Dix took a job at a jail teaching inmates in an East Cambridge Prison, where the conditions were so terrible and the treatment of prisoners were so inhumane that she began working to improve conditions.
Dix had been staying in the Mansion House Hotel in Raleigh while trying to get a bill passed to help her help the mentally ill. While she was there Dix was a nurse for her patience, Mrs. James Dobbins, and nursed her through her final illness. Mrs. Dobbins husband was the leading democratic in the house of commons, and her dying wish was for him to support Dix’s bill. Mr. Dobbins went to the House of Commons and made a compassionate speech of why they should pass the bill. The legislation passed their vote, and on January 29th 1849 it became a law.
Dix’s hospital took 7 years to build and was on a hill that overlooked raleigh. It opened up to patients in 1856. Dorothea Dix refused to let the hospital be named after her but agreed to have the hill named after her father. The hill was called Dix Hill. 100 years latter the General Assembly voted to change the name of Dix Hill Asylum to Dorothea Dix Hospital.