Celebrating the Legacy of Our Profession

2015 is the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s Death.   And May 12th is typically thought of as Florence’s Birthday.  So pause for a moment and reflect on our profession and the legacy we offer to our communities.  We are clearly a profession worth celebrating.

For entertainment, here are some of Florence’s pledges.  The original and a more contemporary version:

Original “Florence Nightingale Pledge”

  • I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully.
  • I shall abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and shall not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug.
  • I shall do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling.
  • I shall be loyal to my work and devoted towards the welfare of those committed to my care.

Interestingly, the pledge was not written by Florence Nightingale. The pledge was actually written by a committee at the Farrand Training School for Nurses in Detroit, Michigan, in 1893. The committee was chaired by Lystra Gretter

“Practical Nurse Pledge”, a modern version based on the “Nightingale Pledge”

Before God and those assembled here, I solemnly pledge:

  • To adhere to the code of ethics of the nursing profession
  • To co-operate faithfully with the other members of the nursing team and to carryout [sic] faithfully and to the best of my ability the instructions of the physician or the nurse who may be assigned to supervise my work
  • I will not do anything evil or malicious and I will not knowingly give any harmful drug or assist in malpractice
  • I will not reveal any confidential information that may come to my knowledge in the course of my work
  • And I pledge myself to do all in my power to raise the standards and prestige of the practical nursing
  • May my life be devoted to service and to the high ideals of the nursing profession

However a favorite comes from “the truth about nursing” and is quite inspirational:

As I care for you, it is my job to protect you from all harm. That means any harm from your illness or its symptoms, from outside forces including the care environment, and from other people if necessary, even those involved with your health care or health financing. As an autonomous health professional who reports only to senior nurses, it is my job to defend you from poor or misguided health care from any source. I am your advocate. I vow to do my best to protect you as if you are a member of my family.

So go forth and celebrate choosing profession that makes the world better. – Jim Kane