Florence Nightingale left behind a legacy of teachings that have become the cornerstone of the modern style of nursing. The current nursing trends are aligned with her environmental theory and philosophy. She advocated for holism in nursing, which cannot be achieved if the nurses do not understand all the aspects of themselves in their entirety to be able to understand the patient’s needs, both spiritually and physically. In addition, she introduced colors, light, exercise, pets, and music in the context of care as elements necessary to create a favorable environment that could enable healing. While healing is not always achievable, eliminating the signs and symptoms of a disease does not make one healed, rather, it only attends to the physical dimension of care, leaving out the spiritual part. However, Nightingale was not only known as an advocate for better nursing practices but also women’s rights through her writing. One of her most famous pieces was “Cassandra: An Essay.” Through this essay, Nightingale expresses her frustrations of the oppression women were enduring in the male-dominated society and hoped to have a world that offered equal opportunities to both men and women.
I chose Nightingale as the theorist in my discussion because she was diverse, selfless, fearless, and inspirational. Nightingale fought for all people regardless of gender and faith; she was a true definition of being a feminist and social reformer. It was interesting to find out that she was born in the upper class, and that despite receiving all the provisions from her family, she sought to struggle, study and make something of herself outside the house chores. She was fought first hand by her family but forged her way through a profession that was meant for men at the time, to become one of the greatest in the nursing field. Her significant impact is felt to date because she made nursing a prestigious and independent profession. She was also among the first feminists in the world and through her writing on the plight of women, she spark conversations that led to the rise of more feminists.
In the essay, a reoccurring pattern of a plethora of rules and standards that females had to comply with emerges. Society considered them servants to their men who had no right to complain whatsoever. Nightingale questions the true purpose of women at that time because all their work was mostly shorthanded (Nightingale, 2010). To society, a woman was looked at as a sexual being instead of her mental capability and potential to benefit her community. Further, men’s education was seen as more important than that of women, and even the few women who were educated and had accomplishments of the queen were never taken seriously. She strongly argued against the bias and advocated for the removal of the restrictions that barred women from studying and advancing their careers.
Considering the hurdles and constraints Nightingale had to fight, her achievements were quite remarkable. Her dedication to her patients even in the middle of the night, led her to be referred to as “lady with the lamp.” Nightingale dreamed and filled herself with passion and dedication that saw her through her lifelong commitment to educate, speak out and change the horrendous healthcare conditions. Her work significantly lowered death rates in army hospitals. It is hard today for women to accomplish their career goals currently, but it was harder during Nightingale’s time. Therefore, reading through her accomplishments motivates today’s women to push harder to achieve as much if not more than she did.
Nightingale, F. (2010). Florence Nightingale. Cassandra: An essay. American Journal of Public Health, 100(9), 1586-1587. Web.