Nursing has progressed from the unstructured system of caring for the ill to a scientific profession. In the United States, nursing is ranked as the most trusted and the largest scientific profession. This ranking was attained due to the solid foundation of nursing practice globally pioneered by significant figures in nursing history, such as Florence Nightingale. At a young age, she felt a call to care for the poor and the sick in the community, and she is typically described as the lady with the lamp because of her tremendous contribution and impact on modern nursing. She substantially influenced the nursing system by signifying that nurses did not require knowing all about the disease process like the therapeutic field; rather, they were required to understand how to care for the ill individual through the environment, enabling the patient to deal with symptoms and alteration in function related to the disease. In her lifetime, Nightingale used to lessen human suffering by setting the principles for patient-centered care and compassion that addressed the essentials of the patients’ illnesses.
She is linked with inventions, which designated handling ill people with dignity and respect. The gravity of Nightingale in nursing practice and her effort to restructure healthcare to attain the quality of care is still incorporated in today’s health care infrastructure. For instance, her act of compassion to the patients greatly enhanced the patients’ outcomes during the war, and her nursing care plan included the environmental theory in catering for the patient surrounding. She significantly evolved the face of her nursing career by revolutionizing sanitary strategies for the patients to obtain better healthcare. Her determination and dedication resulted in minimal contamination and the spread of infections and disease while enhancing education and sanitization in British’s horrendous health care environment (Gallagher, 2020). This essay focuses on Florence Nightingale’s influence on the current nursing profession.
Effect on Current Nursing Practice
Nightingale is globally celebrated as the founder of modern nursing because of her tremendous impact on nursing. Before her healthcare sector period, nurses were learning from experiences because they had no formal training. In this regard, Florence upstretched the standard of nursing by integrating education and accountabilities, paving the path for a valued and appreciated profession, making nurses regarded as high-impact leaders. Nightingale’s book, “Notes on Nursing” initiated nursing teaching. The book detailed the ideologies of the nursing practice, illustrating how females could care for their families and ways to manage illness properly. With this, Nightingale highlighted the significance of patient observation to diagnose and treat properly (Gallagher, 2020).
In 1860, Nightingale opened School for Nurses that was associated with St. Thomas’ Hospital. This was her first school that provided an official training program for nurses to work in hospitals, aid the humble, and educate others. She documented the opportunity of nurses to see, acknowledge, and transform the public health infrastructure. Florence’s legacy was sustained through her students since the majority continued to be matrons at significant hospitals and customized their training programs throughout the globe. Nightingale is also known for enhancing the nursing profession standard by improving the hospital working conditions.
During the Crimean War, most of the nurses, including doctors, were operating in a filthy environment that prompted Nightingale to recommend sanitary and institute standards for clean and safe hospitals using the right improvement tools and methods technique. These minute changes had a lot of impacts and led to a decrease in mortality rates by two-thirds for soldiers obtaining medical treatment. In her recommendation, Florence aimed to restructure and reform military hospitals working under poor conditions through increased ventilation, additional windows, hand washing, improved drainage, and increase space. Additionally, on the improvement of the sanitary conditions of the hospital, Florence generated several patient services, which attributed to enhancing the quality of the health care system. She established a concept of an invalid kitchen that helped prepare food for patients with exceptional dietary requirements. Nightingale also provided a laundry for patients to have clean clothes and instituted a classroom and library for patients’ intellectual stimulation and entertainment (Ribeiro, 2020).
Nightingale asserted that everyone in the health care facility conveys safety and quality such that the health institute staff should be held responsible for safe and high-quality care. She affirmed that culture and results are linked by noting that little achievement can be attained under the spirit of fear; however, this concept can be challenged by advancing collaboration, high-quality care, and necessary refining models for cultures of safety. The other impact of Nightingale on the current nursing profession is statistics. She upheld statistics because it is important in the science field and essential for improvement. With the use of statistics, Florence understood the current state, evaluated priorities, and assessed progress in improving patient outcomes. For instance, her root cause evaluation demonstrated that British soldiers were more likely to die because of typhoid, cholera, and dysentery spread through unsanitary conditions and practices than from injuries they had sustained in battleground thus, suggesting the sanitation strategy to improve the hospital environment. Observation is the other impact on the current nursing practice bestowed by Nightingale. She documented that the essential practical lesson that can be offered to nurses is to educate them on how to observe, what symptoms indicate improvement, the kind of neglect, and the evidence of neglect. In this regard, observation is perceived as a vital skill of saving life and increasing health and comfort rather than piling up miscellaneous information of the patients. Nightingale also taught how to build trust with the patient through effective communication (McDonald, 2020).
In conclusion, Nightingale’s contributions gave a better insight into improving the nursing profession. The current health care system benefits from the information and knowledge she empowered her students during her period. Though she faces both critics and admirers, it is exact to demonstrate that without the effort of Nightingale to ensure high quality in the hospital set up and better treatment for patients, today’s health system would still be retrogressed from the recent technology available for patient care. Most of the scholars believe that Florence’s initiatives positively impact the current and future nursing profession.
Gallagher, A. (2020). Learning from Florence Nightingale: A slow ethics approach nursing during the pandemic. Nursing Inquiry, 27(3).
McDonald, L. (2020). Florence Nightingale’s public health agenda. Perspectives in public health, 140(3), 137-138.
Ribeiro, O. M. P. L., Martins, M. M. F. P. D. S., Trindade, L. D. L., Fassarella, C. S., Silva, J. M. A. V. D., & Faria, A. D. C. A. (2020). 200 years of Florence Nightingale: contributions to the professional practice of nurses in hospitals. Revista Brasileira de Enfermagem, 73.