Nurses Week is celebrated to end on Florence Nightingale’s birthday and here are several of the reasons why:
Florence Nightingale turned her back on the traditional role of an affluent Englishwoman and Nightingale instead chose to follow her calling to reduce human suffering and selected nursing as her avenue to accomplish this goal.
She became the superintendent of the Institution for Sick Gentlewomen in Distressed Circumstances, in London, where she successfully displayed her skills as an administrator by improving nursing care, working conditions, and efficiency of the hospital.
She was put in charge of nursing and supervising nurses who cared for British and Allied soldiers in Turkey during the Crimean War where she established standards of care, requiring such necessities as bathing, clean clothing and dressings, and adequate food.
She is credited with formalizing nursing education and started the first scientifically based nursing school in London.
She was instrumental in setting up training for midwives and nurses in workhouse infirmaries.
She was the first woman awarded the Order of Merit, a British honorary award given to those who provided especially eminent service in the armed forces or particularly distinguished themselves in science, art, literature, or the promotion of culture.
Her efforts and example sparked worldwide healthcare reform.
One of her famous quotes is “For the sick it is important to have the best.”
It seems fitting that Nurses Week, the celebration and recognition of the profession of nursing should culminate on this important figure’s birthday. Happy Nurses’ Week and Happy Birthday Florence!