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The Nightingale bicentenary

09 January 2020
Volume 29 · Issue 1

Nursing and midwifery will be in the spotlight throughout 2020, as it has been declared the ‘International Year of the Nurse and Midwife’ by the World Health Organization (WHO). We also mark 200 years since the birth of Florence Nightingale. Nightingale, who died aged 90 in 1910, is seen as the philosophical founder of modern nursing as well as a female icon, a healthcare pioneer, a competent and respected researcher, statistician and analyst, an innovator, entrepreneur and leader. Throughout 2020 there will be celebrations of the legacy she left. Nightingale inspired and continues to inspire nurses globally, and her work has also informed mathematicians, architects, public health workers and activists.

Florence Nightingale respected patients regardless of their social class, disabilities, hygiene or occupation and she insisted that a real nurse would abandon any class differences (Nelson and Rafferty, 2010). Nightingale's influence on nursing continues; she personified many of the ideas that are key in nursing today—values, vision and voice, the precursor in many ways to the 6Cs (Cummings and Bennett, 2012). Her legacy of philosophical fundamentals still pervades the profession today. The history of nursing has not been written. It is still being written and will continue to be in the making as the role and function of the nurse responds dynamically and effectively to the needs of the people we have the privilege to serve.

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