Newsletter by Barbara Mintzer

Barbara Mintzer's Newsletter
The Power of a Vision... a Leader's Journey

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May 2004
A Short Biography of Clara Barton

For all the nursing professionals who read my Newsletter, this one is dedicated to you. National Nurses Week is this month, and I will be on the road speaking to nursing professionals in hospitals and medical facilities across the United States . What an honor for me! The following is a short biography of Clara Barton, as her story is an inspiration to all of us. You don't have to be a nurse, or even in the medical field, to be moved and motivated by her deeds and her spirit. She had a devotion to human welfare that made her world famous.

Originally a teacher, Clara Barton actually opened a free school in Bordentown , New Jersey in order to educate the children of that city. When the school grew to over 600 students, the school board decided to hire a man to run the school instead of Ms. Barton. That was in 1854. Exhausted physically and emotionally, Clara Barton moved to Washington , D.C. where she worked as a clerk in the U.S. Patent Office. When the Civil War broke out, she resigned that job to volunteer to help meet the needs of the army that had arrived to defend the city.

When the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment arrived in Washington , their luggage, as happens to may travelers still, had been lost. Clara Barton gathered old sheets and began tearing them to use as towels and handkerchiefs for the men. She began cooking for them to provide them warm food and nourishment. After the Battle of Bull Run, she heard terrible reports of the shortages of medical supplies to treat the wounded. She took out an advertisement asking for bandages, socks and other goods. On her own, she gathered the supplies together and carried them to the wounded soldiers in the field.

In 1862 she got permission from the government to accompany the transports in any direction in order to aid the ill and wounded. During those years she showed courage, endurance and more than an ample supply of resourcefulness on the battlefield as she cared for those who had been injured. She even became known as "the angel of the battlefield." When the war was over she set about supervising a Federal search for missing soldiers and lecturing others about the need to care for victims.

In 1869 she was on the way to Europe for a rest, but soon found herself in the midst of the Franco-Prussian War. Willing to help, she worked with the International Red Cross distributing supplies in France and Germany . Because the United States had not been a part of the Geneva Convention of 1864 which had created the International Red Cross, Clara Barton saw a need for an American Red Cross. Primarily through her efforts, that organization of help and comfort was formed in 1881. For the next 23 years she directed its relief activities, caring for people and gathering supplies for the needy. In 1900, at age 79, she supervised her last operation, personally directing the help to the survivors of the tragic hurricane in Galveston , Texas that narly wiped that town off the face of the map.

With that kind of caring spirit, Clara Barton made a significant contribution to the lives of many, many people. She showed that caring is the highest value in human relationships and that apathy is the greatest evil. Someone once asked Clara Barton if she liked what she did. Her reply was: "You must never so much as think whether you like it or not, whether it is bearable or not; you must never think of anything except the need, and how to meet it." We need more folks like her!

What you have just read was from my colleague Larry Crider's column "Living and Learning." If you are interested in receiving his column, you can contact Larry at and tell him you read his Clara Barton column in my Newsletter, and you would like to be put on his mailing list. You won't be disappointed ... I subscribe to his column and I am always inspired and motivated by his writing.

If you are looking for a gift for your staff to say "thank you" for the great job they do day in and day out, I would like to suggest two gifts. The first one is the t-shirt that I offer at all of my programs that would be "perfect" for the nurses on your staff. It is a white t-shirt, with red and blue writing that says  "I am not pushed by my problems, I'm led by my dreams"  This t-shirt comes in large and extra-large. The cost is $12 per shirt; three shirts for $30. The second gift is an autographed copy of the book I co-authored Thriving in the Midst of Change . This book is $15; two for $25. You may purchase a book and a t-shirt for each of your staff for $25. Please visit my website for information on the book and a description of my chapter of the book.

I wish all of you a wonderful Nurses Week celebration, and do know my hat is off to  each and every one of you for the vital work you do. To all my readers, have a wonderful month.

About the Author

Barbara Mintzer is a nationally recognized speaker and consultant with over 30 years in business and health care. She speaks from experience! Her how-to programs provide participants with immediately applicable skills and strategies for getting buy-in and commitment from staff and staying on top of their professions in today's competitive and constantly changing workplace. Barbara presents keynote talks and breakout sessions for international, national, regional and state Conferences. She also conducts management retreats and in-house seminars. She facilitates panel discussions and roundtables at the same meeting...a good investment for your meeting budget. To explore the possibility of having Barbara speak at your next event, or work with your staff/leadership team, please contact her office.

Phone: (805) 964-7546
FAX: (805) 964-9636

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