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An Empowering Force Behind Healthcare

Florence Nightingale. She was a pioneer of public health and the founder of modern nursing. Born May 12, 1820, in Florence, Italy, Nightingale defied her prearranged destiny to carve out one that would change medicine forever.[1] Nightingale was born during the Victorian Era when women of her stature were supposed to marry well off. She wasn’t to be concerned about a career or pursuing work viewed as lowly menial labor. However, Nightingale walked a different path. In 1844, she became a nursing student at the Lutheran Hospital of Pastor Fliedner in Kaiserwerth, Germany.

Upon graduation Nightingale very quickly became efficient and successful at caring for her patients. Her hands-on approach and empathetic care of those she attended made Nightingale a gem in her field. During the Crimean War, she was called upon by the Secretary of War, Sidney Herbert, to assemble a team of nurses to tend to the fallen soldiers at Scutari Hospital.

Nightingale and the services of her 34 nurses at the British base hospital were desperately required. They were warned of the horrid conditions, yet the nurses were still unprepared for the opposition. Patients sprawled on stretchers along the hospital’s hallways in their excrement, contaminated water from the cesspool the hospital was on top of, and minimal supplies to aid patients back to health greeted the nursing team.

Immediately, Nightingale sprung into action. She assigned and put everyone, including the least infirm patients, to work. They cleaned that hospital from ceiling to floor. She spent little time sleeping and dedicated her time to caring for the soldiers. Even at night, Nightingale walked the dark hallways by lamplight, making her rounds, tending to one patient after the other.

Her endless devotion and commitment gave the soldiers strength and comfort. They called her “the Lady with the Lamp” or “the Angel of the Crimea.” Nightingale’s willingness to get close to her patients and can-do attitude reduced the hospital’s death rate by two-thirds.

Nightingale went on to create many of the patient services hospitals provide today, such as food service meeting special dietary needs, in-hospital laundry that provides clean linens, and the inclusion of a library to keep patients simulated during their stay. Her writings, based on her experience at the Crimea, initiated worldwide health care reform. She also established the St. Thomas’ Hospital and the Nightingale Training School for Nurses in 1860.

Bravo Nightingale! It’s no wonder that National Nurses Week is observed every year beginning May 6 and ending May 12, on Nightingale’s birthday. The week celebrates the enormous impacts that nurses contribute to the world of medicine. As, change agents of the field, like Nightingale, exist every day among nurses.

2020 is designated as the Year of the Nurse by the World Health Organization (WHO), honoring Nightingale’s 200th birthday. WHO has headed up the launch of the first State of the World’s Nursing report, providing insights into just how critical the work of the more than 20 million nurses across the globe is to the universal healthcare system.[1] Nightingale changed the face of nursing forever. With the right tools and resources, nurses today can transform medicine even more so than they do already.

We are proud to say that one of the ways nurses are doing so is through point-of-care-ultrasound (POCUS). In today’s fast-paced healthcare environment, every minute counts. Image orders and transports ticks away at the seconds, while POCUS provides internal insights in real-time. POCUS makes the days of just listening obsolete and removes the blindfold for an in-depth look inside.

POCUS is making it seamless for nurses to care for patients. Reduction time in obtaining health parameters measurements and vital signs and decreasing the need for oversized machines for an ultrasound, ECG, or laboratory testing are benefits nurses gleam from POCUS.[2] To remain nimble and always ready, this pocket-size device creates that freedom for nurses who must care for several patients at a time, remain versatile in their field, as well as stay close to the bedside.

Nurses are an empowering force here to evolve and change the face of healthcare. Their proximity to the patient allows them an advantage point into how best to provide care. Innovations birthed from the field of nursing include the evolution of the high-technology hospital, expansion of national primary care capacity, care coordination for the chronically ill and elderly, and many more.

POCUS keeps nurses close and safeguards the intimacy with patients that Nightingale displayed and embedded within the field. As POCUS education, training, and usage expands, lets only expect to see the field of nursing continue to propel medicine forward.

References

  1. April 17, 2020. Florence Nightingale. Retrieved April 21, 2020 from https://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/florence-nightingale-1.
  2. (n.d.). Nursing and Midwifery. Retrieved April 20, 2020 from https://www.who.int/hrh/nursing_midwifery/en/.
  3. June 27, 2018. The Future of Nurses: Superheroes Aided By Technology. Retrieved April 21, 2020 from https://medicalfuturist.com/the-future-of-nurses-superheros-aided-by-technology/.

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