Florence Nightengale - who is she? - page 2

Just curious. Since Florence Nightengale is the "Mother of Modern Nursing" or something like that, what do nurses know about her or think about her? Any comments would be appreciated.... Read More

  1. by   nightingale
    How fortunate gotalove! Wow.. that is quite a field trip! Where do you live (if you don't mind my asking)?
  2. by   karenG
    the museum is really interesting and if you tell the ladies there that you are a nurse, they will not be able to do enough for you!! I live about 30mins from the museum.

    odd fact- did you know that florrie kept her pet owl in her pocket for 4 yrs? or that in the crimea war 4,516 soldiers died in battle but 16,297 died of diseases!

  3. by   nightingale
    Wow.. you guys are a fount of tidbits and cool info... thank you for posting..

    Another reason to go to England... I gotta go to Ireland sometime soon! I feel my heritage calling me!
  4. by   JonRN
    I read somewhere that F.N. had a pet owl she kept in her pocket all the time. Any truth to this F.N. scholars? If she did, then she must have loved animals too.

  5. by   Love-A-Nurse
    learning some wonderful knowledge, great post!
  6. by   florry
    Yes papa!

    She had a pet owl (a living one)on her shoulder which lived together with her, The Owl usually stayed on her shoulder in her bed. FN.stayed in bed approx. from 40 years old until she died..Problaby with different owls...(Imean, they cant be 40 years or more..)
  7. by   sjoe
    Some other details:

    She never believed in the germ theory, though this was not a new concept during her time.

    She obtained control of the "healthcare" budget during the Crimean War though political contacts only, not through any experience or skill, to much public criticism.

    Shortly after the war she "took to her bed" for the rest of her life--a common enough behavior among wealthy depressed women of her time.

    She is hardly a suitable model for modern nursing, IMHO.
  8. by   aimeee
    The owl's name was Athena, BTW.

    I think she accomplished amazing things for a lady who was suffering from whatever the heck it was and working from her bedroom most of the time.
    Last edit by aimeee on Oct 11, '02
  9. by   abrenrn
    I am enjoying this board immesely, learning a lot.

    As per last post, whether FN was a suitable role model in her personal life does not, I think, carry over to her professional life. However she did it, she accomplished more than most of her time. She also defined the profession of nursing.

    When I read Notes on Nursing, and read why she abandoned the germ theory, which she knew well, I was amazed by her brilliance. She had observed, in real life, groups of individuals in a single dwelling, enclosed (perhaps army barracks) where a disease that had not been present appeared seemingly out of the blue - generally cholera or typhoid. She found this would be prevented with cleanliness and a good water supply. Unable to explain this phenomenom with the primitive germ theory of the time, she rejected it and postulated disease coming from the dirt.

    Hmmm, maybe that was wrong, but it took quite a while for anyone to figure out the asymptomatic carrier state. While other people were looking, FG prevented it from causing epidemics. I think this is one example of the evidence based practice she recommended.

    She rejected the germ theory because it could not explain what she was seeing, postulated "lack of cleanliness" and assumed that could be applied to measles, etc. Definitely wrong. Had she continued long enough in practice, she would have observed spread of airborne diseases in the cleanest of settings and modified her earlier theory.

    Perhaps she expected someone in the nursing profession after her to continue to observe and modify. That is how scientific theories develop.

    No matter how she gained control of "the health care budget" - though from what I've read, I dispute that she had no skills or experience - the mortality rates of injured soldiers plummetted after she arrived. Perhaps what I have read is wrong, but I believe the secratary of war had implored her to go, not the other way around. The English, who had no religious nursing orders, were losing more soldiers in hospitals than on the field and their relatives were a bit upset.

    The only group that remained steadfastly opposed to FN were physicians, even after the Crimean War. It was the enormous public support that enabled her to start a school of nursing despite the physicians protests. They were grateful that their husbands and sons had come home.

    How can anyone in nursing look at these accomplishments, the theory of nursing that is the best I have heard, without appreciation? How is it that so many of her accomplishments have been forgotten or relegated to improvements in public health?

    I don't understand.
    Last edit by abrenrn on Oct 11, '02
  10. by   nightingale
    Facinating information.
  11. by   semstr
    Well one of the reasons Anne, at least in my opinion, is that FN was a lady of the 19. hundreds and her ideas and moral/ethic thinking was of that time. Like the role of women, to serve, to care etc.
    A lot of her views are simply not modern any longer, honestly, ask a young student whether he/she in nursing to serve? You know I did ask this question and most of my students just looked at me, as if I was FN reborn.
    But I agree with you, it is a shame that her name is not automatically on top of the list of the theorists.
    (She is at my list, since I teach nursing history at our diploma-school and every student has to come to my classes. Well in diploma-school, they have to come to all the classes, so no big deal, but that's a different story.)
    Take care, Renee
  12. by   florry
    Can you tell me; was/is she a "theorist"?

    My collegaes are saying that she is no theorist..., but she had some facinating thoughts about nursing...What is the sign of a "real" theorists?
  13. by   NRSKarenRN
    Check out:
    Country Joe McDonald's Tribute to Florence Nightingale
    Includes audio recording of Florence and info re PTSD---many pictures too!