The Lady with the Lamp

Mondays can be brutal, especially coming into work from a wonderful exciting weekend.  That was the case this Monday, and after saying my hellos and good mornings to everyone I came across, I plopped down in my chair and turned on the computer and updated my calendar.

I keep a small inspirational calendar that has bible quotes, inspirational quotes, etc for each day of the week.  And while I was updating it to September 13th it was the quote on September 11th that caught my attention:

Life is a hard fight, a struggle

A wrestling with the principle of evil,

Hand to hand, foot to foot.

Every inch of the way is disputed.

The night is given to us to take breath,

To pray, to drink deep at the fountain of power.

The day to use the strength which has been

Given to us, to go forth, to work with it till the evening.

That quote totally took me by surprise.  I had never heard or read a quote quite like this one and what shocked me even more was when I read who actually wrote the quote; a person named Florence Nightingale.  I was aware of the name but had no clue of who this person was or what he or she did.  For all I knew this could have been a fictional character.  So I took the liberty of doing a little research on this person.

Florence Nightingale (Born May 12, 1820, died August13, 1910) was a celebrated English nurse, writer and statistician. Nightingale believed that God had called her to be a nurse. She came to prominence for her pioneering work in nursing during the Crimean War (a 19th century war between Russia and the allies of France, Britain, and the Ottoman Empire) , where she tended to wounded soldiers. She was dubbed “The Lady with the Lamp” after her habit of making rounds at night.

Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment, in 1860, of her nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, the first secular nursing school in the world. The Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses was named in her honor, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday.Nightingale was born into a rich upper class British family near the city of Florence, Italy (which is how she got her first name).  As a seventeen year old she became inspired to become a nurse and believed that God had called her for this special task.  After making the decision to become a nurse she became rebellious and went against her parents wishes to simply become a housewife and mother, which was expected of the rich upper class women in those days.

While serving as a nurse during the Crimean War, she lost many British patients in her care.  Unable to find out why she began to research on better living conditions for wounded soldiers and patients.  What she found changed the course of nursing as she became and advocate for better living conditions and for sanitization of living conditions for patients.  The effects of this were an improvement in health of soldiers in the care of nurses and a significant decrease in loss of life in nurse’s station.

Not only was Nightingale a highly regarded nurse, but she was one of the few women in her time that was also a statistician.  She was a master in mathematics and frequently used statistical charts such as graphs, and pie charts.

The first official nurses’ training program, the Nightingale School for Nurses, opened in 1860. The mission of the school was to train nurses to work in hospitals, work with the poor, and to teach.  Florence Nightingale’s lasting contribution has been her role in founding the modern nursing profession. She set an example of compassion, commitment to patient care, and diligent and thoughtful hospital administration.

It’s amazing that the woman’s accomplishments still echo today, nearly 100 years after her death. Even the quote above still rings true today.  I believe that every day is a battle, a struggle.  Whether it’s our beliefs, our passions, or our commitment to our family and our jobs, we go to war for them every day.  So let’s be thankful for the relief the evening offers us.  For as sure as the sun will rise in the morning we must get up and battle all over again…….tomorrow.

-Darold Ingram

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~ by daroldingram on September 15, 2010.

2 Responses to “The Lady with the Lamp”

  1. Really Really interesting Darold! I had no idea who Florence Nightingale was really but I’ve heard her name. This lady kicked butt. Awesome. 🙂

    -Caitlin

  2. Thanks Caitlin! I’m always amazed at how much information you can dig up by just doing a simple search on the internet.

    Just like you, I had no idea she did so much. I will always regard her name in a different light from now on!

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