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The research paper is a critical analysis of Nightingale Florence life and contribution to nursing. Her contribution in politics, statistics and health care are brought forth in this paper. Florence Nightingale has been thought to be one of the most radical and influential figures of her century and has been hailed for that during her time and present. This was echoed by Gorrell who stated that “Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, transformed the practice into a respectable profession and set the standards for clean and safe hospitals throughout the world" (Deshpande 388). The paper also tries to establish if indeed her works has impacted on training nurses as well as social reforms over the years.

Since the time of human existence, illnesses and injuries did pose a great deal of threat to human well being. There was thus need to ensure that those individual who were in ill health were supposed to be cared for. Over time, the concept turned to be referred to as nursing; this is a healthcare profession that concentrate on providing care for persons, family units as well as communities with the aim of helping such individuals, maintain, gain and recover optimal health status hence making them ‘save’ from death.

It is worth mentioning that quality service provision is key to attaining the mention issues via nursing. With her, sanitation as well as nursing ethics was in forefront in ensuring that those affected will quickly gain optimal health if these two things were seriously thought about and put into action. Additionally, while working as a volunteer nurse, after all other nurses went to sleep she could stroll around at night with a lamp in her hand ensuring that each and every patient was at least in a good shape, hence being referred as the "The Lady with the Lamp"

Nightingale life

As a daughter of William Edward Nightingale and Frances Smith, she was born in 12 May 1820, in Italy in the city of VillaColombia in Florence. Her family was an upper class one, lavish and well connected. Together with her elder sister (Parthenope), they were brought up in Derbyshire and they live occasionally in Hampshire. While moving through these places, she happened to visit London and Isle of Wight (McDonald 127).

Her education was a responsibility of governesses but later, her father an educated person from Cambridge shouldered the responsibility. Showing natural interest of learning, she came to learn about classics, the bible, politics, Aristotle and Euclid. At age twenty, she made her desire to learn mathematics known to her parent, her mother objected this idea even her father persuaded her to study things that suit ladies.  Later, her parents relented to her demands and had her taught mathematics, she proved to be a statistic guru (Bostridge 122).

Being brought up in a Christian family, Church of England, this played a bigger role in shaping her especially being unbiased in terms of religion, in 1837, she believed she had a calling from God. In 1945, she again showed an interest in issues relating to social science, nursing. It is worth noting that her family strongly objected her quest to gain some nursing experience. The reason behind this objection was that during that time, nursing was not a profession for a well educated woman.

Her dreams started being realized when she visited Europe and Egypt in 1849 where she was able to learn some nursing issues. It is worth noting that it was indeed in Egypt that Nightingale started her training in nursing, a hospital ran by Roman Catholic (Bostridge 34). In 1850, she visited a hospital in Kaiserwerth; she later went there for a three months training as a nurse. She later went to Paris, Sisters of Mercy. In 1853, she went back to England and volunteered in one of the health provision centers- Establishment for Gentlewomen during Illness.

In 1854, in the wake of the Crimean War, Nightingale together with other nurses was sent to assist wounded Briton soldiers. Being a woman, she had to counter strong opposition/military command; she successfully did this and reformed the existing condition which resulted to reduced number of death. Employing her mathematic and statistic knowledge, she managed to come up with Polar Area Diagram.

Notably, in 1860, through Nightingale Fund, she managed to open the NightingaleTraining School situated at St. Thomas’ Hospital. Additionally, she wrote notes on nursing. She was consulted by governments especially in England and United States of America concerning issues related to health of military officers. She became a honorary member of American Statistical Association in 1874 and a year before; she was awarded the Royal Red Cross by the Queen. 

According Bostridge 211 she also contributed a lot in various filed for instance, politics, theology as well as literature and women movement. From 1857, she contracted a serious disease that made her to be bedridden. Despite her condition she strived in her efforts in social reforms. She died on 13 August 1910 at the age of 90 years.

History of nursing

As stated previously, her family was in objection of her gaining nursing experience majorly due to the poor status of the profession. Historically, it is a European concept and was practiced by catholic monks’ men providing care to the sick persons during the time of dark ages in Europe. In 17th centaury, healthcare in Europe were being provided by individuals who were serving punishment.

Nursing by then was associated with prostitution, drunkardness as well as obnoxiousness. It was the efforts of Nightingale that transformed the entire field and people started viewing it as a reputable profession. Theodore’s hospital that employed nurses of good character contributed in shaping nursing as a profession. This led to formation of British Institute of Nursing Sisters (Deshpande 389). Things change for the better over years and at present, various countries do have policies, rules and regulations that have made nursing to be what it is today, providing better services hence meeting the quest of making individuals, communities gain optimal health.

Nightingale works and contribution to nursing

It is worth mentioning from the onset that despite the fact that Nightingale passed on close a centaury ago, what she contributed to nursing as a profession is being cherished at present and I bet many more years to come (Nightingale 22). All these things we currently enjoy in healthcare from proper care and treatment of wounds, sterile conditions in modern theater rooms, a shift from inpatient healthcare provision to outpatient care provision, all these thanks to Nightingale among others. 

There are about five broad areas that Nightingale contributed and influences current nursing as a profession. These include; sanitation, teaching and or research, nursing ethics, sanitation, nutrition and provision of facilities and other equipment (Klakovich 1).

Research and teaching

It is worth mentioning that Nightingale did contribute a lot in the field of research and teaching of nursing as a profession. Through her prowess in statistics, she managed to carry out a study in which she came up with a polar area diagram this was a graphic representation of death rates at the time of Crimean war, between 1854 and 1856 (Klakovich 2). In her diagram she clearly depicted the number of death as a result of wounds as well as other causes. She was able to calculate mortality rate based on the data that Britain had a total of slightly over 30,000 soldiers. This thus goes without saying that she was able collect data and systematically keep the records, this still happens today although somewhat improved due to technology advancement. Through her research she was able also to provide evidence that indeed better sanitation is need for better care to be provided.

Currently research and effective record keeping is the norm in the field of nursing, thanks to Nightingale. In addition, her literature works in (almost two hundred pamphlets and reports). One book among these many publications is titled ‘Nursing Notes’ published in 1860 (Nightingale 100). It did prove to be of significance in training and teaching upcoming nurses. On the same note, it is important to have in mind that it was her efforts to see to it that the poorly trained and arrogant nurses of the time, were provided with training as well as better homes that will catalyze formation of a moral life. She then came up with Nightingale Training School situated at St. Thomas’ Hospital funded from Nightingale Fund.

From then, we have seen substantial number of institutes that aim at training nurses instilling them with good moral and ethics so that they can effectively and successfully meet the objective of nursing. Lastly, in terms of teaching and research, she demonstrated although not in various literatures that ‘internship’ is paramount for nurses to gain skills and knowledge (Parse 321). Through her, while working in various healthcare institutions, she gained a myriad of skills and knowledge from administration to research. Through her teaching she mentored one particular U.S citizen Linda Richard who successfully went back to her country and established a quality nursing school. She again took her nursing services to Japan.

Improved nutrition

While volunteering as a superintendent, she came into a conclusion that the patients did not regained optimal health and most of them died as a result of poor dietary. Through her, we have come a long way concerning the type of food that is provided to the sick. Additionally, the amount and frequency of food that the currently are being given stems from the idea of Nightingale (Nightingale 121).

When she was assigned together with other thirty eight nurses, we are told that she was upset by the kind of diet those sick and injured soldiers were being subjected to. She even went an extra mile in using her pocket to buy patients fruits and other food supplements. Coupled with better sanitation, we see the mortality rates of soldier declined from a staggering figure of 42% to merely 2% (Nightingale 133).

Nursing ethics/philosophy

Nightingale is also saluted to what she contributed to nursing ethics and philosophy. For instance, while teaching nursing, she advocated for her students to not only focus on one aspect in a patient but concentrate on the total needs of a patient, this meant attending to both psychological as well as social well being. This is what has been adopted at present-a patient centered approach (Edwards 1089).

Additionally, she is also one person who laid a foundation on virtue theory in the field of nursing. This theory asserts that the profession of nursing does carry with it some categories of moral obligations because it has moral influence upon patients as well as those who are providing the care. Through her we learn that nursing is a passion or quest of information about nursing, on the basis of sets of values, attitude and concepts. All these need to be incorporated when taking care of a clients/patient to foster health promotion that encompasses a relationship between the client as well as his/her family Deshpande 390. This is demonstrated when she used to walk at night with a lamp in her hand ensuring that all patient were at least in good shape.

In modern nursing, there is what is referred to as ‘psychological effect’ termed as the "Florence Nightingale Effect" this is a scenario where care providers (nurses) are ‘in love’ with those they are giving nursing services (Edwards 1093).

Sanitation

What Nightingale will be remembered for a million years to come is her contribution and struggles in fostering sanitation within healthcare facilities. Upon her arrival at Selimiye Barrack in Scutari, she was seriously disturbed by the unhygienic condition the sick soldiers were being subjected to. On top of this deplorable condition, the manner with which the sick were being treated, the lack of sufficient facilities and medicine made her write to the relevant authorities (Parse 43).

To put what she felt in action, accompanied by other nurses under her supervision, they thoroughly cleaned the hospital and all equipment and tried their best in restructuring how the sick were cared for. There after, she advocated for better ventilation and warming, healthy houses, sufficient light provision, personal cleanliness, cleaning of rooms and walls, petty management. All these are found in her book Notes on Nursing under the title “What it is and what it is not” (Nightingale 12)

Conclusion

From the review of Florence Nightingale contribution to nursing, it is established that she became a fairy-tale figure for healthcare givers and the general public both at her times and at present. She used her social status and her open-minded education to successfully accomplish her desires and dreams. Her authority in nursing as a profession is irrefutable and her values remain relevant.

Through her works, she indeed contributed to four major broad fields; research and education, proper nutrition, high degree of sanitation, patient centered approach as well as nursing ethics and philosophy. despite the fact that Nightingale passed on close a centaury ago, what she contributed to nursing as a profession is being cherished at present and I bet many more years to come, because the current better nursing services we enjoy is the fruits of her sweat.

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