Florence Nightingale's Contribution to Nursing
Over the years, nursing theories have proved to be very significant in the nursing practice. Many theories have been put forward by different theorist touching on different aspects of the nursing profession especially regarding the interrelationship and the role of the nurse in the care of patients. One such nursing theorist that has contributed immensely on the conduct of the nursing profession is Florence Nightingale through her Environmental Theory. This paper will decipher on the biography of Florence Nightingale and her contribution to the modern nursing profession in both research and in clinical practice. Being a group assignment, the papers will also outline a group and personal reflection on the conduct of the assignment.
Florence Nightingale Biography
Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820, and is highly regarded as the principal founder of modern nursing practice. She was the first nursing theorist and is by and largely celebrated as the “The Lady with the Lamp". Her nursing notes that were culminated in the title: Notes on Nursing: What it is, What is not (1860) become the foundation of modern nursing practice and nursing theories development. Amongst some of her most famous and widely used theory in practice until today is the Environmental Theory in which she outlines that for the restoration of a patient from a detrimental healthcare condition, the patient requires to be placed in conditions that will let the environment act upon him/her. Besides being heavily involved in the Crimean war, she advocated that nursing required particular education and training. This is depicted in her love for statistics where she used bar and pie charts to highlight critical points in nursing. Following her numerous contributions in nursing, the International Nurses Day celebrated on May 12 is observed in her honor. Florence Nightingale died on August 13, 1910 (Bostridge, 2015).
Environmental Theory: Relationship with Modern Nursing Practice
In her Environmental Theory, Nightingdale asserts that the role of the nurse in the recovery process of patients is to assist and utilize the patients' environment to influence their recovery to healthy conditions. Nurses are supposed to configure their patients' environmental conditions to make them desirable and appropriate for the steady reinstatement of the patients' health. This proposition emanates from her observation that external factors related to the patients' environments by and large affect life, physiological and biological processes of patients' recovery process. In molding the theory, Nightingdale assumed that natural laws are fundamental in the treatment of patients.
Moreover, she asserts that indeed with determination mankind can achieve perfection besides terming nursing as a calling, an art and a science different from medicine that use environmental alteration to influence patients’ recovery. As such, Nightingdale called for the special training and education for nurses and insisted that trained nurses need to exploit the environmental canons to advance the best care to patients. These canons include; sufficient light, moderate noise, proper ventilation and warming, good bedding, taking well-balanced food, personal cleanliness of patients, and rooms, and giving patients hope (Goodrick and Reay, 2010)
The Environmental Theory exposes modern nursing practice into the realization that the principal role of nurses is to exploit the resources in patients’ possession or in their surroundings to influence their recovery from various healthcare conditions. To this end, Nightingale's Environmental Theory extends support to the Patient-Centered Care approaches. The nurses’ roles in patient-centered care approaches are confined to working with the patients to realize their recovery. As such nursing is only supposed to assist patients to realize their potential by advancing the necessary support such as chattering hopes and advice, providing a desirable environmental for the healing process to occur and listening and acting according to the patients’ demands.
This is in line with the Environmental Theory that lays emphases on placing patients in promising settings allowing nature to act on them. Moreover, Environmental Theory asserts that nursing ought to be founded on the activities that promote health in any caregiving setting; a virtue central in patient-centered approaches. Indeed, the practice of environmental configuration to patients’ healthcare conditions is applicable today’s nursing practice in cases such as for patients suffering from tetanus, as well as for psychiatric patients who need minimal noise to calm them down.
Environmental Theory Contribution to Research Literature
Being the pioneer of nursing theories, Nightingale's Environmental Theory has contributed a lot as a formidable yardstick to numerous other nursing theories and general nursing research literature. One such theory is the Theory of Interpersonal Relations fronted by Hildegard E. Peplau. In this theory, Peplau (1952/1988) view nursing as being therapeutic in which case it acts as a healing picture or art in the course of helping a patients recover from a healthcare condition (Deane and Fain, 2016). In doing so, nurses and their patients interact and draw insights from the environment to influence the healing process of patients. Although Peplau’s reference to the contribution of the environment is not explicit as advanced by Nightingdale, she does encourage nurses to by and large put patients’ culture and mores into consideration in a bid to adjust the patients’ attention to the hospital setting. This would by extension assist in the first recovery of their conditions. By and large, Nightingale's Environmental Theory provided Peplau a footing to develop her theory of Interpersonal Relations.
Significance of Environmental Theory in Clinical Practice
The Nightingale’s Environmental Theory posits major contribution to modern clinical practice. Her 13 major canons of environment are very instrumental in most general clinical practices. For instance, in the case of patients with psychiatric disorders, Environmental Theory advocate that such patients ought to be provided with an environment with virtues such as proper ventilation, well lighted rooms, absence of disturbing noise, enables cleanliness of both the patients and their rooms besides patients have access of comfortable beds and beddings. To effectively calm down psychiatric patients can sometimes be an uphill task but the framework advanced by the Environmental theory can greatly assist clinicians arrest the hysterical conditions of such patients.
Indeed, nursing theories are very critical in assisting nurses advance unique care to their patients (George, 2011). The Florence Nightingale theory laid a firm foundation for the development of other theories by later nursing theorist, general nursing research as well as application of the same in different clinical situations. Environmental theory advanced a foundation for the provision of holistic care to the patients. In addition to applying the theory in hospital settings, the theory can be instrumental in advancing the basics of the environmental canons at community level as well (Reverend Canon Ted Karpf, and Selanders, 2010)
The development of this report was by and large well-articulated by all the members of the group. Group members participated freely by conducting individual research that culminated in the development of this single report outcome. While some members concentrated on finding the biography of Florence Nightingale and her contribution to modern nursing research and practice, others dwelt on deciphering the concepts, assumptions, and tools that led to her widely celebrated theory. This sort of collaboration and cooperation within the group can be termed as the greatest strength that was brought out. The teamwork that the members showcased especially at the research and group discussion levels was commendable.
One factor that extensively assisted our success is that on the very onset, we mutually determined the groups’ leadership where we elected a chair and a secretary. The two coordinated the group’s activities such as delegating tasks, calling for meetings, and submissions. However, what need to be improved by the group members is keeping time whenever they are called upon for meetings or required to submit their research pieces to the secretary for compilation. Some members occasionally did this rather late thereby inconveniencing the group's assignment process.
At the personal level, I can term this group activity as an eye opener for future academic as well as career team work activities. I learnt that with proper organization, a group or team work activity can yield more benefits than when an individual person is tasked with the activity alone. The members brought in different viewpoint into the discussion that I had not thought about further contributing my knowledge of the Environmental theory. I also felt professional when my contribution was regarded critical in the successful completion of the task.
Bostridge, M. (2015). Florence Nightingale: the woman and her legend. Penguin UK.
Deane, W. H., & Fain, J. A. (2016). Incorporating Peplau's theory of interpersonal relations to promote holistic communication between older adults and nursing students. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 34(1), 35-41.
Goodrick, E., & Reay, T. (2010). Florence Nightingale endures: Legitimizing a new professional role identity. Journal of Management Studies, 47(1), 55-84.
George, J. B. (2011). Nursing Theories: The Base for Professional Nursing Practice,6/e. Pearson Education India.
Reverend Canon Ted Karpf, & Selanders, L. C. (2010). The power of environmental adaptation: Florence Nightingale’s original theory for nursing practice. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 28(1), 81-88..