200 years of Florence Nightingale: What did she teach us?

06 May 18:00 by Jesse Rashley

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Dear Reader,

As many of you may already be aware, it is International Nurses Day next week which marks 200 years since Florence Nightingale was born and it couldn't come at a more apt time.

For those who don’t know, Florence Nightingale led the way for nurses worldwide and set the benchmark for modern nursing practices across the world.

She led a team of nurses on the front-line during the Crimean war and is famed for treating patients through evidence-based practice (she would try different ways of treating the same injuries on different patients and document and compare outcomes). In fact, she even bought the Pie Chart into popular usage as a great way to display data she had found in layman’s terms, which supported her discoveries being implemented into medical practice.

Florence Nightingale’s most notable discovery (which seems obvious to us today) was the link between how clean and ventilated the wards were in leading to positive outcomes for injured soldiers.

I think it’s important to commemorate the people who have done great things which remind us all that no matter where you come from, or where you are at, everyone is capable of achieving greatness through making consistent, small improvements to their practice.

Aside from making fantastic leaps in nursing, Florence is a prime example of how no man is an island and it was actually a team of 38 other nurses who implemented her discoveries during the Crimean War. Florence was an exemplary leader and team player. Here are some famous quotes, which couldn't be more relevant to our situation today -

“I attribute my success to this:—I never gave or took an excuse.”

“Rather, ten times, die in the surf, heralding the way to a new world, than stand idly on the shore.”

“Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better.”

“You ask me why I do not write something.... I think one's feelings waste themselves in words, they ought all to be distilled into actions and into actions which bring results.”

Thank you Florence, thank you NHS.