Celebrating Nurses Week

The Medical Center’s Nursing Team

The Medical Center wishes to take a moment and publicly recognize all of our hardworking nurses and say, “Happy Nurses Week.” They are the professionals we all count on to offer comfort, care and empathy during some of our most difficult and trying healthcare journeys. Many, many thanks to the Center’s team of Registered Nurses: Cheryl Franklin, Sergio Jorganes, Tara McPeak, Kimberly Prather, Kris Rosu, and Brianna Temler; and Medical Assistants Mailyn Cruz, Rayza Gonzalez and Adriana Pomares.

The History of Nurse’s Week: Where it All Began

Nurse’s Week begins May 6 and ends on May 12, the birth date (May 12, 1820) of celebrated nurse Florence Nightingale. She was the founder of modern nursing and was born in Florence, Italy to an English family. Florence learned mathematics, language, philosophy and religion (all subjects that later influenced her work) from her father. Born into a wealthy family, Florence overcame the narrow opportunities offered to girls of her station. In 1851, despite the disapproval of her family, she completed a course of nursing training in Germany.

Moved by newspaper accounts of soldiers’ suffering in the Crimean War (1854-56), Florence answered a government appeal for nurses. She was soon appointed Superintendent of the Female Nurses in the Hospitals in the East. In October 1854, Florence and her party of nurses left London for Constantinople (now Istanbul).

At Scutari, near Constantinople, the conditions were dire. The dirty and vermin-ridden hospital lacked even basic equipment and provisions. The medical staff were swamped by the large number of soldiers being shipped from the war in Crimea. More of these patients were suffering from disease than from their battle wounds.
Florence used her mathematical knowledge and recorded the mortality rate in the hospital. Statistics showed that for every 1,000 injured soldiers, 600 were dying because of communicable and infectious diseases.

Florence’s interventions were simple: She tried to provide a clean environment, medical equipment, clean water and fruits. With these interventions the mortality rate decreased from 60 percent to 42 percent to 2.2 percent.

The Lady with the Lamp

Florence gained the nickname “The Lady with the Lamp” during her work at Scutari. The Times reported that at night she would walk among the beds, checking the wounded men, holding a light in her hand.

The image of “The Lady with the Lamp” captured the public’s imagination and Florence soon became a celebrity. One of the main creators of the Nightingale cult was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who immortalized her in his poem, Santa Filomena.

Source: UK National Army Museum