Florence Guinness Blake is a world-renowned trailblazer in the field of pediatric nursing as well as leading the development of advanced nursing education programs. Born in 1907 in Wisconsin, she was encouraged at a young age toward a career in nursing. She obliged and earned a diploma from Michael Reese Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago in 1928. By 1932, Blake’s interest in improving the care of children had grown that it led her to enter Teachers College, Columbia University, for preparation as a teacher of pediatric nursing.
Upon her graduation, she received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to teach pediatric nursing at the Nursing School of Peking Union Medical College in China, where she taught for three years. During this time, she sharpened her skills and developed her ideas regarding the relationship between advanced clinical education and the actual practice of nursing. After returning to the United States, she pursued graduate studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and the Merrill Palmer School in Detroit. She completed her Master’s degree in 1941 and taught at several prestigious schools including the University of Michigan and Yale University.
In 1946, Blake established and directed the graduate program in advanced nursing care of children at the University of Chicago. Blake’s skill set extended beyond that of nursing and teaching. She was also a copious writer and authored the classic, The Child, His Parents, and the Nurse. She also co-authored various editions of Essentials of Pediatric Nursing, and Nursing Care of Children, two outstanding textbooks in the discipline of pediatric nursing. A recipient of numerous awards for her achievements, Blake was frequently consulted by national organizations concerned with childcare.
Blake accepted a position as professor of nursing and the director of pediatric nursing graduate program at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1963, where she remained until her retirement in 1970. Blake continued to inspire and challenge her nursing students, colleagues, and collaborating physicians until her death in 1983. As a pioneer in advanced clinical education for nurses, Florence Blake left behind a legacy that continues to influence advanced pediatric nurses and the care of children in the United States and around the world.
For more inspiration from pioneers and leaders in our industry, read about notable nurse practitioner Marsha Siegel on our blog.