A Few Words From Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale

loyal readers know, thanks to the wonders of technology, we are now able to communicate with people from the past. Our favorite contact is Florence Nightingale, who is the synonymous representation of the nursing field. Here’s what she had to say, during our once-monthly correspondence, about the minimization of nurses' work:


Hello, all. Florence here. I hope the day, or evening, in which you are reading this, finds you well. 


The subject at hand is: a life of service to humankind. I experienced the societal push-back when I declared my wish to pursue a career as a professional nurse, beginning with my own family. In my time,for a woman-of-means to sacrifice her life in service outside the home was regarded as inappropriate and outlandish.


I find it interesting thatover 100 years later,nurses still often lack the respect the work deserves, whether they be male or female. 

Recently, a woman of some celebrity, on what I’ve heard referred to as a "television" (to my understanding, this invention has the reach of a book but is visual in nature?) made some sort of demeaning remark about a uniformed nurse.


Evidently, the slight involved mention of the nurse's possession of a stethoscope.(They are still in production!Fancy that.) The woman on this "television" contraption assumed the stethoscope was solely a doctor’s tool. Sigh. Such ignorance must be forgiven... corrected,then forgiven. To state the doctor only deserves to utilize this vital tool is a bit foolish, don't you think? 


Nurses everywhere reacted by “trending” the phrase #NursesUnite, and yes, that is the odd format that they used, in solidarity to show their distaste. Of course, the woman who made the remark paled in comparison to one of her cohorts who continued on the matter, not apologizing and being quite brash about the magnitude of the remarks. Eventually, an apology came about, but maybe this all happened with reason.


In my time,despite the fact that "The sun never set on the British Empire," it was quite difficult to reach a grand number of people, as there were fewer of us, and fewer still were literate! One of my friends used to assuage my feelings by saying, "Even negative press is positive press." With this controversy, the nursing profession has once more garnered empathy from the general public. We must see the glass half full, not half empty here, people.


Well, I must be off. Be in touch with you soon. Pleasant day, everyone! 


Candy Campbell,DNP, CNL, is an Assistant Professor in the graduate school of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of San Francisco. She is also well known for “Channeling Florence Nightingale: Integrity, Insight, Innovation” on stage and in print.  http://candycampbell.com and candythenurse.com

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