Florence Nightengale - who is she? - page 3

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   Freebird55
    I think it's kind of funny how she was so into cleanliness, and "germ free" and she died of Syphilis.
  2. by   P_RN
    FreeRooster55 you have been taken in by a myth.

    She died of heart failure August 13, 1910.


    Did Florence Nightingale die of syphilis?
    No, there is no possibility at all that she had syphilis. Her life is extremely well-documented and the symptoms of syphilis are not compatible with what we know about her. But this rumour about syphilis is quite common. I have been told that it was publicised by a priest who was opposing a church proposal to commemmorate her. He said she was an atheist who died of syphilis, and this was widely published in the press and resulted in the proposal being dropped.
  3. by   JonRN
    Karen.....great site!!! I added it to my fav's. I still learn something new every day. Thanks for turning me on to this.

  4. by   nightingale
    P RN and Karen.. great sites! They are both going in my favorites for a while.

    I love happy endings...

    So.. who knows about the brown band on the nursing hat. Is that out of respect to her?
  5. by   abrenrn
    What I know about black band - I believe it was a symbol of mourning for FN. My mother went to a school that did not have the band on the cap - it always annoyed her when people asked when she would be a nurse. So, I always kind of wondered why that school went against the trend. I started assuming they felt cursed by a woman who founded a profession then cursed it with her class/sex views of the time and refused to mourn her loss. Then I read notes on nursing and thought that perhaps they chose not to mourn her because this particular school of nursing felt that while she had died, her vision for a true profession lived on - as it did in that school. The vision of nursing presented in their yearbooks is as good or better than any I see today.

    THEORY - basically is a way to explain the world around you, i.e. gravity explained why apples fall from trees. In Notes FN defined the role of a professional nurse, defined an approach to nursing that basically said observe, draw conclusions, try to explain with a theory, modify theory as new data comes in.

    Seems many nurses focus on her obsession with cleanliness, rejection of germ theory, etc. She was obsessed with cleanliness - only way to prevent wound infections, prevent certain contagious diseases from spreading. As I said before, I believe she rejected germ theory as it did not explain what now would be seen as asymptomatic carriers. With further observation, learning, she would have continued to modify.

    Just a few conclusions I have reached, could be wrong.
  6. by   florry
    Hello again!

    Thank you anne for information about theories. Yes, that was a good excpl. of the consept. But do you agree or think or what ever that Florence Nightingale was/is a theorists?

    Didn't she "only" have some good notes on nursing.....? Just curius. :rolleyes:
  7. by   abrenrn
    Personally, I think "Nurse" is a term to be defined, the starting point for any theory system (must start with definitions, really, I know, I was a math major too). FN defined nursing as providing professional care to the patient. Then define professional - educated, accountable, etc; defined care as supporting patients through disease/ disease prevention, etc.

    Only theory needed is how to do that best. FN basically proposed what is now known as evidence based "medicine" - she did that with nursing. Germ theory could not explain the evidence, she rejected and proposed alternative theory that worked - esp in cases of asymptommatic carriage (think of typhoid Mary).

    A nurse is a person who has a professional role, not a theory. How best to perform the professional role is the subject of theory. Propose a theory based on evidence, try and see if it works. Keep it while it does. Elaborate, change, etc. when it does not work. Newtonian physics worked for a long time - then things got faster, we could see further and it didn't. So, along came Einstein - Newton was wrong! Newtons physics is still taught because it still works very well in the world we usually see around us. Get into outer space, down to molecules, it starts falling apart.

    Just my opinion.
  8. by   mark_LD_RN
    Ithink FN is part of nursings proplems today. it is time to get away from most of that thinking.JMHO
  9. by   abrenrn

    Do you think we should get away from a solid definition of a nurse, nursing care, and a theory and evidence driven model of practice?

    Just curious.
  10. by   karenG
    FN was also the first statitician! she kept stats on everything in the crimea war- and used them to get resourses and fight her corner. she may have drawn the wrong conclusions sometimes but she was on the right track. My tutor for research always cites her as the first example of stats!

    maybe some of the things she said about nurses dont sit well with us now... but she was a product of her times. we have moved on but she did give us a base to start from. And I dont think the 'carry on films' over here helped the image of nurses- all stockings and suspenders!! think we have to help ourselves sometimes!!

  11. by   abrenrn
    I agree with Karen completely. FN left us with a lot of baggage. This should not prevent us from noting and celebrating her accomplishments in nursing.
  12. by   donmurray
    We are having a TV poll here on great Britons, In FN's bio, they mentioned that infection/death rates at Scutari initially rose, after she took over.
    Anyone heard of Mrs Bedford-Fenwick, who proposed nurse Registration, and was the first UK RN.......No. 1
  13. by   abrenrn
    I haven't heard that one. I just know mortality rates were 42% before she got there with her nurses, 2% 6 months after. I wonder if a physician gave those stats? In FN's time they were absolutely outraged at the idea of educating nurses at all - even after the Crimean war. As people were so pleased that their wounded family and friends started coming home alive, the public supported Nightengale's attempt to start a school of nursing indepedent from hospitals (who, she feared, would see students as a source of free labor, ignoring education).

    Did FN curse the nursing profession she created? I think so. She held to rigid class and sex distinctions despite an intellect that was able to see beyond accepted conventions in other areas. She stated that nurses were as important as physicians but that was something for nurses to know, not the MD - leaving a deferential role in which all communication is placed on the shoulders of nurses (if a doctor does not listen to what a nurse says, it is her job to get him to hear it - a paraphrase). She also said men could not make good nurses - very wrong.

    I also suspect she was reluctant to share the spotlight with others, so the contributions of contemporaries in nursing were not noted by her. A strong group of leaders did not seem to emerge. Sadly, as a result of this fault, much of what she had learned and believed was lost - no strong nurses to carry on.

    These are conclusions I have drawn. Nevertheless - FN made a very important contribution - she defined a professional model of caring. Prior to her, it was in the hands of the religious in some countries, primarily prostitutes in England. Her thinking was brilliant and she was the first statistician.

    Do we throw the baby out with the bath water?