Her Legacy Lives

Born May 12, 1820 – Died August 13, 1910

Florence Nightingale died 101 years ago today.  Florence is widely credited with elevating the profession of nursing to a respectable profession.  In the Dark Ages, male monks routinely provided care to the sick – in 17th century Europe, “nursing care” was provided by men and women serving punishment, and frequently by prostitutes too old or ill themselves to continue that profession.  Wikipedia states “They had a reputation for being drunk and obnoxious, a view amplified by the doctors of the time to make themselves seem more important and able…” Hmmm…

Florence was from a wealthy family and was educated as a statistician.  Her insistence on clean dressings, fresh air, clean linens and sanitary hospital conditions – combined with her meticulous recordkeeping, provided evidence for the need for change in caring for the sick and wounded.  Her pioneering work improving the conditions for soldiers in the Crimean War laid the foundation for her book “Notes on Nursing”. In 1860 she established a nursing school at St. Thomas Hospital in London.  She was also known as “The Lady with the Lamp” for her routine of making rounds at night.

In 1998 I travelled to London and visited St. Thomas Hospital.  I also visited Embley Park, one of the Nighingale family homes.

In the back of the home was a tree with a low branch, and it was reported by the tour guide the Florence often sat on that branch and wrote about nursing, and it was at Embley Park where Ms. Nightingale reported being called to nursing by God.   I sat on that branch and a photograph was taken, but somehow in our move, it was misplaced.

I have a great deal of respect for the work and spirit of Ms. Nightingale.  Upon graduating nursing school, I took a pledge similar to this one (which is the original pledge).

I solemnly pledge myself before God and presence of this assembly;
To pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully.
I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug.
I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling.
With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.

I can’t say that I have passed my life in purity, and I haven’t always abstained for what is deleterious or mischievous, but I can say that I have always practiced my profession faithfully.  I consider it an honor, and a privilege, to be a nurse.  And I honor Florence Nightingale on the anniversary of her death.

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6 Comments

Filed under General Mumblings, Uncategorized

6 responses to “Her Legacy Lives

  1. I am thankful for nurses, and I am grateful my oldest sister is a nurse. Florence Nightingale as a source of inspiration/admiration – perfect!

  2. Born in 1820, died in 1910 is a legacy alone to her practice. Thank you for sharing with us what you do and the seriousness and compassion with which you approach it. Our life’s work has to fulfill us, doesn’t it? And I can see yours does.

    • Yes, it has to fulfill us. When I talk with people who are miserable in their jobs/professions, I know just how lucky I am. I’ve always thought that each patient takes a little molecule of my soul with them, and leaves one of theirs with me. Otherwise the profession would consume one, and burnout (quite common for nurses) occurs.

  3. I just love posts that bring in a bit of history and tie it to someone’s life. This was perfect for nursing! And I thank you for your profession; anyone who has been in a hospital, luvs their nurse. I know I did.

    • Well, not everyone in the hospital loves their nurse…I have been yelled at, cursed at, and smacked a few times. Most are great – but some dispositions are not improved by pain, sickness and fear. You see the real person, and the real family dynamics, usually. But I still love it.

  4. You pretty much said what i could not effectively communicate. +1

    My blog:
    DSL Anbieter http://www.dslvergleichdsl.com

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