Nurses Week’s grand finale is the celebration of Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Images and statues depict Florence as she was—a compassionate and ambitious caregiver and advocate for public health.

Her sense of responsibility and strong work ethic are evident. What might not come though clearly at first glance is her grit and sheer will to not conform to societal expectations and subpar industry standards.

We know today’s nursing community can relate to being seen as a 24/7/365 caregiving machine with a rebel lying just under the surface. One that doesn’t settle for ordinary or simply accept situations at face value.

A recent Facebook photo caption contest let LRS’ fans and followers put their relatable spin on Florence images—a fun way to peek back while looking inward as a person in the same profession.

Florence Nightingale holding a lamp and checking on a patient. Funny caption reads, "The backup generator is down. How do you feel about placing that catheter by candlelight?" Florence Nightingale holding a lamp and checking on a patient. Funny caption reads, "Let's check your pupils. Can you tell me what year it is? 1880. Sir, how much did you have to drink at the track today?"

Vintage nursing graduation commencement image. Funny caption reads, "I promise to answer the call button, even when it's pressed 5 seconds after I leave the room." Vintage nursing graduation commencement image. Caption reads, "Nursing: For better or worse. In sickness and in health."

Image of Florence Nightingale sitting in a chair, funny caption reads, "I know, my next chapter will be on the importance of the whiteboard!" Image of Florence Nightingale sitting in a chair, funny caption reads, "My pain is a 20 on a scale of 1–10 . . . says the patient sitting up in bed with a cell phone in one hand and a bag of Fritos in the other."

Today, we’re calling Nurses Week 2018 a wrap with a quick overview of a few ways Florence Nightingale’s faith and nonconformist mindset lead by example and raised the bar on healthcare standards.

Following a Baller’s Calling

Named after the Italian town of her birth, Florence Nightingale grew up in a wealthy household primarily around England. With that came the expectation to marry a man of perceived like status.

Florence’s faith in God instilled a strong sense of purpose early in her life—that she was destined for more.

Rather than going the dutiful wife route per her parents’ wishes, she made her way to nursing school in Germany. Later, she began working at a London-based hospital and became the head of nursing after just one year.

Reppin’ Like a Boss

During her time working in London hospitals, Florence Nightingale turned a mission to drastically improve the sanitary conditions of these facilities into reality.

Her efforts considerably lowered death rates in these hospitals, cementing her reputation as a public health advocate and effective reformer.

Going Beastmode 

Once word got out about the horrendous conditions wounded soldiers seeking care were subject to during the Crimean War, Secretary of War Sidney Herbert made the call for help. Florence and a corps of 38 volunteers answered.

When they arrived at Scutari, a British-based hospital, the dreadful scene was worse than described. Supplies, including clean water, were dwindling. Rodents and insects infested the facility. Ill and wounded soldiers haphazardly laid in rooms and hallways covered in their own excrement.

The conditions were said to have had a deadlier effect on the soldiers than the wounds sustained in battle. Florence and her band of relief nurses knew there was no time to waste, and immediate reform was the only solution. Their efforts ensured:

  • Fresh air filled the facilities.
  • Clean water was more readably accessible.
  • Nutritious food was provided on a regular basis.
  • Resource materials to ensure patients could stimulate their minds while recuperating.
  • Bandages, bedding and garments were changed and properly laundered on a regular basis.

It’s hard to believe these acts were just the beginning of her story and positive influence on all of our lives.

To read and watch a little more about Florence Nightingale’s life and contributions to the nursing industry, head to Biography.com.

We hope your Nurses Week gave you those seven days in the sun you so deserve. Feel free to continue to add caption comments on our Facebook page or share photos of how you spent your week on any of our social channels—we’d love to hear from you.