Florence Nightingale and the History of Christianity in Nursing

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Florence Nightingale is the most well known figure in nursing history. She is best known for the advances she made in sanitation, hospital statistical records, public health and community nursing. Nightingale also wrote extensively on her religious, political and philosophical views and how they carried over into her duties as a Christian and nurse. Florence Nightingale’s contributions to nursing were largely influenced by her beliefs about God. Nightingale wrote extensively of her spiritual and religious beliefs and their connection to the way she practiced nursing. The nursing profession, as we know it today, has deep roots in Christianity. The role of spirituality in Florence Nightingales’s nursing practice is comparable to the …show more content…
These nurses also recognized those patients who lacked intellectually and spiritually. The care was provided in an almost holistic way, providing for patients’ basic needs in a respectful and dignifying way. In a more organized fashion they were able to care for the sick in their homes and provide aid to the disadvantaged. The teachings of Jesus were intricately woven into their missions. According to Dolan (1968), these early Christians “sold what they possessed and gave to the poor” (p. 67). They operated on the principles that this is how Christ lived and they aspired to live as he had before them. “For it is here, in the act of serving a brother or sister in need that the nurse truly encounters God” (O’Brien, 2011, p. 1).
Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820 in Florence, Italy (MacQueen, 2007). She was raised in the Church of England to Unitarian parents. From early on, Nightingale searched for meaning in her life through her religion (McDonald, 2002a). From all accounts, Florence Nightingale’s passion to care began as a young child when she would visit the poor with her father. She continued these visits into young adulthood, helping the villagers however they might need. Nightingale had been educated entirely by her father while growing up. It was not until age 31 that Nightingale

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