Nursing Pioneers Compare and Contrast

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The biggest factor that all three of these women have in common is their role as pioneers in public health nursing. Their unselfish devotion to humanity served each of them as a fueling factor toward that end. This devotion can be seen by all three of their marital histories. Florence Nightingale never married a man, but instead her career as it was her belief that this was an imperative quality in an effective nurse. Mary Breckinridge married twice and had two children. These children unfortunately passed away in the first six hours of life and at the age of four respectively. After her second marriage culminated in divorce, Breckinridge devoted herself to her career centered about the care of mothers and their newborn infants. Lillian Wald, similarly to Nightingale, never married, but instead devoted all of her being toward her career and philanthropy. Each of these ladies also played crucial roles in starting different schools of nursing: Nightingale with the first formal, professional training program in nursing, Wald in the foundation of Columbia’s school of nursing, and Breckinridge with her school of nursing midwifery. These women were also authors and wrote memoirs/books about their nursing experience and what it meant to them. Finally, all three of these nurses came from families that were well off and able to live comfortably, but they chose to use their money and influence to give back to the community by means of public health nursing.

These women also contributed a little bit differently to the field of nursing as individuals. Florence Nightingale pioneered the sanitation of hospitals, promoted hygiene, and more diligent hospital administration. Her school’s original mission was to train nurses how to work in hospitals, work with the poor, and to educate patients. The prime of Nightingale’s life was a little bit earlier than Wald’s or Breckinridge’s as she was born fifty and sixty years prior to the latter two ladies. In many ways, Florence...
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