Florence Nightingale, still inspiring today!
As we celebrate this year’s Women’s Month under the theme: “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future”, we acknowledge the contribution of a woman who went before us, Florence Nightingale, who is as much an inspiration today as she was in the nineteenth century.
While the image that may pop immediately to one’s mind is of “The Lady With the Lamp,”; the caring person taking care of those who couldn’t care for themselves, she was also a social reformer, a statistician, a philanthropist and a scientist. These traits, combined with her commitment to action united with other women, created a formidable force in the development of the modern scientific nursing practises to which she dedicated her life.
Against the backdrop of the Crimean War, she trained and managed nurses. She took on the mammoth task of uniting women to care for wounded soldiers at Constantinople during the most challenging times and with severely limited resources. By implementing simple hygiene and cleanliness practices, she decreased the mortality rate from 40% to 2%.
In 1860 (at only 40 years of age) she established the first formal nursing training facility in the world at St Thomas’ Hospital (now part of the esteemed King’s College) in London.
Equal healthcare for all sectors of society and increasing female participation in the workforce was her message. The modern Nurses Pledge refers to these same values.
Nursing leaders today continue to promote the focus on risk and quality outcomes, infection prevention and control, nursing education and clinical specialities, nursing management and leadership, and research, to name a few.
How grateful she would be to know that the nurses of 2021 promote her vision for the profession. How proud she would be to know that the nurses of 2021 are still dedicated to excellent clinical practice, nursing education, and professional leadership into the future.
We would like to recognise her transformational leadership and pay tribute to this icon who empowered women in the health care world nearly 200 years ago. She continues to inspire us at the Pietermaritzburg Eye Hospital as we join the global campaign to achieve gender equality by 2030.