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“Florence Nightingale” Nursing Leaders values, attributes and contribution to the Nursing Profession


1. Brief Biographical Outline: Florence Nightingale 

Florence Nightingale (1820–1910), also known as “The Lady with the Lamp,” was indeed a British nurse, political philosopher, and philosopher who has been acknowledged as co-founding professional nursing. Nightingale was indeed the younger of two daughters and descended from a wealthy British clan linked to higher aristocratic networks. Her mom, Frances Nightingale, was about a prominent family and appreciated socializing with renowned members of the society. Regardless of her mother’s interests, Nightingale was reported to be apprehensive in social situations and attempted to escape the attention if possible. She frequently clashed with her mum, whom she perceived as being excessively dominating. Nightingale already was a humanitarian as just a kid, tending to an elderly and needy in the neighborhood close to her family’s property. Nightingale realized quickly that medicine was her profession; she considered it to be her heavenly assignment. When Nightingale told her parents about the ambition to become a nurse, the response was a shock and they prohibited her from seeking suitable assistance (Bostridge, 2015).

“St. Thomas’ Hospital and the Nightingale Nursing Training School” were created by her in 1860. All throughout 20th century, her measures to promote healthcare had a considerable impact on the quality of healthcare services provided. Nightingale traveled to London in the early 1850s and accepted a nurse position in a Harley Street hospital for unwell governesses. Nightingale’s work impressed her boss so much that she would be elevated to be a superintendent. Around this period, Nightingale also assisted the Middlesex Hospital, which was dealing with a flu epidemic and unclean circumstances favorable to the disease’s rapid expansion. Nightingale worked diligently to enhance sanitary methods, resulting in a considerable decrease in hospital mortality. Her education and experience as a physician during the Crimean War impacted her view on cleanliness. In October 1853, the Crimean War began (McDonald, 2010). At the period, there had been hardly no women doctors posted in Crimean hospitals. Fought in The battle of Alma, Britain was incensed at the mistreatment of its old or ill troops, who regularly went lacking adequate medical care due to facilities becoming severely short-staffed, but also lingered in abhorrently unhygienic conditions. In early 1854, Nightingale issued a certificate from Secretary of War Sidney Herbert seeking her help in forming a cadre of nurses to attend for wounded and deceased troops during the Crimean War. Given adequate leadership of the operation, she immediately worked with a team of approximately 30 nurses involving a range of religious institutions and traveled to the Crimea to them a few weeks later. Every single minute of Nightingale’s life was committed towards caring for the soldiers and was soon referred to as “the Angel of the Crimea” (Bostridge, 2008).  

2. Two Attributes/Values of Florence Nightingale

Attitude: Nightingale accorded with the proverb that “attitude is everything.” She was intuitively aware of the communicable nature of feelings and never would have condoned the gossip, grumbling, and other kinds of toxic psychological toxicity that pervade many medical break rooms.  Toxic mental negativity is the cultural and mental equal of tobacco smoke, and it is just as destructive in its own right. To foster a more pleasant and productive work environment, we should improve our attitudes and decrease our intolerance for divergence from those attitudes. Even under miserable circumstances that occurred at Scutari, Nightingale relied on human dignity. Florence was fearless and relentless. She overcame hostility from the British aristocracy and the outmoded beliefs of imperial specialists and military leaders to carry out her mission. When she showed up against a concrete pillar, she developed a plan to get around and above it. While the issues that nurses face now are different from those encountered by Nightingale over a century ago, the need for courage and endurance is just as critical now as it was earlier (Stanley & Sherratt, 2010).

Commitment: Nightingale’s mission transcended her work. She made no queries about salary or benefits beforehand to bringing her party of occupational therapists to the Crimea, and she encountered workplace practices which would be considered awful in the contemporary age. Despite these, she recently encountered “burnout,” and her continued devotion to her work completely changed the landscape of nursing. Florence could simply have retreated to a luxurious lifestyle at her family’s country mansion; instead, she embraced the arduous path of self-sacrifice to assist others. Her inheritance serves as a warning because providing care to the sick is much more than a business – it is a purpose, and that caregiving work should be much more than a job — it must be a vocation. Healthcare leadership’s first responsibility is to inspire this dedication, commencing with our own actions (Magpantay-Monroe, 2015).

3. Two Significant Contributions/Achievements of Florence Nightingale to Nursing Profession

Florence Nightingale’s notion of nursing was in direct opposition to the Victorian physician’s view of a nurse as an obedient subordinate. She believed that the nurse’s responsibility was to monitor, attend to, as well as provide direct and continuous care to the ill in their surroundings, whether that setting was a hospital or at any private home (Leininger, 1992). She concentrated her efforts on the patient’s need. She recognized nursing’ unique ability to observe, comprehend, and improve health care systems. She was a strong believer in interpersonal learning system for continuously improving health care and wellness. She thought that hospital administrators must prioritize patient and employee safety. She is well recognized for her service to British soldiers during the Crimean War and for developing nursing schools. For Nightingale, nursing was not merely the administration of medications and the placement of medicinal herbs, but the deployment of knowledge to foster “health existences” (Roy, 1992). Florence Nightingale received the Florence Nightingale Medal for exemplary service or a revolutionary attitude in the sphere of social health or nursing education. She was also awarded with Royal Red Cross in 1883 for her services as nurse in the army. Awarded as “Lady of Grace of the Order of St John”.  Her contributions to the nursing profession are as follows:

  • Improvements in quality and care and safety provisions of the healthcare system: From frontline caregivers to instructors and hospital managers, Nightingale advocated for holding the complete health care team responsible for safe, high-quality care — often referred to as comprehensive safety of the systems. Nightingale’s mission to alleviate human misery aided in the establishment of standards for empathetic, patient-centered treatment that is responsive to patients’ needs and requirements (Nightingale, 1992). She advocated for advances that would allow patients to be treated with respect and dignity. These included the establishment of a canteen for the preparation of delectable meals, the establishment of a library and classrooms for entertainment and mental stimulation, and the establishment of a Laundromat for the provision of clean bedding.
  • Building Community: Florence Nightingale oversaw all educational and behavioural evaluations on her nursing school pupils. Upon graduation, she helped place her alumni in places throughout the world. While this technique may appear to be dictatorial today, many of Nightingale’s graduates developed strong emotional bonds with her and decided to maintain frequent contact with her via letters. Many of Nightingale’s graduates wrote to her to seek her advice and perspective on different components of nursing profession. While some pupils addressed their letters to Nightingale as “Dear Mistress” others demonstrated a more intimate relationship with her by addressing them as “Dearest Friend” (Woodham Smith, 1951). Nightingale established long connections with her trainees.

4. Reflection on Learning’s Obtained  

Nightingale attributed her success to her unwillingness to “offer or tolerate any excuse.” Once she was informed that there will be no funds available to repair a burned-out wing at the Scutari Barrack Hospital, she recruited a Turkish cleaning staff and had the wing repaired without anybody could interfere. The litmus test for an “encouraging” workplace is if employees – regardless of socioeconomic status – are willing to step up and acknowledge things for patients and coworkers without asking for permission or risk of consequences. Even because she never used the phrase, “Proceed Until Apprehended” (which was see as the most crucial three words in the book The Florence Prescription) would have been an appropriate title of Nightingale’s method of job completion. Nightingale seldom relaxed on her laurels, but continuously raised the standard. After displaying that a much more constructive approach to hospital care would improve health outcomes, she cofounded the first vacationing nurses association, commissioned the first schooling system of nursing theory, and made a significant contribution to the institution of legal ethics for hospital administrators through her writing.

Nursing students could learn a lot from Florence Nightingale because she embodied many of the characteristics that were required during this epidemic, such as perseverance, compassionate care, fortitude, and a dedication to advocating for and enacting change in the health situations of marginalized people Nightingale’s example of devoting time to writing letters to the relatives of soldiers killed in the Crimean War is reminiscent of the conditions in which nurses may discover themselves during this epidemic (Gallagher, 2020). Florence was also brave and powerful. To accomplish her purpose, she overcame opposition from the British nobility and the obsolete notions of royal physicians and military leaders. When she met a brick wall, she developed a strategy for getting around and over it. While the problems confronting us today are distinct from those affecting Nightingale almost one century ago, a need for fortitude and perseverance would be just as vital today as it was at that time (Duffy, 2001). Nightingale was a forerunner in advancing evidence-based healthcare. Her meticulous documentation of infectious disease and death rates among soldiers in Scutari bolstered her calls for improved sanitation facilities, first in military hospitals and then in civilian institutions. Her accomplishments to hospital and nursing practice are also well than her meticulous documentation of infection and mortality rates between soldiers in Scutari. Therefore, it could be concluded that for a person to be effective, he or she must be able to prove their point with facts, not just knowledge.


Bostridge, M., 2008. Florence Nightingale: the making of an icon. Macmillan.

Bostridge, M., 2015. Florence Nightingale: the woman and her legend. Penguin UK.

Duffy, T., 2001. Florence Nightingale as Servant-Leader.

Gallagher, A., 2020. Learning from Florence Nightingale: a slow ethics approach to nursing during the pandemic. Nursing Inquiry27(3).

Leininger, M., 1992. Reflections on Nightingale with a focus on human care theory and leadership. Notes on Nursing, edited by F. Nightingale, and BS Barnum. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Magpantay-Monroe, E.R., 2015. Exploring the emotional intelligence of Florence Nightingale. Asia-Pacific journal of oncology nursing2(2), p.107.

McDonald, L., 2010. Florence Nightingale a hundred years on: Who she was and what she was not. Women’s history review19(5), pp.721-740.

Nightingale, F., 1992. Notes on nursing: What it is, and what it is not. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Roy, C., 1992. Vigor, variables, and vision: Commentary on Florence Nightingale. Notes on nursing: what it is, and what it is not, pp.63-71.

Woodham-Smith, C., 1951. Florence Nightingale, 1820–1910. AJN The American Journal of Nursing51(5), p.354.

Stanley, D., & Sherratt, A. (2010). Lamp light on leadership: clinical leadership and Florence Nightingale. Journal Of Nursing Management18(2), 115-121.

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