Florence Nightingale 2020: Experiencing the Founder of Modern Nursing in Present Day
Her work has resonated and impacted the world of nursing since the 1800s. But, how is the Lady with the Lamp still relevant today?
In the 110 years since her death, medicine and patient care have changed tremendously from what they were when Florence Nightingale was around. But, the effects of her efforts still ripple with such a force through the field of nursing that many nurses say she would still be a strong advocate today.
Imagine for a moment that Florence Nightingale was alive in the year 2020 (how amazing would that be?!). How would her work be felt within the industry? What role would she play in modern nursing? In what way would she be actively propelling nursing and medicine forward? Through the introduction of this topic, we can pull inspiration to continue with our efforts to better nursing.
Let’s begin by reviewing some ways how Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing as we know it, has already impacted the field.
● Education – Notes on Nursing: What it is and What it is Not was published by Nightingale in 1859. The book essentially established the elements of nursing that remain important to nurses throughout the world today; Safety, quality, cleanliness, confidentiality, and assessment are just some of the examples.
Furthering the importance and reach of education, Florence Nightingale also established the Nightingale Home and Training School for Nurses at St.Thomas Hospital in London in 1860. The school was to focus on the education of nurses through a year-long program that focused on subjects such as chemistry, physiology, ethics, sanitation, surgical nursing, and more.
● Patient Care – At the heart of everything Nightingale did was patient care. Through her nursing school, published book, and her efforts in the field, Nightingale taught her fellow nurses how to properly care for patients in hospitals, at home, and through midwife practices. Known as the “Lady of the Lamp”, Florence Nightingale made rounds consistently to check on her patients every night by the light of her lamp, ensuring regular care assessments were made.
● Hospital Improvement – Through Nightingale, hospitals saw a much-needed makeover. Sanitation and cleanliness methods were implemented, as well as structural designs improved; These changes improved patient outcomes and reduced veteran death rates. The changes she made still echo through the healthcare system today.
● Patient Involvement – One of the most important aspects of patient recovery that was stressed by Florence Nightingale was self-care; Meaning independence and patient involvement in their recovery were deemed essential. Hospitals were even cleaned by patients!
● Health Care Access – Nightingale placed a large emphasis of her work into advocating for veterans and the poor communities having access to proper care. This still resonates with the health community today in the way nurses prioritize patient care to those in need.
● Nurse Role Establishment – The development of the role of present-day nurses was established by Florence Nightingale herself. Prior to her, the role of nurses was considered unimportant and inconsistent due to a lack of consistent training. Today, due to Nightingale’s work, nurses hold respected and vital positions throughout the healthcare industry.
Quite a breathless list of attributions stemming from an amazing woman, right? Now, can you imagine the work Nightingale would be doing were she still alive today? By seeking inspiration through her tireless work, we can look to further our efforts in the healthcare industry in tremendously meaningful and impactful ways. Below, let’s take a look at what you might find Nightingale up to in 2020:
Nightingale was a big proponent of research and furthering advancement in healthcare and nursing through compiling data, assessing problems, and then developing informed solutions to resolve prevalent problems. We can only assume that, today, Nightingale would be continuing her innovations in the same manner.
One of the most important things nurses can do is advocate on behalf of their patient’s best interests and needed care. While it was important to Nightingale that nurses all followed the same guidelines, she also promoted nursing autonomy so that they could ensure patients were protected and supported when they weren’t in the position to advocate for themselves. Keeping this in mind, it’s not far fetched to assume that Nightingale would continue this work through human rights advocacy campaigns today.
Health Care Availability
Veteran and poorer community access to healthcare was at the forefront of everything Nightingale did. While she made large strides in improving veteran care access during the Crimean war, there’s still a long way to go in the present day to ensure critical healthcare needs are filled within the military communities and for those who can’t afford to pay for care. 2020 would probably find Nightingale pushing for more improvements within healthcare to ensure equal and necessary access for all.
Patient Care Improvement
Continued Veteran Health
In line with Nightingale’s approach to treating the whole patient, veteran healthcare saw a drastic improvement through her establishment of canteens to preserve the mental health of recovering military patients. In 2020, veteran physical and mental health and wellness have come a long way but still requires further efforts to support continued improvement. Nightingale’s dedication to military veterans would certainly ensure her efforts would continue in this area.
Improving Nursing Conditions
As essential as the role of nursing is within the healthcare community, there are prevalent problems dealt with on a regular basis for which nurses need support and improvements.
Issues related to nurse burnout, poor working conditions, and nurse safety can still be found rampantly throughout the industry. Nurse organizations are constantly advocating for needed improvements; Because it’s crucial that nurses are supported just as much as they support their patients and health systems, it’s guaranteed that Nightingale would continue today to be one of the loudest nurse advocacy voices around.
This International Nurses Day, May 12th, the world celebrates and recognizes the important role that nursing plays within our communities. How does Florence Nightingale resonate with you on this day?