Celebration of International Women’s Day would remain unfulfilled without mentioning or talking about the “ Lady with a Lamp”, Florence Nightingle. She came to prominence while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, in which she organised care for wounded soldiers at Constantinople. She gave nursing a favourable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of “The Lady with the Lamp” making rounds of wounded soldiers at night.
British nurse, statistician, and social reformer who was the foundational philosopher of modern nursing. Florence Nightingale was put in charge of nursing British and allied soldiers in Turkey during the Crimean War. She spent many hours in the wards, and her night rounds giving personal care to the wounded established her image as the “Lady with the Lamp.” Her efforts to formalize nursing education led her to establish the first scientifically based nursing school—the Nightingale School of Nursing, at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London (opened 1860). She also was instrumental in setting up training for midwives and nurses in workhouse infirmaries. She was the first woman awarded the Order of Merit (1907). International Nurses Day, observed annually on May 12, commemorates her birth and celebrates the important role of nurses in health care.
There are many things that we can learn from the life of Florence Nightingale. The team inspiring life bring forward a list of 7 (seven) such lessons that we should learn from her life.
7 lessons to learn from the life of Florence Nightingale.
1. Pursue your Dreams.
Florence Nightingale was born into a life of ease in a wealthy, aristocratic family in England. She was expected to marry young and well and have children, but as a 17 year old she believed that she has a dream and that she wants to devote her life to the service of others.
Although She was not sure what profession She should be following but She knew that she needs to serve others, so she spent the next seven years learning more about the world. She also tried out nursing by helping friends and others when they fell ill. At 24 years of age, she decided she would dedicate her life to nursing and announced that to her sceptical family.
Florence Nightingale had a mission, not a job. She did not inquire about pay and benefits before leading her team of young nurses off to the Crimea, and she endured working conditions that would be considered intolerable in today’s world. Yet she never experienced “burnout,” and through devotion to her calling she changed the world of healthcare forever.
While pursuing your dreams you should be fully committed and think of your dreams as a mission which has to be achieved. There should not be any second thought when it comes to pursue your dreams.
Florence Nightingale was a disciplined pioneer of evidence-based practice. Less well-known than her contributions to hospital and nursing practice was her pioneering work in medical statistics; her painstaking efforts to chart infection and death rates among soldiers at Scutari gave weight to her demands for improved sanitary conditions first at military hospitals, and later in civilian institutions. She demonstrated that if you want to be effective, it’s not enough to know that you’re right – you must be able to demonstrate that you’re right with the facts.
While proceeding towards your dreams, many a time you have to face certain issues where you have to convince not only others but also yourself. During such times, you have to demonstrate yourself with the facts meticulously. Only with disciplined and detailed working you will be able to justify yourself.
4. Find a Mentor.
Florence Nightingale relied on mentors to help her make career decisions and moves. At age 18, she met Mary Clarke, a well-connected English socialite living in Paris who was 27 years older than her. Nightingale would invest a lot of time writing letters to form a close, lifelong friendship with Clarke. Clarke showed her a model for a strong woman who defied Victorian era traditions for women from affluent families like Nightingale.
Nightingale also maintained a long friendship with Sidney Herbert, an influential politician whom she met while traveling when she was 27. Seven years later, Herbert would use his position as Secretary of War to get Nightingale her position as a nursing leader in the Crimean War, which would rocket her to celebrity. When she was 31, Nightingale met Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor in the United States, who also mentored her to launch a career in medicine.
Thus, we see that Nightingale has reached pinnacle of success through the assistance of her Mentor. So, you should have a mentor who can guide you to reach your goal.
5. Master your professions.
Nursing existed before Florence Nightingale, but it was a much different role before Nightingale professionalized it. Many nurses were nuns and respected as such. Beyond that, nursing was viewed as a job of last resort and carried little respect. When she was 30, Nightingale spent two weeks as an observer of a well-run charitable hospital in Germany run by Protestant deaconesses – not Catholic nuns – who acted as nurses.
Most of the nurses had received actual training in nursing. She was so impressed by the processes and practices, she published a booklet describing them. She returned there two years later to get three months of more formal medical training in a nursing apprenticeship. At age 32, Nightingale was older than her fellow nurses, but she was exhilarated by the experience of living on her own for the first time without the creature comforts of living with her family and their servants. Thus, the life and work of Nightingale provides us an insight that if you want to succeed in any profession or field, you have to acquire mastery in that field.
6. Don’t miss Opportunity.
Once she was trained as a nurse, Nightingale jumped at opportunities to practice. When an informal nursing home in London needed someone to run it, she volunteered, gaining her first leadership role. When there was a cholera outbreak in London, she volunteered as a nurse at a local hospital, picking up valuable experience managing an epidemic.
When her country went to war against Russia in the Crimean War in 1853, Nightingale volunteered to go to war to help nurse British troops. That high-profile role gave her a chance to put her nursing improvements into action in a large scale that earned her a lot of recognition.
Thus, her life teaches us that to reach the pinnacle not only you have to be passionate about your goal but also that you will never miss your goal if you don’t fail to miss an opportunity.
7. Know your strength and weaknesses.
As we know that Florence Nightingale had travelled a lot and volunteered as a Nurse before coming down to nursing in a professional manner. She travelled to assess that what service she would be able to do, thus she assessed her weaknesses and strength before entering her domain profession.
You should also assess your strength and weaknesses before proceeding on your goal. Try to rectify your weaknesses where ever it can be and focus on your strength so that you can achieve your goal.