Nursing

Florence Nightingale, the original Nurse Leader

Nurse Leader Insider, May 12, 2016

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Nurses’ Week celebrates nurse contributions around the world, but it is also in celebration of Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Below is an excerpt from Nursing Professional Development: A Practical Guide for Evidence-Based Education about Nightingale’s influence on the nursing profession.

“Florence Nightingale was an innovator truly far ahead of her time. Born in 1820 to a wealthy British family, she was raised in a privileged atmosphere and received a more thorough education than was typically given to girls of that era. However, Nightingale’s determination to pursue nursing as a career was, in the eyes of her family, an appalling idea (Carroll, 1992).

In the mid-19th century, women who called themselves nurses were usually uneducated and, for the most part, looking for an easy way to earn some money that often included stealing from those who were their patients. Nightingale obtained what minimal education was available at that time and, in 1853, assumed her first role as a nurse in London as the superintendent of the Institution for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen. Within a year of assuming this position, she was approached by the British Secretary of War to take command of a group of women who were going to Scutari in Turkey to care for sick and wounded soldiers serving in the Crimean War (Carroll, 1992).

As a result of her interventions, the morbidity and mortality rate of the soldiers in her care improved. She was a brilliant statistician who gathered and analyzed data to conduct what is arguably the first significant nursing research. Nightingale used her findings to teach the nurses under her supervision how to provide better care for patients and how to measure success based on patient outcomes. After returning home to England after the war, Nightingale used what she had learned through her research to establish hospital-based training schools for nurses. These schools had both education and moral standards that helped to enhance the reputation of nursing as well as those women who fulfilled the role of nurse…

Throughout her life, Nightingale continued to observe, gather data, and analyze findings to improve the education and training of nurses. Her innovations were implemented throughout the British Empire and, in conjunction with the work of nurse leaders in America, in the United States. Basic standards of rest, cleanliness, nutrition, and environmental comfort implemented first in wartime and then in civilian healthcare settings, remain the foundation of healthcare to this day.”

To purchase this book, visit the HCPro Marketplace. Use the discount code NRSWK2016 during checkout to receive 20% off!



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