Florence Nightingale, born on May 12, 1820. She became a nurse at a time when the profession was considered a degrading occupation. Hospitals back then were cesspools of disease. Basic operations, though common could be a death sentence. Nightingale changed all of that. In addition to her nursing duties, she was also a talented author. Her writing changed hearts and minds to solidify her lasting legacy on the healing industry.
Nightingale’s meticulous and tender dedication to healthcare inspired my aunt Holly who became a nurse. My aunt grew up in a time when women had few career options outside the home. Nursing was one of the main passions of my aunt’s life. She was fascinated with the profession’s evolution. Together we explored many parts of London associated with Florence Nightingale’s life. In some ways, it felt like we were retracing her steps hundreds of years later. The museum of nursing was a very interesting stop in our explorations. Their exhibits illustrate techniques like leaching which seems quite barbaric now. It was fascinating to learn of the ideology behind the treatment which often hastened the death of the patient.
My aunt set flowers at a statue of this pioneer of the nursing profession. It was a very moving moment for both of us. Now that my aunt Holly has passed on, it’s a moment that I cherish a great deal.
As an author, Nightingale’s two most influential works are Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not and Notes On Hospitals. Both works helped to elevate the nursing profession. Her ideas permeated the healthcare industry to a great extent. She helped change hospital layouts, cleansing procedures and patient care practices among other things vital to better patient outcomes. That her techniques and best practices seem so common to us today only proves the debt we owe to “The Lady with the Lamp,” Florence Nightingale.