Names Blog

Articles about names and naming.

Heroes of Health Care

, ,

If you find yourself searching for baby names inspired by doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers these days, you’re not alone. People everywhere are looking for ways to say “thank you” to those who put their lives on the line for our safety.

Obstetricians may be even more in demand in the future, as some people have predicted a baby boom after couples snuggling a little more closely on the couch than usual!

So here is a list of iconic healthcare providers to honor our doctors, nurses, pharmacists, tech assistants, office staff, and EMTs – all healthcare workers everywhere who have taken their rightful place as the heroes of today.

Archie – Yes, we know it’s a royal name these days, but it’s also the nickname for Scottish surgeon, botanist and naturalist Archibald Menzies (1754-1842) who spent years at sea with the Royal Navy, private merchants and the Vancouver Expedition.

Antonia – Puerto Rican physician and public health administrator Dr. Antonia Novello (b. 1944) is the first woman and first Hispanic person to serve as Surgeon General of the United States. Antonia is the feminine form of the old Roman surname Antony, which has an unknown meaning.

Avery — In honor of Dr. Oswald Theodore Avery (1877-1955), the first person to accurately break down human DNA and identify genes and chromosomes. Avery means ‘Elf Ruler’ and is of English origin.

Bradbury – For anyone who likes a little sports with their medicine, Bradbury Robinson (1884-1949) holds the distinction of having made the first legal forward pass in American football history for St. Louis University, while he was a medical school student.

Clara Barton in an old fashioned nurse's uniform

Clara Barton

Clara – Self-taught in the days before nursing school, Clarissa “Clara” Harlowe Barton (1821-1912) cared for soldiers during the American Civil War, and founded the Red Cross. Clara is of Latin origin and means ‘illustrious.’

Dorothea – Humanitarian and social reformer Dorothea Dix (1802-1887) spent over 40 years lobbying for mental health standards and created the first generation of American mental asylums. Dorothea is of Greek origin and means ‘gift of God.’

Florence – Social reformer and healthcare pioneer Florence Nightengale (1820-1910) was the founder of modern nursing and once reduced the death rate in one army camp by 42 percent to 2 percent. Florence means ‘prosperous’ and ‘flowering.’

Forrest – Air force veteran and physician Forrest Morton Bird (1921-2015) created the first reliable mechanical ventilator used in cardiopulmonary care. This English name means, ‘of the woods.’

Gerolama – Mathematician, physician and biologist Gerolama Cardano (1501-1576) was alternately referred to as Girolama and Geronimo, and was also known as a physicist, chemist, astrologer, astronomer, philosopher, writer and gambler. The name Girolamo/Gerolama means Holy Name and is of Italian origin. It is an Italian form of the name Jerome.

Izzie – The fictional character from long-running ABC medical drama television series Grey’s Anatomy, Isobel ‘Izzie’ Katherine Stevens was played by Katherine Heigl from 2005-2010.

Jane – Jane is a classically beautiful name, and it’s worth noting that Dr. Jane Cooke Wright (1919-2013) was a prominent 20th-century cancer researcher and head of the Harlem Cancer Research Foundation, who conducted pioneering work in chemotherapy.

John Snow – No, not that Jon Snow. John Snow with an H (1813-1858) was an important doctor of the early 19th century is considered the founder of modern epidemiology. Dr. Snow solved the mystery of deadly cholera outbreaks in Victorian London (it was the water supply).

Joycelyn – Celebrating Joycelyn Elders (b. 1933), appointed US Surgeon General by President Clinton and influential in public health and sex education. The name is a combination of Joy, or ‘happiness,’ and Jocelyn, meaning ‘little goth.’

Lafayette – Physician, author, explorer and member of the Mariposa Battalion, Lafayette Bunnell (1824-1903) was said to have been the first non-native to enter Yosemite valley. Lafayette is originally a French surname meaning, ‘land of the beech tree.

Lillian – American nurse, humanitarian and author Lillian D. Wald (1867-1940) was known for her contributions to human rights and, in 1893, founded the Visiting Nurse Service. Lillian is an English name that means ‘lily.’

Smiling doctor in scrubs: Dr. Magdi Yacoub

Dr. Magdi Yacoub

Love – Dr. Susan Love (b. 1948) is an American surgeon and respected health care specialist, author and advocate for preventive breast cancer research. The name Love is of Old English origin and means, just as you’d think, ‘affection.’

Magdi – Sir Magdi Yacoub (b. 1935) is an Egyptian cardiologist and one of the most prominent heart and lung transplant physicians in medical history.

Maggie – Nickname for Margaret, after the Irish Catholic leader in women’s contraceptive education Margaret Sanger (1879-1966), one of 11 children. Margaret is an English name meaning, ‘pearl.’

Maximillian – Swiss naturalist Dr. Maximillian Oskar Bircher-Benner (1867-1939) was the first person to prove that fruits and vegetables can cure disease. The name means ‘greatest’ and is of Latin origin.

Metrodora – Born sometime between 200-400 BCE, mononymed Metrodora was a Greek physician, student of Hippocrates, and author of the oldest medical book known to be written by a woman.

Rebecca – Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African-American woman to become a doctor of medicine in the United States on March 1, 1864. After the end of the Civil war, she provided medical care to freed slaves in Richmond, Virginia. In 1883, Rebecca published A Book of Medical Discourses which focused on her experiences, as well as providing medical advice for women and children.

Sanjay – American neurosurgeon and reporter Sanjay Gupta (b. 1969) is associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and has won multiple Emmy awards. Of Hindi and Sanskrit origin, the name Sanjay means ‘conquering, triumphant.’

We hope we’ve given you enough of a selection so that you do NOT resort to naming your baby Corona or Covid!

Names of...Heroes of Healthcare