Florence Nightingale is a well known name in the field of nursing. Known as the mother
of modern nursing, her nursing theories developed the practice of nursing into what
it is today. From her early observations during the Crimean War to her book, Notes
on Nursing, Nightingale had an enormous impact on the field of nursing.
In its earliest form, nursing was a practice carried out primarily by nuns, military
personnel, and women who volunteered to work in hospitals to care for the sick and
injured.. However, there were no standards or regulation for nursing as a practice,
so it was not recognized as a formal profession.
While working as a nurse in a military hospital during wartime, Nightingale saw the
conditions injured soldiers faced while receiving medical care. She observed a direct
correlation between the sanitary conditions of patients and their health and recovery.
That is, patients whose sanitary conditions were bad often faced additional health
problems or did not recover from their wounds.
These observations led to one major way Nightingale contributed to the modern practice
of nursing and medicine. She worked to create sanitary conditions for patients. Not only
did this include keeping the patient clean, but the hospital environment. This means
sanitized medical tools, clean bed linens, and the health care professionals keeping
themselves clean, as well. This developed into the nursing theory known as Nightingale's
Environment Theory, which was a part of the overall changes Nightingale's work made to
develop what is known as modern nursing.
Thanks to the compassion and care of Florence Nightingale, the changes made in the field
of nursing have created a health care field that is recognized as a profession, has regulation
in education and practice, and is an area in which men and women can work to care for
patients at many levels, and be involved in getting people to their optimum health.