Florence Nightingale hailed as ‘role model’ as museum reopens

Nurses and academics spoke with Nursing schedules on the lasting legacy of Florence Nightingale and what her story means to them, as a museum dedicated to the iconic nurse reopens.

After successfully raising funds to save itself from the threat of permanent closure amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Florence Nightingale Museum is today – International Nurses Day – fully reopened to the public.

International Nurses Day is held each year on the anniversary of Nightingale’s birth, May 12, and this year marks what would have been her 202nd birthday.

The museum is based on the grounds of St Thomas’s Hospital in London, where Nightingale established her nursing training school in 1860, having made a name for herself as The Lady with the Lamp while leading nursing services during the Crimean War.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust nurse consultant Fiona Hibberts, who is featured in one of the museum’s exhibits celebrating nurses today, attended an event to mark the reopening.

Ms Hibberts is also co-director of the trust’s Nightingale Academy, which supports nursing and midwifery development, research and innovation.

Fiona Hiberts

Talk to Nursing schedulesMs Hibberts said one of the reasons Nightingale inspired her was the way she was unafraid to express herself.

“I think one thing that she did that inspired me and certainly that I have more seniority in my role is that she was ready to speak and express herself”, a- she declared.

“And I think as nurses, that’s what we do every day with our patients, we stand up for them.

“But likewise, if something goes wrong, your role as a nurse is to speak up, and I think that’s one of Florence’s legacies is that she spoke, she spoke She wasn’t afraid of the political socio-economic climate at the time.

“She was incredibly candid, and I just think we should have the courage to talk and talk.”

Ms Hibberts added that the other “charming thing” about Nightingale was how she was able to be “great” but also show compassion and leadership.

She noted the story that was often taught to children of how Nightingale “roamed the halls of Scutari [Hospital] with her lamp and she allowed the soldiers to write home”.

“For me, it’s the two edges: he speaks and expresses himself, but he does it with compassion and kindness, and I think those are the two things that Florence Nightingale brings,” Ms Hibberts said.

One of the results of the Nightingale Academy is a new scholarship program named after another iconic nurse who also features in the Florence Nightingale Museum, Kofoworola Abeni Pratt.

Kofoworola Abeni Pratt

Pratt, a Nigerian national, was the first black nurse to graduate from Nightingale School of Nursing in St Thomas’, and would also have been the first black nurse to work in the NHS after it was established in 1948.

The aim of the new bursary scheme is to remove barriers that prevent ethnic minority nurses, midwives and allied health professionals at Guy’s and St Thomas’ from moving up the career ladder, Ms Hibberts explained.

She said: “The goal is to reverse the data, to ensure opportunities, because we know in nursing that colleagues from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups … we know from the workforce data. work that they have a glass ceiling and that there is a problem.

Among the five new Kofoworola Abeni Pratt scholars is Jan Rase, a theater nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ who qualified in the Philippines and moved to the UK in 2018.

Jean Shave

He said Nursing schedules that the group would work to ‘disrupt’ the system in order to address the ‘disparity in progression’ of ethnic minority staff, ’empowering’ those on the front lines and also working with the trust’s top leadership.

He said he followed in his mother’s footsteps and pursued his dream career by becoming a nurse despite being turned down by people who thought nursing was a career for women and not for men.

Regarding Nightingale, Mr Rase said he was a “huge fan” and noted how his story played an important role in the nursing curriculum in the Philippines and that when the nurses in his school qualified, they received hats, pins and a lamp to hold. at the ceremony in the style of Nightingale.

In addition to new exhibits and presentations, the Florence Nightingale Museum has new trustees on its board, including medical statistician Professor Jennifer Rogers, who helped the museum bring to life Nightingale’s pioneering work in the field of statistics and evidence-based nursing.

Jennifer Roger

Talk to Nursing schedulesProf Rogers said: ‘So she’s well known as a nurse, but she’s always had an analytical approach to her nursing and she’s been collecting data.

“When she arrived in Crimea, for example, she started collecting data on all the causes of death of soldiers and she realized that the vast majority of deaths were in fact [from] preventable diseases caused by unsanitary conditions in the hospital.

“When she introduced her reforms, she continued to collect that data and showed the impact those changes had had.”

She added, “Not only was she very committed to evidence-based decision-making, but she really understood the importance of data visualization, and she used powerful infographics to communicate that data she had. collected.

“And in the 1850s, it wasn’t really a thing, people weren’t really producing these data visualizations.”

Professor Rogers described Nightingale as an “inspiration and role model” to her.

The museum secured a loan for its first month of opening Nightingale’s certificate of entry document to the Statistical Society of London.

Nightingale became the society’s first female member in 1858, and her entry uses the male pronoun “he” to describe her.

Prof Rogers said: “It shows how much of a woman she was in a man’s world, and I think in our time we are still looking for female role models to encourage the next generation of women to get into the STEM subjects and I think it’s great that it all started with Florence Nightingale.

Curry Donna Miles

Another new museum trustee who was at the opening ceremony was Professor Donna Miles Curry, a nurse and emeritus professor of nursing at Wright State University, Ohio, who will help the charity set up a new “Friends of the Florence Nightingale Museum”. ‘ arms in the United States.

Praising Nightingale as a ‘mover and agitator’, said Prof Curry Nursing schedules that she believed the Nightingale story was powerful in helping teach nursing students today how to be an advocate.

“We always teach our nursing students that they have to be advocates, that they have to be active in the political system,” she said.

“Nightingale, she did all of that…she was politically well-connected, she was discussing and sharing these ideas with people and they were listening to her and she was a big influence on a lot of initiatives. And she wrote these books and articles who influenced things.

“So I think she’s a good role model for nurses. If you look at the impact she’s had on public health and district nursing…it’s just fascinating, I think, to see what one person can do. True, she devoted her whole life to this.

Looking ahead, Professor Curry said the past two years of the coronavirus pandemic had helped demonstrate the value of nursing to the public, but she said that now needed to be followed by actions such as an increase remuneration of nurses.

“I think they recognize the value of nursing and the impact that our work has now,” she said. Nursing time.

“If we don’t take advantage of it very soon, they will have a short memory, and that’s the saddest part.

“As far as recognizing the importance of nurses, we are not paid what we are worth.

“I really believe in equal pay for equal work. Engineers come out and you want safe buildings, but you also want safe bodies, so why shouldn’t we be paid as well as engineers? »

She said nurses also needed to have an “equal playing field in decision-making”, noting that in some places there remained a “hierarchy”.

“So there’s a lot to do,” Professor Curry pointed out.

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Rebecca R. Santistevan