7 Famous People You Never Knew Were Nurses

famous people who were nurses

Looking at the success of our history’s famous persons, have you ever wondered what they previously did to earn a living? It may sound unbelievable but some famous people once worked as nurses before they became well-known to the public. We’ve no doubt their nursing experience helped in some way or another in their new careers.

Here’s a list of famous people who were once nurses before. Do you already know their untold nursing careers?

Naomi Mitchison

Novelist and Poet

naomi mitchinson

Naomi Mitchison came from an affluent family and initially pursued a scientific career in early developments of genetics. When World War I broke out, she abandoned her degree course in science to study home nursing and first aid instead. In 1915, she joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment at St. Thomas’ Hospital. Her nursing career ended quickly after her marriage in 1916.

When she settled down after her marriage, she began writing novels and other literary works. She became famous for historical novels and she was considered as one of the best historical novelists around. She was an avid writer as she penned over 90 books in her entire lifetime.

Trivia: While serving at the Voluntary Aid Detachment during World War I, she contracted scarlet fever. This incident curtailed her service in St. Thomas’ Hospital.

Also Read: 30 Most Famous Nurses in History

Paul Brandt

Country Music Artist

paul brandt

Paul Brandt is a Country Music Artist from Alberta, Canada. He finished his nursing studies at Calgary’s Mount Royal and later work at Alberta Children’s Hospital. Brandt worked as a pediatric nurse for two years before he had his big break in the music industry.

In 1996, Warner Records took a shot on his demos and invested in his talent for country music. Through Warner Records, Brandt released his first single “My Heart Has A History”. It became an international success as it reached the Top 10 Billboard Hot Country Songs.

Trivia: Brandt’s father is a paramedic. He got his inclination to the medical profession from seeing his father’s work when he was young.

Bonnie Hunt


bonnie hunt

Bonnie Hunt is an oncology nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. In 1988, she got her first minor movie role in Tom Cruise’s movie “Rain Man”. Her patients were her first fans and they encouraged her to pursue her passion for acting. She later on became a successful actress, talkshow host, writer and comedienne.

Bonnie Hunt Rain Man
Bonnie Hunt as Sally Dibs in Rain Man

Trivia: When Hunt was given the opportunity to pursue acting, she initially had second thoughts. Her patients encouraged her and said “Don’t fear failure and go. Fail now and you will fail for the rest of your life”.

Alberta Hunter

African-American Jazz Singer and Songwriter

alberta hunter

Alberta Hunter is a world-renowned African-American Jazz singer and songwriter. She began her singing career at age 15 where she moved between different clubs to sing jazz blues and earn a living. She became famous for her lyric improvisation and original compositions. She toured different parts of the US and Europe as she became internationally known for her talent in jazz music.

When Hunter’s mother died in 1957, the singer ended her career and moved to the nursing profession. She managed to falsify her age and invented a highschool diploma so she could enroll in a nursing school. After finishing her nursing training, she worked as a nurse in Goldwater Memorial Hospital for 20 years.

Trivia: Goldwater Memorial Hospital forced Hunter to retirement when she turned 70 years old in their record. At that time, since she falsified her age in her filed documents, the hospital didn’t know that she was actually 82 years old. She returned to singing after retirement and successfully remade a mark in the entertainment industry.

Also Read: 12 Badass Nurses in History You Probably Don’t Know

Julie Walters

Actress and Writer

Julie Walters

Julie Walters is an English actress and writer. She struggled with her academics when she was young and her mother suggested trying more socially inclined professions like teaching or nursing. She pursued nursing and finished her training in Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

After finishing her training, Walters continued to work as a nurse in casualty, coronary care and opthalmic wards of Queen Elizabeth Hospital. She left her nursing position after 18 months to pursue acting. She studied English and drama at Manchester Polytechnic before moonlighting in theater acting.

Trivia: After leaving the nursing profession, Walters left London and followed her boyfriend in Manchester where she first started her theater career.

Carolyn McCarthy


Carolyn McCarthy

Carolyn McCarthy has been famous for her work in stricter gun control. In 1993, her husband was killed and her son was injured in the Long Island Rail Road Shooting. Since then, she fought and advocated for strict gun control which brought her to the Congress in 1996. While serving her duties in the Congress, she is well-known as the “fiercest gun control advocate in the Congress” and the “doyenne of anti-gun advocates in the House”.

Before the Long Island Rail Road Shooting, McCarthy was working as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). She initially wanted to be a teacher but she was diagnosed with dyslexia and advised to pursue other professions.

Trivia: McCarthy gained inspiration to work as an LPN when she took care of her boyfriend after a car accident.

Naomi Judd

Singer and Songwriter

Naomi Judd

Naomi Judd is a country music singer and songwriter. After having her daughters at age 22, she ended her marriage and became a single parent. She then studied nursing at the College of Marin and worked as an ICU nurse. She became determined to become a nurse when her brother tragically died at a young age.

As Judd continued working in ICU, one of her patients persuaded her to audition with record label RCA together with her daughter Wynona. The duo, known as The Judds, thrived in country music industry and won several Grammy awards. They sold over 20 million albums and videos within seven years.

Trivia: Judd contracted Hepatitis C from a suspected needlestick injury she sustained while working as an ICU nurse. After being diagnosed with Hepatitis C, she retired from the music industry. She created the Naomi Judd Education and Research Fund to raise public awareness about Hepatitis C.

It’s amazing to know that these famous persons once wore scrub suits and provided nursing care to their patients. If you are looking for a refreshing dose of inspiration for your career, just look for similar behind-the-success stories. Get fascinated with how they pursued nursing before becoming successful in other fields. The possibilities are endless!