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Editorial: What has Florence Nightingale ever done for clinical nurses?
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 13:25 authored by Jacinta Kelly
Until recently, Florence Nightingale’s portrait featured on the British 10-pound note. This year, marking the centenary anniversary of her death at 90 years of age on the 13 August 1910, Miss Nightingale’s name has now been etched on 2-pound coins. However, lest we think the standard-bearer of modern nursing is losing currency, commemorative events held that year in the UK and elsewhere confirm that the ‘Lady with the Lamp’, as dubbed by the poet Longfellow, remains highly valued. In fact, praise has been heaped on this national treasure in the form of an imaginative £1·4 million redevelopment of the Florence Nightingale Museum. The Museum takes pride of place on the grounds of St Thomas’s hospital in London’s vibrant South Bank where Nightingale established her first Nightingale Training School for Nurses. In this audacious tribute, supported by the Wellcome Trust, Guys and St Thomas’ Charity and Garfield Weston Foundation, the Victorian nursing pioneer is celebrated as a sanitary reformer, statistician, administrator, researcher and educationalist. The Museum exhibits a vast collection of ‘Nightingalia’ organised under three pillars: her early childhood; her activities in the Crimean war; and finally her contribution to international health reform. The net effect of this careful assembly of Florence’s singular life story leaves the public in no doubt as to why her appeal as ‘The Queen of Nurses’ or ‘Soldier’s Friend’ has endured well into the 21st century. But does this enduring appeal for all things Nightingale extend to modern day clinical nursing? What did Florence Nightingale actually ever do for clinical nurses?
Publication titleJournal of Clinical Nursing