Good Essay On Why Florence Nightingale Still Matters

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Nursing, Breastfeeding, Nightingale, History, Florence Nightingale, Profession, Medicine, Patient

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/09/28

In “Why Florence Nightingale Still Matters” (2011), Fidelindo Lim examines the current lack of recognition for the contributions Florence Nightingale made in the field of nursing, and why her ideas are still important. He gives a few examples of her groundbreaking ideas on infection control, patient confidentiality and evidence based practice that show her ideas are just as relevant today as they were in 1859, when she published her seminal work, Notes on Nursing: What it is, and What it is Not. Although nursing has evolved a great deal since, the foundations of good nursing are the same, and it is important to know both the history of nursing, and respect those figures that paved the way for the rest of us. Furthermore, Nightingale is important for more than just her contributions to nursing, she was also a trailblazing women, a war hero, and a feminist hero who opened the doors for other women to pursue their professional interests outside the home.
Notes on Nursing (1859) was based on Nightingales knowledge both from nursing school and her practical experiences on the battlefield during the Crimean War (1854-1856). acquired at school (Bloy, n.d.). As Lim mentions his article, the book focuses on good patient care, along with effective tips to make nursing safer and more efficient.
Some modern texts are too theoretical and offer little in the way of tips, tricks, anecdotes or warnings that can help nurses avoid problems and increase their skillsets. According to Nightingale, there were some simple things that were essential for nursing: “hygiene, sanitation, fresh air, proper lighting, a good diet, warmth, quietness and attentiveness.” (Bloy, n.d.). One of the reasons Nightingale may be ignored today is that her advice is so basic and taken for granted in hospital settings. However, without Nightingale and other pioneers in nursing, there would be no foundation for the science we practice today. As a profession, nursing has a history that needs to be understood and respected – it is also interesting to see how modern nursing started and developed.
Nightingales biographies stress that nursing was not only primitive in the 1800’s, it was also a “unsuitable” profession for women of her social status (UAB, n.d.). This era was called the “dark age of nursing” by medical historian Fielding Garrison (1921). Nightingale helped change the perception and practice of nursing. Her actions during the Crimean War are legendary. She introduced hygienic condition, personal nursing and did things like writing letters home for soldiers. Her group of nurses “transformed a dirty battlefield hospital into a healthy environment within six months, and as a result, the death rate of patients fell from 40 to 2 percent” (Porter, 1996, p. 226).
Today, her legacy is important, but so are the practices she was championing long ago. Lim points out that Nightingale made some points that are modern issues today, like observational nursing and confidentiality concerns. He compares what she wrote in 1859 with the 2010 National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs). They are strikingly similar. Nightingales books seems like recommendations for best practices that were based on observations about what worked. She believed a good nurse did not gossip (Lim, 2011). Today, this is codified in HIPAA, but nurses need to be vigilant about their professional responsibilities. Lim encourages nurses to “heed lessons from history” and to think about the future of nursing – it is continuously evolving. However, it is essential to never neglect the basics established by good nurses so long ago. Nightingales advice will never go out of date. It is timeless.


Bloy, M. (n.d.). Florence Nightingale (1820 — 1910). Retrieved January 16, 2015, from
Garrison, F. H. (1921). An Introduction to the history of medicine c. 2. WB Saunders
Lim, F. (2011). Why Florence Nightingale still matters. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from
Nightingale, F. (1992). Notes on nursing: What it is, and what it is not. Lippincott
Williams & Wilkin
Porter, Roy. (1996). The Cambridge illustrated history of medicine. Cambridge
UAB - Reynolds-Finley Historical Library - The Life of Florence Nightingale. (n.d.).
Retrieved January 16, 2015, from

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