Highlighting Florence Nightingale – National Nurses Week 2013

Florence Nightingale

National Nurses Week 2013

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Photo: http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk

Florence Nightingale is an important figure in the world of nursing and healthcare. Born in May of 1820 in Florence, Italy, Florence belonged to a prosperous British family. From a young age, she believed her purpose was to become a nurse, administering aid to the poor and the ill. Her parents were unsupportive of her career decision and were disgruntled by her refusal to settle down and marry a man of social affluence. Florence was nonplussed, however, and enrolled at the Lutheran Hospital of Pastor Fliedner in Kaiserwerth, Germany where she received her degree in nursing.

During her time spent at Scutari, the hospital based in Constantinople during the time of the Crimean War in 1853, Florence worked to improve on the unsanitary and inhumane living conditions of the wounded soldiers there. She also tended to their wounds and illnesses during every moment, thus earning herself the nickname “the Lady with the Lamp.” Once the war was over, Florence returned home to the praise of the public, earning awards and monetary prizes from the Queen and the British government. Throughout the rest of her life, she campaigned for the improvement of health standards and hospital designs, as well as for the reform of professional training for nurses. Florence remains a notary figure today whom many people still consider to be an important role model.

Although she is known best for her role in helping to establish modern nursing, Florence Nightingale is also a pioneer in the world of statistics – specifically, graphs. Florence stressed the importance of “actionable data,” which is comprised of the following elements:

  • Data should be easily accessible to all of its users
  • Data should be easily comprehensible
  • Data should be timely
  • Data should be used to bridge gaps between people and departments

Florence believed that in following these guidelines, exceptional healthcare would be provided for all patients. Her efforts and dedication to quality care continue to influence nursing today.  She applied her beliefs in many ways starting when she realized that many of the deaths during the Crimean War were related to poor hygiene.  She then retrieved data and numbers of these preventable deaths.  She developed the polar-area diagram with the statistics that she had gathered.  Her statistical data was later analyzed by William Farr and together they demonstrated that three times as many soldiers died at home from poor hygiene than at war.

Florence Nightingale survives in our history as an inspired nurse and a compassionate statistician.  She changed the world of nursing and will always be remembered as an important figure in healthcare and nursing.

Florence1 

Photo: http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk

Sources:

http://www.biography.com/people/florence-nightingale-9423539?page=2

http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/the-collection/biography.html

http://nursing.advanceweb.com/Features/Articles/Empowering-Nurses-with-Data.aspx

http://plus.maths.org/content/florence-nightingale-compassionate-statistician

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