Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)

Florence Nightingale was a pioneer of the nursing field. She was first publicly noticed as an administrator during the Crimean War. Her unwavering determination to provide the best, sanitary care possible cut the death rate considerably for her side. She continued to contribute to the field of nursing throughout her life and continued to open doors for nurses and women in general.

In 1893, Mrs. Lystra E. Gretter and the Farrand Training School for Nurses wrote an adaptation of the physician's Hippocratic Oath for nurses. It was named the Florence Nightingale Pledge in honor of the esteemed founder of nursing.

This pledge is most often recited at graduation/pinning ceremonies for nurses. It is also often included in programs honoring nurses during Nurses Week (May 6-12) or on Nurses Day (May 6). May 12 is the birth date of Nurse Nightingale.

The Florence Nightingale Pledge

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.

Florence Nightingale Quotations

• Women never have a half-hour in all their lives (excepting before or after anybody is up in the house) that they can call their own, without fear of offending or of hurting someone. Why do people sit up so late, or, more rarely, get up so early? Not because the day is not long enough, but because they have 'no time in the day to themselves.' [1852] • And so is the world put back by the death of every one who has to sacrifice the development of his or her peculiar gifts (which were meant, not for selfish gratification, but for the improvement of that world) to conventionality. [1852] • It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a Hospital that it should do the sick no harm. [1859] • I can stand out the war with any man.

• I stand at the altar of the murdered men, and, while I live, I fight their cause. [1856] Asceticism is the trifling of an enthusiast with his power, a puerile coquetting with his selfishness or his vanity, in the absence of any sufficiently great object to employ the first or overcome the last. [1857] • No man, not even a doctor, ever gives any other definition of what a nurse should be than this -- 'devoted and obedient.' This definition would do just as well for a porter. It might even do for a horse. It would not do for a policeman. [1859] • For what is Mysticism? Is it not the attempt to draw near to God, not by rites or ceremonies, but by inward disposition? Is it not merely a hard word for 'The Kingdom of Heaven is within'? Heaven is neither a place nor a time. [1873] • You ask me why I do not write something.... I think one's feelings waste themselves in words, they ought all to be distilled into actions and into actions which bring results.

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