Hello, my name is Florence Nightingale. Give me two minutes of your time I’ll give you my tuppence of thought, based upon your questions.
(Question from audience) “Ms. Nightingale, why did you leave your life as an aristocrat and work so hard to change the healthcare system in Great Britain?”
As a member of the privileged class, I was expected to spend my life in what I considered idle pursuits. You see, my family took umbrage at my plan to become a nurse, ostensibly on the grounds that nurses were not “ladies” but menial drudges, often of ill-repute.
I set out to change all that.
Perhaps that is why, when I finally broke loose at the age of 31, and took the position as Superintendent at the Institution for Sick Gentlewomen in Distressed Circumstances, I launched into the work with passion.
It felt so good to be useful!
Later, my tenure in that hellhole, Scutari, afforded me what I believe you would now refer to as “street credentials.” That experience would change my life in so many ways.
After my return, as a professional nurse, and statistician, because of my social standing, I was able to address the problems within the military hospital system, and by extension, to organize my civilian hospital nursing-education plan.
The ideas were conceived as I watched young men die there in Scutari, the situation was so distressing, I dreamed of a better way. And that is my recommendation for you nurses — use your worst nightmare experiences to light a fire under you to reshape healthcare policy!
I beg you, do not sit by, and assume that your one small voice can do nothing to change the system.
Speak up. Let your voice be heard! There are many ways to become a nurse advocate. One day, you, too, will be in need of sincere nursing care. So, speak up, on behalf of your patients, and yourselves!
This is Florence Nightingale. Thank you for listening. I’m pleased to relate that I’ve been invited back, so If you have a question, please enter it in the comment box, below. I look forward to our time together. Oh, I will be a guest on a webinar entitled the Art of Nursing, which airs on Nurses’ Day this May. Look for it!