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well recognized for her patient advocacy in struggling to improve the condition of a mental asylum and jails, in North America and Europe (Parry, 2006).
Dix quitted her career as a schoolteacher at the age of 24-years, and began to explore her second career as a nurse at the age of 39-years (Parry, 2006). She was not a nurse by profession, but the situation allowed her practice as a nurse since the present nursing practices were not yet developed. She became one of the pioneers of the modern nursing, and introduced the key value that drives the provision of quality nursing care through patient advocacy. Her nursing career was inspired, in 1841, when she visited the Cambridge House of Correction to teach Women inmates’ Sunday class (Dolan, 1968). The scenes and conditions she witnessed, in this correctional center were nearly identical to the scenes in “mental health” facilities she had visited throughout Europe and North America. She discovered that mentally ill patients shared the same facilities with prison inmates who are usually confined in enclosed and filthy spaces, without proper clothing, and sexually and physically abused (Dolan, 1968).
From her personal experiences as a mentally ill patient, she decided to challenge how inmates and mentally ill patients are treated, in the court. She filed a number of lawsuits where she won many cases. Her first plan was to improve care for the mentally ill patients and condition of jails throughout Massachusetts. Dix played a number of significant roles in the establishment and expansion of more than 30 hospitals for the mentally ill patients (Parry, 2006). She is a renowned activist in international and national movements that advocated for the rights of the mentally ill patients, and challenged the notion that people with mental problems cannot be helped or cured. She also criticized the harsh and neglectful practices and conditions the mentally ill patients are subjected to, and these include painful physical
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