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Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.”

John 4:37

FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE CREATOR OF MODERN NURSING

Florence Nightingale was born into a wealthy English family in the early part of the 19th century. She lived a life funded by prosperity and in her youth met many of the upper class of English society. Her parents took her and her two sisters on many trips throughout Europe.

Her early life was not the one she wanted as she grew into young adulthood. She wanted to serve and she did. First going to Crimea to help minister to British soldiers during the Crimea war.

When she arrived at the battlefront hospital she noticed a startling lack of sanitation and hygiene for the soldiers. In fact, most soldiers didn’t die from battle wounds, but from the horrid conditions of the medical facilities and lack of medical attention.

She immediately spoke out for better conditions and implored the English officials to provide more staff. During this period she implemented a procedure for nurses of washing their hands before they helped a patient. She developed better sanitation systems in the hospitals. She focused on cleaning wounds and improving wound drainage. The result, after one year the death rate for soldiers was reduced from 42% TO 2 %!

Accomplished through compassion, added attention and Nightingale’s unwillingness to give in to accepting the horrid conditions of the hospitals.

She immediately became a national media sensation, not that this was her goal. Her reputation of kindness, compassion and toughness spread throughout the British empire.

The famous Kings College of London, today has a school named the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery. The very school she herself established and led in the 19th century. Many of today’s standards for nursing came from this school and its practices.

Before there were Power Point slides and Excel, Nightingale developed a process of statistical gathering and presentation called Graphical Statistical Presentation. Instead of presenting raw numbers to make her point, Nightingale used pie charts and other forms of graphics to highlight the results.

Florence Nightingale received many honors throughout her life. Even today she is still receiving honors. The annual National Nursing day is celebrated on her birthday. The medical plans used by our country’s armed forces are named after her. Battleships in both the British and American navies were named after her.

While honors were received, it was not her life goal. Her goal was to make nursing a profession and to make nursing the frontline of care with patients.

Nightingale was also a strong Christian, who believed she was living out her life to serve God. She once told her sister, “God called me in the morning and asked me would I do good for him alone without reputation.”  A commitment she held for the balance of her life.

Her view of God was far different that that which existed in the Victorian age of the 19th century. When many viewed God as a stern judge of behavior, she viewed God as merciful and not condemning. She was strongly opposed to the thought of a God who would banish people to hell. She thought of God as one who believed in and cared for humankind, all humankind!

During her final years she was bedridden, but still worked. On August 13th, 1910 the “Angel of ministering”  died leaving a legacy of caring. A great Christian woman leader, who went where others wouldn’t go. She answered a call that others wouldn’t answer. Her braveness and compassion saved many lives. She was a humble leader.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

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