No one knows if Florence Nightingale deliberately set out to become a nursing champion, but it is clear that the 1859 publication of her book Notes on Nursing: What It Is, And What It Is Not secured her place in nursing history. By the authors own admission, the work was not written as a training manual for nurses.
Yet in many ways, this classic book, which was a best seller when issued and has been continuously in print since it was published 150 years ago, defines the precepts that became the prototype for contemporary nursing practice, provides a compelling historical perspective on the evolution of healthcare delivery, and provides an intimate glimpse into the Victorian Age. Although nurses no longer empty chamber pots, open chimney flues, or worry about their crinoline skirts catching fire, they may be interested to find among Nightingales writings such modern-day concepts as the mind-body connection, plant therapy, and pet therapy.
About the Author
Born in 1820 in Florence, Italy, to a wealthy aristocratic family, Florence Nightingale seemed an unlikely candidate for a social reformer and nursing advocate. She was a sickly child who showed an insatiable intellectual curiosity at an early age and a restless spirit that was ill suited to the society life for which she was reared. Uncharacteristically for the times, she received a formal education from her father and chose an occupation common for women of the lower classes.