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"The Lady with the Lamp" - celebrating Florence Nightingale

There must very few nurses in the world, let alone in the UK, who will not know and associate the name Florence Nightingale as the pioneer of our amazing profession - a “trailblazer” in her day. 

As with nurses today, first and foremost, she instinctively cared for others equally and without judgment. She also had an inquiring mind which led her to question and challenge the practices she observed.  Florence was a determined character and showed her self-motivation by accessing and reading everything she could find on medicine. She devoted her time to caring for ill family and neighbours when the occasions arose, until the opportunity finally came for her to start her nurse training. Then of course, her confidence, vision and organisational skills took her to the Crimea.  She funded the establishment of St. Thomas' Hospital, and within it, the Nightingale Training School for Nurses, where she remained an authority and advocate of health care reform right into her later years. 

Following her unexpected death in August 1910, Florence was returned from London to her home and buried in my local Churchyard, St Margaret’s, East Wellow, near Romsey,  which I have been passing on many an occasion lately as it is on one of the routes of my daily walks.

Laying flowers at the grave of Florence Nightingale - Chrissie Marshall & Kim Irvine, Educators in Practice

It is very poignant that we remember Florence Nightingale today, particularly during these very unusual and challenging times, and reflect on similarities of the situations we find ourselves in. All nurses on the front line are displaying the same qualities (The 6 C’s) and professionalism as Florence and her team did all those years ago.

“The efficient hospitals and devoted nurses of today owe an immortal debt to her, and through them the lives of all of us have been affected by the work of this great and gracious lady”  L. du Garde Peach, 1959.

Nursing, washing your hands and evidence based-healthcare, pioneered by Florence Nightingale, have become more important now than ever before.

Written by, Chrissie Marshall, Educator in Practice, Solent NHS Trust

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