Florence Nightingale Birthday: World's Most Famous Nurse - page 4

As part of our pinning ceremonies in nursing school, we all probably remember reciting the Nightingale Pledge, a modified "Hippocratic Oath" composed in 1893 by Mrs. Lystra E. Gretter and a Committee... Read More

  1. by   bloodorange
    Quote from RNperdiem
    Whatever mental problems she had, (in the bio I read, they suggested PTSD), she was an independently wealthy member of the upper class in a time and place where class and rank meant everything. She had power and knew how to cultivate and wield it.
    With her power and position, she could get away with more than other people.
    Of course that's true; it's also true that mental illness doesn't discriminate based on class. The rich have better resources, but the underlying condition still sucks.
  2. by   poppycat
    Flo & I seem to have a lot in common. I suffered from agoraphobia for years. There was a period of 3 years where I never left my house for any reason. I still have problems going out from time to time but nowhere near as bad as back then. The one thing that can still evoke pure panic in me? Grocery shopping! I can not do grocery shopping without my husband's hand to hold. That just seems like the most ridiculous thing to me but it's my downfall.

    I also have bipolar 2 so I'm constantly watching for the dark monster of depression to creep in. This past weekend I was in such a bad place that I was actually asking my cats why I couldn't just lay down & die. Everything's fine now but I just hate when those feelings come.
  3. by   direw0lf
    Not trying to get anyone to do my homework for me, I just want to know please if I understand this correct. I'm trying to write an argument that Florence Nightingale used both Natural law and Feminist ethics in her nursing. Would you agree or disagree with that statement? Because I will chose another topic if I'm wrong, because I'm not 100% sure about the Feminist part.. I thought Feminist care because Florence Nightingale was concerned with peoples' relationships and even though Nightingale believed in the virtue of obedience, she didn't believe she was to blindly be obedient under physicians. Would you say this is correct in terms of what the definition of Feminist ethics of care means, please?
  4. by   GuEsT78
    There's an oft-quoted remark by Florence Nightingale:

    "How very little can be done under a spirit of fear"

    It was so relevant to much of what I say in a recent book, Senior Nurse Mentor: Curing What Ails Hospital Nursing Morale, that I marshaled all the resources of Google and eventually tracked it back to its source. She wasn't making a direct reference to the biblical verse, but seemed almost certainly to be referring to a passage:

    "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
    —1 John 4:18.

    In other words, she believed that acting as a nurse out of fear of punishment if you do wrong is an imperfect, unproductive motivation. You should act out of love and for her that meant the love of God. Read her writings, and you'll come away impressed with just how religious she was. "Natural law" is far too dry and academic to describe what she was.

    And being convinced that she was serving God in love, she could take on the entire medical profession if necessary, and do so without any appeal to feminism. There's a rough parallel between her intensity and that of the patron saint of Italy, St. Catherine of Siena, of whom Wikipedia says: "After this visit, she began travelling with her followers throughout northern and central Italy advocating reform of the clergy and advising people that repentance and renewal could be done through "the total love for God."


    In a broader perspective, you need to keep in mind that people in the past did not act on the same set of motivations and for the same reasons that many people do today. They really were different. That was certainly true of her. She was unique even in her own today, hence her fame.

    I didn't read a lot of what she said, but in what I did read, she came across as very intense and complex. To do her justice in your homework, you'd need to understand her well, and I suspect you don't have the time for that. She's more a MSN book-length thesis topic. If you do decide to plunge ahead, you might look for biographies written by her contemporaries. Many would understand her better than a modern biographer, especially those trying to squeeze her into an early 21st century box.

    Sorry I can't be of more help, but I illustrate the point I'm making. She's too great a person in the historical sense to be taken lightly or treated as one side or the other of current debates.
  5. by   elkpark
    I think that whether folks here agree or disagree with your thesis statement is not as important as how strong and cogent an argument you can make to defend your position. The teacher who taught me the most about writing always took the position that she didn't care whether we said up was down or black was white, as long as we could defend our position in the paper. That was a writing course; obviously, in science-based disciplines like nursing, factual accuracy is important , but, in the case of your assignment, your thesis statement isn't "right" or "wrong" -- what matters is whether you can convince people that it's "right."

    Have you found any sources that support your position? (Has anyone else written about Flo and feminist ethics?) Have you found sources that you can use to defend your position? If it were me, I would be starting from a recognized definition of feminist ethics and looking for writings by Flo that express, more or less, those concepts (unless, of course, I could find someone else who already wrote about Flo and feminist ethics, in which case I would be quoting the bejeezus out of that author ).

    Best wishes!
  6. by   vandiola
    In our social sciences seminar we were discussing Florence Nightingale's impact on education. Now I attend KCL, so I'm in the Florence Nightingale school of nursing, but my teacher informed us Nightingale actually felt the character of a nurse was more important than an academic education. I can't seem to find any sources on this. I think it''s quite interesting to name a whole university faculty after someone who wasn't too keen on a university education :S
  7. by   elkpark
    "A university education" wasn't really an issue for women, nurses or otherwise, in Nightingale's day. While she may have had strong views on the value of individual character in nursing (and would any of us really disagree with that?), she is also known for writing the first nursing textbook and developing an entire model for formal nursing education which was the first formal, structured nursing education in history and the standard for nursing education for generations. She also required that applicants to her school be able to read and write, which was certainly not a given for women at the time. I think it would be hard to argue that she didn't value formal education.
    Last edit by elkpark on Sep 28, '15
  8. by   llg
    When interpreting Nightingale -- and/or any other person -- you always have to consider the context of their lives. Nightingale herself had a well-rounded education, one that far exceeded that of most women of her age. She was a great supporter of formal education of nurses (as she interpreted that concept through the lens of her time and place). She also placed great emphasis on the character of the individual nurse -- which is just as important today as it was then.

    Why turn the question into an "either-or" debate - unless it is just to stir up debate? Why not just accept the fact that she valued both? Nobody knows for sure what she would have believed or said were alive today.
  9. by   tnbutterfly
    Bumping this up on Flo's birthday.
  10. by   Orca
    I tried to visit the Florence Nightingale Museum in London the last time that I visited the UK. Even though I visited on a day when they were supposed to be open, the museum was closed for an unexplained reason. Maybe next trip.
  11. by   sirI
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Florence Nightingale!

    Nursing is an art, and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation as any painter's or sculptor's work, for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body? Nursing is one of the Fine Arts; I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts. ~ Florence Nightingale
  12. by   shampick
    I love the fact that she was the "black sheep" of the family that often butted heads with her mother. This describes me to a T and it describes many of the nurses I know and love. Maybe that is part of our genetic make-up Thanks for the interesting article.