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Read more below: Family ties and spiritual awakening. Unitarianism and Universalism. Read more below: Nursing in peace and war. Read more below: Homecoming and legacy. Read More on This Topic. Nightingale, the well-educated daughter of wealthy…. Start Your Free Trial Today. Britannica Explores Women Trailblazers.
Meet extraordinary women who dared to bring gender equality and other issues to the forefront. From overcoming oppression, to breaking rules, to reimagining the world or waging a rebellion, these women of history have a story to tell. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Nightingale, the well-educated daughter of wealthy British parents, defied social conventions and decided to become a nurse.
The nursing of strangers, either in hospitals or in their homes, was not then seen as a respectable career for well-bred ladies, who, if they wished…. The event, established in by the International Council of Nurses ICN , also serves to highlight the important role nurses fulfill in health care. While on a visit to Italy he contracted malaria and died at age History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Day , every day in your inbox!
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Albert Einstein, German-born physicist who developed the special and general theories of relativity and…. Read this Article. Of seminal interest is Akiwumi's Higher Education for nurses in which attention is paid to the traditional role of the nurse and the education which prepared her for that role in the s [ 2 ]. Akiwumi argued that few of the women had formal education and those who could read and write were given simple lessons in human anatomy and physiology, surgical and medical nursing, and first aid. They were awarded the Director of Medical Service certificate on successful completion of this training and appointed as second-division nurses in the junior civil service.
In the field, these nurses were strictly under medical supervision [ 2 ]. According to Akiwumi in midwifery training started in the maternity hospital, then newly built in Korle-Bu. Girls with better education were recruited into this very readily because the nature of the job was more in line with the traditional role women were expected to play in the society [ 2 ]. Essentially, the nursing profession or midwifery care was seen by the Europeans as that which could be easily performed by women.
This is indicative of the fact that women are generally perceived to be empathetic and would easily take care of people, an ideal this study perceives that falls within Nightingale's philosophy of nursing. The Nightingale experiment started over a century ago. Before then, nurses received no formal education but rather went through an apprenticeship system, learning about the job and the techniques from older members of the profession.
However, upon the establishment of the Nightingale Fund due to the recognition of her impeccable service during the Crimean War, a school was established to formerly train nurses. The school was to train nurses, for a period of one year; nurses usually came into contact with some level of theoretical understanding on diseases.
Again, practical training was supervised by ward sisters and doctors [ 2 ]. This training was silent on training of nurses on human behaviour, psychology, anthropology and culture, and, to a large extent, sociology of medicine, to enable the trainees to imbibe certain things that will enable them to treat their patients with some greater level of understanding and readings into human behaviour and care.
Notwithstanding, it was expected that the ideals of Florence Nightingale — would resonate and again, with further effective supervision especially in these countries in Europe, nurses were not left to pursue their personal predilections per se at the expense of the patient and the rules that govern a particular medical institution or setup. Significantly, the nursing practice emphasized tasks and procedures and these were carried out in a routine manner with not much consideration for the patient, the object of the procedure [ 2 ]. According to Akiwumi, before the introduction of rigorous training for nurses, the nurse was always at the behest of the doctor.
Akiwumi further argues that under such conditions it was difficult for the nurse to assume responsibility and take initiative or make decisions under emergency situations. The fact was that she was never sure what the boss would say [ 2 ]. Significantly, in the twentieth century, social changes increased the complexity of nursing responsibilities and demanded the types of services requiring intellectual competence and a wide range of knowledge [ 2 ]. The advancement of knowledge of patients who come to seek medical care and also patients who come to clinics or health facilities with problems which require specialist doctors also required that there were trained specialist nurses to support the work of the physicians.
It was required that there was some knowledge in social and behavioural sciences. Long contact hours of nurses with patients, according to Akiwumi, should afford nurses an opportunity to know more about the behaviour of human beings in general than doctors. The nurse should therefore be equipped to direct her actions and verbal expressions on the basis of a sound understanding of human behaviour [ 2 ].
The expectation was that this training among others would enhance the performance of the nurse in the general delivery of care to the patients. Akiwumi further posits that there are different ways of dealing with intense feelings: one is to yield to them, the second to defend against them, and the third to face them directly, work through them, and reduce their power [ 2 ].
‘The Nightingale’: sisters in jeopardy in occupied France
In all these instances, the nurse is required to manage or live above her personal emotions to be careful not to be tender towards one patient and repulsive towards the other and to some extent their family. Akiwumi's study proposed six key areas or roles the nurse was supposed to function within at that period. They included the nurse as a technician, the nurse as a provider of care, and the nurse as a team leader. The others include the nurse as a collaborator, the nurse as educator, and the nurse as administrator [ 2 ].
Of seminal value to this paper is the nurse as a provider of care: tender loving care. This is a role which was uniquely considered as nursing since the days of Florence Nightingale, the provision of which gives the greatest satisfaction to the nurse and the absence of which causes patients and their families' great distress. According to Akiwumi,. It is pertinent, however, to stress on the life of Florence Nightingale because her ideals permeate the nursing profession even in the twentieth century.
Since the twentieth century, the expectation of patients and the larger segment of society is that nurses will be able to perform their duties beyond the nineteenth and twentieth century's standard set by Florence Nightingale. In the first instance, our attention is turned to a brief history of nursing and then to the story of Florence Nightingale, which is used as the basis to analyze the roles of nurses in the Kumasi metropolis of Ghana.
This study also examines the evolution of nursing education in postindependence context of Ghana, nurses and nursing education in Ghana focusing on how it created collaborative opportunities and challenges to the growth of nursing education in Ghana. It also looks at the twenty-first century nursing practice in Ghana and examines the historiography of nursing practice in Ghana to confirm or denounce whether nurses in Ghana have lived above the status of Nightingale.
The information gathered was analyzed qualitatively under themes and used to draw conclusion. Interestingly, the findings from the study reflect the general perceptions of nurses concerning their own profession, their relationship with patients, and the perception of patients about these nurses. The views shared by both the nurses and the patients and civil society in general have been compared with some of the ideals and performance of Florence Nightingale as a nurse to ascertain whether they have soared above the status quo or are living beneath it.
The development and evolution of the nursing profession are intricately connected to historical influences throughout the ages, beginning in antiquity [ 4 ]. The reason was because women nurture their own children and were expected to extend the nurturing skill to people who are sick and injured in their communities. Yet in other societies, care of the sick was a role assigned to medicine men, shamans, and other male tribesmen.
Because no formal education in the care of the sick was available, the earliest nurses learned their art through oral traditions passed from generation to generation, from observations of others caring for the sick, and many times, through a process of trial and error [ 4 ]. Available evidence indicates that nurses first formed themselves into organized groups during the early Christian era. The nursing ideals of charity, service to others, and self-sacrifice were in harmony with the teachings of the early Christian church [ 4 ].
Throughout antiquity, the preferable, and often safest, nursing care was provided in one's own home, where one was cared for by family members, clansmen, or friends [ 4 ]. Into this setting entered Florence Nightingale said to be the mother of nursing , the woman who would not only reform nursing as it existed at that time, but also laid the foundation for nursing as a profession [ 4 ]. The section that follows explores how Florence Nightingale used advocacy as a tool and to identify the value of her conceptual and practical advocacy strategies for the nursing.
Florence Nightingale was a woman who because of her religious convictions and profound vision of the potential of nursing altered the status of nursing from that of domestic service to that of a profession in the 19th century [ 5 ]. Nightingale used personal motivation to create a permanent professional transformation of nursing. She was the second daughter born to William Edwards and Frances Nightingale.
She was named after the city of her birth. The Nightingales lived a contented lifestyle. Florence was a bright child and therefore her father gave meticulous attention to her education guiding her through history, philosophy, and literature. She also excelled in mathematics and languages such as French, German, Italian, Greek, and Latin at a tender age.
She liked to read great philosophies and to hold in stern political and social conversation with her father [ 6 ]. To Florence, nursing seemed as an appropriate course to serve both God and humankind. As a result of this, she helped to care for her sick relatives and tenants on the family estates. Her efforts to seek nurse's training were hindered by her family as an inappropriate activity for a woman of her calibre [ 6 ]. Eventually she was able to sign up at the Institution Protestant Deaconess at the Kairserswert in Germany for two weeks of training in July and again for three months in July It was then that she learned basic nursing, the magnitude of patient observation, and the value of good hospital organization.
Through her social acquaintances, she became the Superintendent of the Institution for Sick Gentlewomen in Distressed Circumstances in London. Through her hardworking efforts, she realized that her services would be helpful in an institution where she would be able to train more nurses. She considered becoming the superintendent of nurses at King's College Hospital in London. However, politics, not nursing expertise, was to shape her next move [ 6 ].
Florence Nightingale grew up as an upper middle-class woman in Victorian England [ 7 ]. She was one of the few ladies who were educated during Victorian England as a result of her father's opinion against the norm of the time that women of Nightingale's class must not attend university and also must not pursue professional careers but rather had to marry and bear children instead [ 8 ]. Due to her father's opinion against this norm, he single-handedly taught her Italian, Latin, Greek, philosophy, history, writing, and mathematics [ 8 ]. However, it must be noted that her father also arranged for a governess to teach her and her sister music and drama but her sister resented this decision [ 9 ].
From early childhood, Florence Nightingale got bored and frustrated as a result of the low-standard life that was reserved for women of her class in shrill contrast to that of the masses [ 10 ]. She believed she heard the voice of God calling her to service. Following this mysticism, Florence became convinced God needed her for his service, but she remained baffled as to the exact job she was requested to do. Florence experienced much confusion and distress regarding her service to God. Upon returning from Egypt and Greece, Florence and her entourage visited Kaiserswerth in Germany, where Pastor Theodore Fliedner — had founded a hospital, orphanage, and school in [ 12 ].
At the age of thirty, Florence Nightingale returned to Kaiserswerth against her family's opposition to train as a nurse and she proved herself as a pupil with an outstanding ability after three months of training [ 12 ]. After her return from Kaiserswerth, she became idle for some time but, between and , she put to use the practical experience that she gained by visiting hospitals throughout the United Kingdom and Europe to gather information [ 12 ].
Florence Nightingale's dream of becoming a proper nurse materialized when she came into contact with Sidney Herbert — during a winter holiday in Rome [ 9 ]. Sidney Herbert later became a foreign secretary for war and requested the service of Florence Nightingale to lead a team of thirty-eight nurses to assist at the main British Army hospital at Scutari, near Constantinople, to cure British wounded soldiers of the Crimean War [ 9 ]. However, Neuhaser has put forward that Nightingale went along with forty nurses and they helped clean up the wards [ 13 ].
Sidney Herbert's decision to appoint Florence Nightingale to lead the group of nurses was seen as a radical step because it was unprecedented in the sense that no woman had previously held an official position in the Army [ 12 ]. Upon their arrival, Nightingale and her team were faced with awful scenes as they were faced with dirty beds, clogged latrines, bad food, filth, and death [ 13 ].
For instance, in the week of 14 April , hand carts of filth were removed, the sewers were flushed 19 times, and the carcasses of two horses, a cow, and four dogs were buried by Nightingale's team of nurses [ 13 ]. Attewell has also put across that Nightingale was not wishing to imperil the prospect of alienating the doctors that she met at Scutari so she placed the nurses under the doctors' orders and within a month she secured the improvements in the upkeep of the wards, provided new bedding and clothing for the soldiers, and improved the hospital diets [ 12 ].
Nursing in peace and war
In addition to this claim, Attewell has also posited that Nightingale wrote letters on behalf of the soldiers to their families back at home, instituted a scheme for remitting moneys, and also provided reading rooms and games for the convalescents [ 12 ]. Cohen recounts the situation that Nightingale and her party of nurses met when they arrived at Scutari as follows:. The hospital barracks was infested with fleas and rats. Nightingale's spell at the Crimean was marked by many hardships.
Gill and G. Gill have also noted that there was a high case of corruption in the camp and this led to the siphoning off medical supplies; in order to curb this problem Nightingale established a parallel supply mechanism for critical materials and food, and this step made her prove that the official supplies were being stolen by sending her representatives to Turkish markets to buy back the purloined goods [ 14 ].
Nightingale in her own sense per the words of C. Gill, when she was faced with the imminent arrival of more patients, organized a team of Turkish workers to replace the floor in Barracks hospital which was destroyed by fire and was an ideal habitat for fleas, flies, and lice [ 14 ]. Again, when Nightingale arrived at Scutari, she met deplorable Barracks which housed 10, sick men, with dirt and filth throughout the hospital. In addition, patients who were lying in the corridors and the wards were suffering from typhoid fever and cholera, as well as battling wounds [ 9 ].
In spite of this, Nightingale made a lot of impacts and contributions in her nursing adventure on Scutari. She instituted a lot of reforms, which were very essential. Neuhauser has also pointed out that Nightingale recorded the outcomes of care which went a long way to helping her to estimate that the death rate among the patients was worst in February at She also instituted sanitary reforms which were started on 17 March and this reform caused the death rate to fall to 2.
However, it must be taken into cognizance that, upon the reforms and the positive outcome that came out from it, the principal Medical Officer of the Army said that the reduction in death rates was due to the improved character of the cases coming from the Crimean peninsula [ 13 ]. Florence Nightingale however rebutted this claim by showing that the deaths were not due to battle field wounds but from infectious diseases and also went along to assert that the hospital's unsanitary environment led to the deaths of both wounded soldiers and healthy unwounded orderlies at Scutari [ 13 ].
After her service at Scutari, many are those who have associated Nightingale to be the originator of modern nursing and also had an enormous influence on contemporary nursing [ 14 ]. Among such influences is hospital infection control. However, C. The second field influenced by Nightingale is hospital epidemiology. Nightingale was a skilled statistician and she was believed to be greatly influenced by the work of Adolphe Quetelet, the leading statistician of her days [ 14 ].
Her third influence on contemporary medicine is that on hospice medicine. Long before Kubler-Ross' theories about death with dignity, Nightingale has been noted to have practiced it in the sense that as a nurse she saved dozens of soldiers' lives but she also reported that she closed the eyes of hundreds [ 14 ]. Bloy a Ph. Senior Research fellow at the Victoria Web conducted a research about the life of Florence Nightingale and the role she played in the Crimea War.
According to Bloy's research in March , the Crimea War broke out and the sufferings of the wounded soldiers created anger in Britain. Therefore, William Russell who was the Times correspondent published in the newspaper the state of wounded soldiers. Subsequently, Florence wrote to the war office offering her services on 14 October after her friend Sidney Herbert had written to her suggesting to her to go and help these wounded soldiers [ 15 ].
Bloy further argues that on 21 October Florence embarked on a journey to Crimea with thirty-eight nurses, ten Roman Sisters, eight Anglican Sisters of Mercy, six nurses from St. John Institute, and fourteen from various hospitals and they arrived on 4 November. She was the lady-in-chief [ 15 ]. Upon arrival, they saw the place to be very inappropriate to care for injured soldiers. Moreover, Bloy continues to argue that the military and the medical authorities at Scutari saw Nightingale's involvement as an indication on themselves [ 16 ]. Moreover, Bloy's research asserts that by the closing stages of Nightingale and her nurses had brought the Scutari hospital into an improved order.
In December, other forty-six nurses went to add up to the other thirty-six. In , Florence fell ill from Crimea fever but she continued to work until the hospitals were closed and she returned to England in In September , she visited Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Balmoral and told them about the state of the military hospitals and reforms that need to be done [ 16 ]. Bloy further contends that in November the Nightingale Fund was set up to train nurses. Thomas Hospital. As a result of her health condition, she could not accept the post as superintendent but she watched the progress of the new institution and was able to use her experiences in Crimea for the assistance of nursing profession.
She settled in London and lived a retired life of an invalid although she spent great deal of time offering counsel and support through her writings and also verbally. She also helped to set up nursing societies. As a result of her hard working efforts, in , she received the Order of Merit and in she was awarded the Freedom of City of London award. On 10 May , she was presented with the badge of honour of the Norwegian Red Cross Society [ 16 ]. Bloy's research on the role of Florence Nightingale shows that an extensive research was done about the lasting impacts Florence made in the Crimea War.
However, Bloy's research entailed some shortcomings, among which was the failure to give an account of the cause of the Crimea War and also to highlight the parties involved in the war. The Spartacus Educational Publishers researched about the social reforms made by Florence Nightingale after the significant role played in the Crimea War. The Spartacus Educational Publishers opine that, in order for Florence Nightingale to broaden her opinions on the reforms about the military hospitals, she published two books which were Notes on Hospitals and Notes on Nursing She also helped to train nurses for employment of workhouses [ 17 ].
Florence held an immense judgment about the rights of women therefore in her book Suggestions for Thought to Searchers after Religious Truth ; she argued muscularly for the elimination of limits that prohibited women from having careers [ 17 ]. However, the Spartacus Publishers continue to argue that Nightingale powerfully contributed to the passing of Contagious Diseases Act.
She preferred working behind the scene to get laws changed and disapproved of women making speeches in public [ 17 ]. Spartacus Educational Publishers support their assertion that women such as Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Sophia Jex-Blake were dissatisfied by Florence's lack of support for women doctors. Nightingale argued that it was better to train nurses than women doctors. According to the Spartacus research on Florence biographer Colin Mathew emphasized that when Florence was sixty years, she considered herself old.
Therefore, she tried to keep up with public health matters and continued to write corny addresses to probationers until but by now she was losing her eye sight. Therefore, she spent the whole of her fifteen years in her room in South Street and finally died in London on 13 August [ 17 ]. It is very important to note that the Spartacus Educational Publishers did an extensive research about the theme under review. However, Nightingale is known for the role she played in nursing and therefore the Spartacus Educational Publishers failed to throw more light on the reforms she made in the nursing profession.
Nightingale was a philanthropist from a wealthy English family who lived during a time when well-bred women from the upper class were not usually involved in caring for the sick. Despite the convention, Nightingale wanted to study the care and treatment of diseases and afflictions, so she enrolled in a three-month program to study nursing under the direction of Pastor Fliedner and his wife Erika at Kaiserswerth, Germany [ 18 ]. As her work in nursing was acknowledged, she was consulted in the organization of training nurses; however, her efforts in Crimean War intervened.
Florence Nightingale became involved in the Crimean War — after hearing about the squalid conditions of soldiers who had been injured. She organized other nurses who joined her in bringing aid, comfort, and supplies to injured soldiers. When Nightingale returned home to London, she was honoured as a national heroine. She remained committed to establishing a program to train nurses. In , Nightingale established a training program for nurses at St.
Shortly thereafter, Nightingale took to her bed until her death in It was believed that her illness resulted from a weakened condition attributed to her work during Crimean War. According to Macmillan English Dictionary, advocacy has been defined as a strongly public support for something. Sabatier and Weible identify coalitions built on advocacy as the essential tool to impacting changes in society and governmental programmes [ 19 ]. The scope of Florence Nightingale's effect on nursing and her usage of advocacy as a technical tool to operate are fundamental.
However, Nightingale did not directly address the concept of advocacy. She demonstrated advocacy in exceptional ways throughout her lifetime. She did demonstrate in dramatic fashion in the Crimea that nursing and sanitation could reduce mortality. Nightingale was a singular force in advocating for as opposed to individuals, groups, and the nursing profession.
Her expressions of advocacy grew with age, experience, and public acceptance of her as both nurse and expert. Her significant contributions include her advocacy for patient's environment connected to his or her health and advocacy in her leadership roles. Nursing is now recognizing how her ideas and techniques can be useful in the 21st century. Florence Nightingale was convinced that a patient's environment was connected to his or her health.
She believed nurses could use sunlight, fresh air, pure water, cleanliness, and efficient drainage to allow nature to positively affect the patient's body, mind, and spirit, a revolutionary concept at the time. The year was , and she was treating soldiers serving in the Crimean War. In those inhuman conditions, she believed that patients required a healthy mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual environment to raise their odds of recovery.
She understood that physicians would treat the disease but nurses were the ones who could facilitate the healing environment by providing stimulating reading materials, emotional connections, and proper nutrition. However, Nightingale saw that these conditions and practices from physicians and nurses could help improve the health conditions of the populace. That is to say, the importance of nursing's role in the management of the patient environment was a central theme she advocated for. She believed in miasmatism , the idea that foul odors caused disease.
The History Press | Eight little-known facts about Florence Nightingale
Although there is dispute as to the degree that the death rate was reduced in the Crimea, it is undeniable that there was a specific link between the state of the environment and the death rate. Leadership was one of Florence Nightingale's qualities. She offered emotional and spiritual comfort of care to the sick and the dying men as she walked down the dark hall with her lamp.
She also understood the importance of family to the sick thereby helping them to connect to their families back home. She helped the soldiers in the hospital write letters to their families because many could not read and write. She used leadership skills to her advantage in her tireless work with policy change in regard to human rights. She was able to change policy, making it possible for all faiths to be equally admitted to the hospital.
It is very important for advance degree nurse, to be effective in her role as a leader and educator to provide students with the tools necessary to promote good healthcare. And suddenly the problem was crystal clear. It was fixable. That is how a woman — a nurse — took on the top brass of the British military and won.
Think of Florence Nightingale the next time you feel that speaking up for meaningful reform is like the Charge of the Light Brigade: riding nobly into the Valley of Death. Evidence can give leaders the impetus and the confidence to act. But it can only do so if we present it in an actionable form. It cannot just be a statement of problems. It cannot just be a statement of demands.
It has to be written, and read, as a statement of opportunities. Only then can it point us to solutions. To keeping it going. To treating our education system as a continuum. To keeping the bar of student aspiration high. To helping students clear the bar. To fighting the incumbency bias.
And above all, to taking our research beyond observations, into the realm of solutions. Digital Issues Buy a back issue. Renew my subscription Give a Gift Manage my subscription. Opinion Mathematics 31 August Lady with the logarithm: four lessons from Florence Nightingale. Florence Nightingale saved more lives with her grasp of numbers than she did with her gift for nursing, writes Alan Finkel. Florence Nightingale in the barrack hospital at Scutari, c. Who am I? I am, of course, Florence Nightingale: mathematician. Lesson 1: maths is critical Imagine a world without maths. Lesson 2: learning maths is hard It is hard in the sense that it demands our early persistence.
But that brings me to … Lesson 3: compulsion is not enough Some children seem to fall in love with maths at birth and, like Florence, are hungry to be taught. Which brings me to my … Final lesson from Florence: using evidence to make a difference Imagine the situation Florence Nightingale confronted in the Crimea. Alan Finkel is an electrical engineer, neuroscientist and Chief Scientist of Australia. Looking for more science?
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