Contemporary Nurse Leaders

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With so many incredible nursing theorists, it is impossible to resist discussing nursing’s first theorist-Florence Nightingale. Born in 1820, Florence became the founder of modern nursing. Her theories include the most well-known environmental theory. Some assumptions of her theory were: nursing is a calling, nursing requires a specific educational base, nursing is an art and a science, and natural laws just to name a few. Florence believed that the law of health was keeping the person and population healthy. What I admire the most about Florence is her strength in advocacy and her focus on leadership and education. Florence was quoted saying “Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better” (Nightingale, 2001-2012).

Florence was a strong advocate for egalitarian human rights. In her first role at the Hospital for Gentlewomen in Distressed Circumstances included patients of all faiths or even of no faith could be equally admitted (Selanders, 2012). She believed that a basic human right was quality patient care provided by dedicated and educated nursing staff. She preached about the importance of a clean environment which moved her to develop her environmental theory which remains as the basic building block of holistic nursing. (Unknown, 2012) Her dedication to the profession led her to open the Nightingale School at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, which was based on her statement that nursing required a specific educational base. Finally, Nightengale advocated allowing nurses the autonomy of purpose for patients and their profession.

While many contemporary nurse leaders continue to follow in Florence Nightingale’s footsteps, I believe that Deborah Burger emulates her attributes well. As the president of the National Nursing United and the California Nurses Association, Deborah has become well known for her advocacy. She has sparred with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger over patient safety,...
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