Celebrating the History of Nursing

The first documents recording a nurses role in providing care for the sick in hospitals is the Roman times, 300AD. Nursing as an occupation for young women continued to noted in the history records over the next centuries as the ‘çalling’ to become a nurse became socially acceptable through religious orders care of the poor and the sick. At the beginning of the 17 century, with the closing of monasteries and convents the nursing role in wider society became much less visible. The fact that nursing developed into the profession it is today is, in large apart, due to Florence Nightingale, a social reformer, a statistician, a feminist and a writer, born in 1820. She became prominent in society, as the ‘Lady with the Lamp’, when she led a team of 38 nurses to the Crimea War. The majority of soldiers were dying from infection rather than from injury. Within weeks, the nurses had greatly reduced the death count through the application of Nightingales principles’ of good sanitation, ventilation, and healthy nutrition.

Florence Nightingale`s vision of educated women, using scientific principles, delivering compassionate care to the sick eventuated in 1860 with the opening of the first secular school of nursing in the world -the Nightingale Training School for Nurses, which continues today as part of Kings College, London. Florence Nightingales social reforms influenced the future of healthcare in Britain and wider. Alongside this, she was a strong and active advocate for women helping to abolish prostitution laws that were unforgiving of women and lenient to negligible for men. She helped institute training for midwives and nurses working in workhouse infirmaries enabling the increase of workforce participation-and economic freedom for women that was socially acceptable. Nightingale continues to inspire nurses all over the world with her legacy of dedication and innovation. The combined events of the WHO declaring 2020 Year of the Nurse & Midwife in this 200th year after Florence Nightingales birth and the global catastrophe of the coronavirus have indeed seen 2020 become the ….