Off the Charts reminds us this year is the International Year of the Nurse, so designated because it’s the hundredth anniversary of the death of Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing, statistician, theologian, and one of the most influential and astonishing persons of the 19th Century.
In homage and in honour I’ll be periodically (if irregularly) posting this year reflections and thoughts on Nightingale’s life, work and legacy, as well as excepts from her writings, which will be collected on the right hand column under the heading “The Nightingale Papers.” I would really welcome guests posting on Nightingale from any angle — I know you want to — because I think Nightingale’s contribution to our profession has been regrettably neglected by present-day nurse educators. If you’re interested let me know in the comments.
Incidentally, the International Year of the Nurse page has a hugely interesting wax cylinder recording of Nightingale made in 1890, when she was 70 years old. The voice is a little difficult to make out and is much deeper than I would have expected — she actually speaks in the way I imagine Lady Bracknell speaks. Here are the words she’s saying, which helps immensely deciphering the plummy accent:
“When I am no longer even a memory, just a name, I hope my voice perpetuates the great work of my life. God bless my dear old comrades of Balaclava and bring them safe to shore. Florence Nightingale.”
She got her wish.