The Nightengale Theory of Nursing

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The Nightingale Theory of Nursing

Florence Nightingale’s theory of nursing highlights the role of a patient’s environment as an important factor for healing and continued good health. Her philosophy includes several characteristics of a healthy, healing environment, such as: proper lighting, air and water quality, diet and nutrition, and cleanliness. Ms. Nightingale was from an affluent British family and as such was expected to live a proper British aristocratic lifestyle, which of course included marrying a proper man and raising several proper children, hopefully boys. Rather than pursue this proper life she chose at age twenty-five to devote her life to nursing, considered a menial trade in those days, engaged in only by poor spinsters, widows, or the unwed poor. Her family was needless to say appalled that their well bred daughter would choose such life.

Florence persevered, and became one of the most influential women of her time, revolutionizing nursing and medicine in general. Her privileged upbringing afforded her certain advantages in the development of her theory of nursing, especially her advanced knowledge of mathematics and statistics. Her fluent understanding of five languages could not have hurt either. She studied nursing at the Kaiserworth School in Germany and served as superintendent of the Institute for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen in Upper Harley Street, London. In 1854, however, came Nightingale’s true time to shine. The Crimean War offered her the opportunity to care for British soldiers in Turkey. She took a group of twenty nurses to the hospital there and sometimes worked twenty-four hour days. It was here that she came to be known as the Lady of the Lamp, because she could be seen walking the hospital at all hours, with a lamp to light her way, caring for her patients.

When Nightingale arrived in Turkey, in 1854, she and her nurses found soldiers being cared for in the most deplorable of conditions. There wasn’t...
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