Dorothy Cornelius (1918-1992) was a leader in nursing at the local, state, national and international level. She was Executive Director of the Ohio Nurses Association, President of the International Council of Nurses, President of the American Nurses Association, and President of the American Journal of Nursing company, the largest publisher of nursing periodicals in the world. Cornelius is the only person to have served in all of those positions.
Cornelius was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital in Johnstown, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. She was director of nursing for the Tuberculosis Hospital in Pittsburgh and served as Lieutenant Junior Grade, United States Navy Nurse Corps during World War II. She was chief nurse of the American Red Cross blood program in Cleveland before joining the Ohio Nurses Association, where she served as director for 26 years.
Under Cornelius’ leadership, nurses gained mandatory licensure in Ohio, established the Economic and General Welfare program, and developed a strong practice program to support Ohio nurses. She was appointed to state and federal committees dealing with nursing and health care issues, and was respected by physicians, hospital administrators and her community. Cornelius most valued sitting down with young staff nurses to discuss nursing issues. She was a mentor to many and a supporter of all. She wanted registered nurses to have the voice and respect they deserved and she worked hard to make it happen.
Cornelius was honored as a Legend in 2008.