Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, wrote that Nursing is an art which requires exclusive devotion and diligent preparation. Nightingale stopped short of saying that Nursing was the finest of the Fine Arts, but in the nearly two hundred years since her birth on May 12, 1820, the extraordinary devotion, preparation, and compassion of the nursing profession has underpinned its evolution to embody the highest and most important art form: care.
This evolution began with Nightingale’s innovative health care measures and management at a British base hospital in Constantinople during the Crimean War (1853-1856). Nightingale’s impact was profound. She improved sanitary conditions, created patient services, developed a kitchen for patients with unique dietary needs, and established a laundry to ensure that patients received clean medical supplies. She also set up a classroom for patients’ education and a library for patients’ entertainment. Most importantly, Nightingale spent every possible moment caring for wounded soldiers with seemingly endless reserves of compassion. Known affectionately as “The Lady with the Lamp” for her nightly patient rounds, Nightingale’s all-encompassing care continues to be the hallmark of modern Nursing.
Today, nurses are true masters of care. They take Nightingale’s fundamental ideology and champion it to do everything possible to ensure that patients are supported and comforted in all aspects of their health care. The significance of the nursing profession’s contribution to patient care cannot be overstated. Nurses not only do everything in their power to alleviate the physical discomfort for patients, but make every effort to assuage any anxiety, fear, and distress experienced by patients and their loved ones. This mastery is holistic care in its purest and most benevolent form.
Kahlil Gibran said that it is when you give of yourself that you truly give. Day and night, nurses give of themselves to every patient under their care. This is a true gift and one which reflects the selfless and remarkable nature of the nursing profession. While patients may not remember nurses, these brushes with true giving combine to form the beautiful masterpiece of care that is Nursing.
At Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP, we hold nurses in the highest of esteem and appreciate beyond words their tireless efforts to help our clients recover from their physical injuries year after year. As Renée Vinett, one of our senior partners and a registered nurse, recently said,
For more than twenty-five years, I have personally known the incredible dedication of nurses. Our clients’ appreciation for the care received from the nursing profession is indescribable.
And so, as Florence Nightingale’s birthday approaches, we dedicate Nurses Week, May 9-16, 2016, to acknowledge the nursing profession’s exceptional devotion and compassion, to thank nurses for their selfless dedication and support, and to pay tribute to Nursing’s gift of masterful care: the finest of the Fine Arts.