Celebrate Florence Nightingale, the Everlasting Nurse
Artists celebrate Florence Nightingale through literature, drawings, and film
My first impression of this photo, taken from Trina Robbins’ graphic novel Lady with the Lamp, is that we should celebrate Florence Nightingale. She looks like a full on superhero. Honestly, it wouldn’t be too far from the truth to call her a healthcare hero. Her superhero name would be “Lady with a Lamp,” which isn’t too far off from the “Green Lantern,” right?
Florence Nightingale devoted her life to the service of others. Born to an upper-crust, well-connected, British family in Italy, she rebelled against the opposition of her family to enter the field of nursing. Women at the time were expected to fill in the roles of wife and mother, but she wanted something more than the restrictive social code for affluent, young English women. She worked hard to educate herself in the art and science of nursing. A regular Sybil Crawley, for those of you who watch Downton Abbey.
Her shining moment came during the Crimean war, when she became an advocate for hygiene and sanitary conditions and earned the reputation for being a health care reformer. In focusing on the improvement of abysmal and unsanitary conditions at the British base hospital, Florence and her team of nurses were able to dramatically reduce the death count by two-thirds.
After the war, she continued to devote her life towards affecting health care change for the world to celebrate. Florence Nightingale founded the Nightingale School of Nurses in an effort to train future generations of students in the proper ways to care for patients and maximize the health of the community at large.
She is widely considered to be the pioneer and founder of modern nursing. To celebrate Florence Nightingale’s legacy, a legacy that affects all nurses around the world today, next week the first in our Legacy of Profession blog series will discuss the Legacy of Nurses. Stay tuned.