Eminent Person Introduction

“It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a hospital that it should do the sick no harm.”
-Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale, the Lady with the Lamp.

My eminent person is Florence Nightingale, an English statistician, social reformer, and founder of modern nursing. Something that draws me to this person is how she was able to make such a difference that affects us to this day. She enforced workplace safety, making hospitals a place where sick could heal, instead of being harmed. By enforcing sanitary laws like washing hands, changing bedsheets, ventilating wards, and providing decent food and water, hospitals were safer for patients and doctors. A connection I share with Florence is that we are both interested in healthcare or medicine. She was a nurse and specialized in preventative medicine, I am interested in pharmaceutical sciences and psychiatry. Those interests may not be closely related, but their purposes are to help a patient get better. We both strongly believe in our opinions, during the Crimean war, nurses were not respected and the tension between the doctors and nurses caused a negative energy to thrive in the wards. After the war, she opened nursing schools and made nursing into a respected profession, she is an inspiration to nurses all over the world today. I may have not done something as powerful as she did, though I will stand by my thoughts and what I believe is right. I believe Florence exemplifies my goals in TALONS as I am willing to challenge myself through this program, and though it may be uncomfortable, I am willing to pave my own path, so I can achieve my goals like Florence did when she went against her family’s opinion on nursing. Throughout her lifetime, she helped and healed others, I think this exemplifies my own goal of having a career that will help people around me. A barrier that separates me and my person is geography and time, she was born 187 years before me and in a completely different country. Florence was born into a wealthy family that expected her to get married to a rich partner at a young age and live her life with her family. Instead, she went against their wishes and become a nurse, unlike her, I have not had a dream big enough to make such a difference in both my own and others’ lives’. A way for me to address these barriers is learning to empathize with Florence, these barriers are a learning opportunity for me too, the more I learn, the better I can understand her.

Notes on Nursing, by Florence Nightingale

Florence had contributed to her field in many ways, in addition to writing over 150 pamphlets, reports, and books on healthcare, she established basic sanitary laws that are the foundation to modern medicine. Also known as “the Lady with the Lamp,” Florence will be remembered as the first nurse who set rules that make hospitals the safe places they are nowadays. As mentioned before, Florence was born into a rich family who disliked the idea of Florence pursing nursing, they disliked it to the point they forbade her to do it. During the Crimean war, her and her nurses were sent to care for the wounded, the male doctors though, did not appreciate their presence, creating tension. Her work and research during the Crimean war led to improved health conditions and lowered the death rate of wounded soldiers. After the war, she established schools for woman who wanted to pursue nursing and turned it into respectable profession. Florence dedicated her life to helping others, she wanted to make hospitals a clean space, and turn nursing for a profession that was looked down upon, to one that people admired. Florence believed in the Miasma Theory, even after that theory was proven wrong, she believed in it until she passed. The Miasma Theory stated that diseases like cholera and chlamydia were transmitted by air from rotting matter. She is worth learning about as her actions are why hospitals are places where people heal, and why nursing has become an admirable profession. She would’ve been a good role model for this pandemic, demonstrating resilience, care of others, and courage. A lesson from her story could be to be ready to help others in need. All her work impacts us today and I believe she is worthy of being called eminent.

My next step in research will be to learn more about the profession of nursing, and how it has changed over the years.