Notes on Nursing: What it Is, and what it is Not

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Notes on Nursing, published in 1860 by Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), is the most famous publication in the history of nursing. Defining nursing as "helping the patient to live, " Nightingale "introduced the modern standards of training and esprit de corps, and early grasped the idea that diseases are not 'separate entities, which must exist, like cats and dogs, ' but altered conditions, qualitative disturbances of normal physiological processes, through which the patient is passing. While she did not know the bacterial theory of infectious diseases, she realized that absolute cleanliness, fresh air, pure water, light, and efficient drainage are the surest means of preventing them" (Garrison, History of Medicine, p. 773). A disciple of the pioneer statistician Adolphe Quetelet, Nightingale supported all of her writings with statistical evidence; a chart on page 78 of the Notes shows the number of women employed as nurses in 1851-- some of them as young as five years of age! --
 

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Ideal Gift for Nursing Student

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I bought this for my daughter upon her graduation from the University of Wisconsin School of Nursing andshe loved it! Read full review

Contents

I
1
II
8
III
29
IV
49
V
63
VI
83
VII
90
VIII
98
IX
111
X
120
XI
124
XII
133
XIII
138
XIV
150
XV
183
XVI
196

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Page 118 - IT is the [unqualified] result of all [my] experience with the sick that, second only to their need of fresh air, is their need of light; that, after a close room, what hurts them most is a dark room and that it is not only light but direct sunlight they want.
Page 2 - The very elements of what constitutes good nursing are as little understood for the well as for the sick. The same laws of health, or of nursing, for they are in reality the same, obtain among the well as among the sick.
Page 65 - ... to see that the dress of women is daily more and more unfitting them for any 'mission' or usefulness at all. It is equally unfitted for all poetic and all domestic purposes. A man is now a more handy and far less objectionable being in a sick-room than a woman.
Page 82 - People say the effect is only on the mind. It is no such thing. The effect is on the body, too. Little as we know about the way in which we are affected by form, by color, and light, we do know this, that they have an actual physical effect. Variety of form and brilliancy of color in the objects presented to patients, are actual means of recovery.
Page 37 - the fact so often seen of a great-grandmother, who was a tower of physical vigor, descending into a grandmother perhaps a little less vigorous, but still sound as a bell, and healthy to the core, into a mother languid and confined to her carriage and house, and lastly into a daughter sickly and confined to her bed.
Page 45 - ... first pair of dogs) , and that smallpox would not begin itself any more than a new dog would begin without there having been a parent dog. Since then I have seen with my eyes and smelt with my nose smallpox growing up in first specimens, either in close rooms or in overcrowded...
Page 118 - Go into a room where the shutters are always shut (in a sick-room or a bed-room there should never be shutters shut), and though the room be uninhabited — though the air has never been polluted by the breathing of human beings, you will observe a close, musty smell of corrupt air — of air unpurified by the effect of the sun's rays.
Page 35 - I have known in one summer three cases of hospital pyaemia, one of phlebitis, two of consumptive cough : all the immediate products of foul air. When, in temperate climates, a house is more unhealthy in summer than in winter, it is a certain sign of something wrong. Yet nobody learns the lesson. Yes, God always justifies His ways. He is teaching while you are not learning. This poor body loses his finger, that one loses his life. And all from the most easily preventible causes.
Page 158 - For it may safely be said, not that the habit of ready and correct observation will by itself make us useful nurses, but that without it we shall be useless with all our devotion.

About the author (1860)

Born in Florence, Italy, of wealthy parents, Florence Nightingale was a British nurse who is regarded as the founder of modern nursing practice. She was a strong proponent of hospital reform. She was trained in Germany at the Institute of Protestant Deaconesses in Kaiserswerth, which had a program for patient care training and for hospital administration. Nightingale excelled at both. As a nurse and then administrator of a barracks hospital during the Crimean War, she introduced sweeping changes in sanitary methods and discipline that dramatically reduced mortality rates. Her efforts changed British military nursing during the late 19th century. Following her military career, she was asked to form a training program for nurses at King's College and St. Thomas Hospital in London. The remainder of her career was devoted to nurse education and to the documentation of the first code for nursing. Her 1859 book, Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not has been described as "one of the seminal works of the modern world." The work went through many editions and remains in print today. Using a commonsense approach and a clear basic writing style, she proposed a thorough regimen for nursing care in hospitals and homes. She also provided advice on foods for various illnesses, cleanliness, personal grooming, ventilation, and special notes about the care of children and pregnant women. On 13 August 1910, at the age of 90, she died peacefully in her sleep at home. Although her family was offered the right to bury her at Westminster Abbey, this was declined by her relatives, and she is buried in the graveyard at St. Margaret Church in East Wellow, Hampshire.

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