Florence Nightingale: a Leader in Nursing

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A Leader in Nursing, Organizations and Carper’s Way of Knowing Crystle Eldridge
University of Maine at Fort Kent

Nursing Leader (Question 1)
Nursing has evolved as a scientific discipline and is starting to emerge into professional status. One of the great leaders in nursing who helped this change take place was Florence Nightingale. Nightingale is considered as a pioneer in the nursing profession. She has contributed a lot in the field of nursing and her works are considered as assets, and will be remembered for many years.

Florence Nightingale was born in 1820 in Florence, Italy, and was named after her birthplace. Nightingale died in 1910. She was a brilliant mathematician, and used statistics in achieving her reforms. Florence was a well-educated woman in a number of fields other than math; she was educated by her father in history, economics, astronomy, science, philosophy, and a number of languages. (Florence Nightingale. 2008) Florence, at thirty-one, went to Kaiserwerth, Germany where she studied to become a nurse at the Institute of Protestant Deaconesses.(Simkin, J., 1997)

Nightingale's lasting contributions are her roles in founding and setting high standards for the nursing profession and founding training schools for nurses. She believed that nursing involves environmental manipulation, nutrition, and conservation of patient energy. All these aspects are concerned with the wellness and health of the individual. She set an excellent example for nurses everywhere of compassion, commitment to patient care, as well as diligent and thoughtful hospital administration. She was the first nurse to exert political pressure on government to improve health conditions. (Blais, K. K., Hayes, J. S., Kozier, B., & Erb, G. 2006)

Florence Nightingale defined nursing as “the act of utilizing the environment of the patient to assist him in his recovery”. (Bermin, A., Snyder, S.J., Kozier, B., Erb, G. 2008) Nightingale linked health with five environmental factors: 1. pure or fresh air, 2. pure water, 3. efficient drainage, 4. cleanliness and 5. light, especially sunlight. She believed that deficiencies in these five factors produce illness or a decline in health.

Florence Nightingale played an important role in the Crimean War (1854-1856) by recruiting female nurses to provide care to the sick and injured. When she got there she was mortified by the conditions of the hospital and the way in which the soldiers were being looked after; most of them died from sickness due to the hospitals conditions rather than battle wounds. Nightingale and her nurses were able to transform military hospitals by setting up sanitation practices. These sanitation practices included hand washing and the washing of clothes on a regular basis. These changes helped reduce the mortality rate from 42% to 2% in the Barrack Hospital in Turkey. (Bermin, A., Snyder, S.J., Kozier, B., Erb, G. 2008) Due to her contribution to army statistics, Nightingale became the first woman elected fellow of the Statistical Society. (Simkin, J., 1997)

Florence Nightingale’s theory of environmental manipulation is being implemented by nurses across the world. This theory lays emphasis on the environment and the affects of the environment. Nightingale’s general concepts about ventilation, cleanliness, maintaining a noise-free environment, warmth, and attending to the diet needs of individual patients remains an important part of nursing today and is considered a standard in nursing.

Research shows that implication of this theory is still going on and the patients are benefiting from the treatment which they receive. The utility of this theory can be judged by the fact that many years have passed but still this theory is taught in nursing schools. The contributions of Florence Nightingale are innumerable and all are advantageous in one way or another. As she devised all her methodologies and theories with the belief that...
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