August 20, 1872

Dr. Susan Dimock Begins Medical Residency

Greater Boston

On this day in 1872, Dr. Susan Dimock became the resident physician at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston. Only a month earlier, she had returned from medical school in Europe, where there was less hostility to women becoming doctors. In her three years at the New England Hospital, she handled day-to-day management, cared for patients, and performed surgery. Her most lasting contribution, however, was her work to improve the training of nurses. In Dimock's program, students not only worked on the wards, they also attended lectures and studied anatomy. Tragedy struck before Susan Dimock could see how much the professionalization of nursing did to transform American health care. She died in a shipwreck at the age of 28.

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