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Florence Nightingale was a guiding force in the field of nursing. Florence was a groundbreaking nurse and social reformer who was the foundational philosopher of modern nursing. She changed the role of nursing and was a key figure in introducing new professional training standards. Florence Nightingale found the courage and strength of character to work for and find solutions to the issues that plague our modern world.
Florence Nightingale’s impact on her practice continually effects the way nurses work today. She has created what is our norm but was once considered drastic and unnecessary. Nightingale introduced women nurses into military hospitals, set up kitchens to provide suitable diets for patients, and improved conditions of hospitals (cleaning and sanitizing). Can you imagine going to a hospital and being treated with dirty supplies, drastically increasing the risk of you developing a life-threatening fever? Florence Nightingale fixed that. “Florence Nightingale’s belief met with the Red Cross’ principle of neutrality. She said: “ Suffering lifts its victim above normal values. While suffering endures there is neither good nor bad, valuable or invaluable, enemy nor friend. The victim has passed to a region beyond human classification or moral judgments and his suffering is a sufficient claim”.
Florence Nightingale also opened the first nursing school in 1860, the Nightingale School for Nurses. Conditions in hospitals we think of as obvious or necessary weren’t really thought about back then. Nightingale changed this and came up with her environmental theory. There are ten parts to this theory and you will be astonished to realize the things so evident nowadays were labeled unheard of. Florence’s thesis indicates that; Patients should have clean air and a temperature-controlled environment and should have access to direct sunlight and not be subjected to unnecessary noise, especially when sleeping. Rooms should be kept clean, hospital facilities should be well-constructed, and bedding should be changed and aired frequently. Patients should be kept clean and nurses should wash hands frequently and should be offered a variety of scenery, such as new books or flowers, to prevent boredom. Nurses should be positive but not offer false hope to patients or make light of their illness, offer a variety of small meals instead of large ones, and do not do patient care while a patient is eating as it is distracting. Finally, Florence’s final aspect of her theory is to consider not only the individual patient but the context of where he or she lives. Nightingale believed the environment had a huge effect on patient outcomes, her beliefs eventually created her thesis.
Nightingale received some of the highest ranking awards a nurse can get and as if that isn’t something to brag about, the most prestigious nursing award is named after her Florence Nightingale Medal). Some of these prizes include the Royal Red Cross, and the Grace of the Order of St. John, Order of Merit. Queen Victoria awarded Florence Nightingale the Royal Red Cross in 1883 for her “special exertions in providing for the nursing of the sick and wounded soldiers and sailors”. King Edward wrote with “much pleasure”, to offer the Order of Merit “in recognition of invaluable services to the country and humanity”, she became the first woman to be granted the award. Also, she was appointed a Lady of Grace of the Order of St John in 1904. Not only did Florence Nightingale change the idea and definition of nursing in the early 1900’s, but changed it for the rest of time. What we consider the normal standards of our hospitals were not even close to what they considered normal before Florence came along and changed everything for the better.
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