Born to a wealthy family in 1820, Florence Nightingale chose to go into nursing during a time when nursing was not considered a well-respected career. However, Florence Nightingale paved the path as a caring nurse and leader in her field, leaving a significant impact on advanced practice registered (APRN). Known as the pioneer of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale not only influenced the standards of nursing, she improved hospital standards and patient care in general.
A powerful leader and advocate for improving healthcare practices, Nightingale used her influence to effect change in nursing and healthcare policies. Much like today’s APRNs, advocating for patients and the nursing profession while working towards improving healthcare policies and practices was the cornerstone of her legacy.
Nightingale believed that nurses should have a strong foundation in science and a deep understanding of patient care practices. She opened the first official training program for nurses to work in hospitals, help the poor and teach others. She strongly advocated using data and evidence to improve patient outcomes. She collected and analyzed data on patient care practices and outcomes, which is documented in her book Notes on Nursing. This emphasis on evidence-based practice is still at the core of APRN education and practice today.
Along with her evidence-based approach, Nightingale believed in the importance of meeting each patient’s individual needs creating the need for a holistic approach to patient care, another core principle of APRN practice. This strong belief is why today’s APRNs are trained to assess their patients’ physical, emotional, and social needs and to develop personalized care plans based on these assessments.
Florence Nightingale “the founder of modern nursing,” continues to influence the nursing profession and the healthcare industry today. Recognizing the importance of hygiene, sanitation, fresh air, proper lighting, a good diet, and quiet and attentive care were necessary conditions for hospitals and were ensured by good nurses, Florence Nightingale transformed hospitals and patient care to promote healing.