ere them from private sources.

She was honorably dubbed “Dragon Dixie” by her military commanders and helped forge a new opportunities for women not only in the military and nursing, but as potential equals in all American society to their male counterparts (Dixie, Throated (1802 – 1 887), n. D). Conclusion Throated Dixie was a leader, a revolutionary, a humanist, and most importantly a generous and kind person.She embodied the most fundamental core competencies of what a nurse should be. She saw the inhumanity in the treatment of the mentally ill in the Lignite States during her mime period and worked change it. She faced social, sexual, and financial obstacles while serving in the bloodiest conflict in American history, the Civil War, and managed to steamroll through to assist men and women in need (Encyclopedia of the American Civil War, n. D.

). After studying her life and achievements one thing stands out above the rest, her vision.Without her personal and professional vision, Dixie would never have been the woman responsible for the reform that led to the creation Of 1 10 additional mental institutions between 1843 and 1880 (United States History, n. . ). More than the buildings and institutions that were created in the light of her modern world view, Throated Dixie and her supporters began to shape the most basic principle of modern nursing that is to provide care without bias towards race, ethnicity, sexuality, illness, or belief. All people regardless of their circumstance deserved to be treated with kindness, respect, and dignity by those who care for them.

Dixie revolutionized the caring for the mentally ill by pushing for the development of clean mental facilities where patient could have daily schedules, the opportunity to develop routine habits, proper food and water, access to medicine within a safe caring environment (North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, 2012). On a personal note, the very fact that Dixie overcame personal barriers including abuse, violence, and discrimination to be a successful and well respected woman in an age where the most notable woman were overcast by men, speaks deeply to me. Respect this woman, not only for what she did, but for who she was.


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