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The field of nursing has changed dramatically in the recent century, with many changes tracked directly to the innovations initiated by Florence Nightingale. Therefore it is likely she’ll be delighted to see the progress made since the time she worked as a nurse. However, upon realizing the time we needed to make progress as well as the number of issues still left unaddressed, her second thoughts on the state of modern nursing would be far less optimistic than her first impression.
It should be acknowledged that some aspects of the nursing profession improved greatly and would likely be praised by Nightingale. First, today’s nurse is a respectable profession, especially in comparison to her contemporaries. More importantly, today’s nurses face a far greater range of responsibilities and a higher level of standards which means the quality of care is much higher than what Florence was dealing with (Fulton, Lyon, & Goudreau, 2014). Next, the design solutions for hospitals and other healthcare facilities are immeasurably better than those available more than a century ago, with most of them being built upon and consistent with components of optimal healing identified by Nightingale, such as pure air and water, sanitation, and light (Lee, Clark, & Thompson, 2013).
In addition, nursing practice is evidence-based and incorporates research and statistical analysis to support the practice, which is in line with Nightingale’s approach. Another area that saw a change for the better and would likely be praised by her is modern nursing education which is capable of producing great specialists. Finally, the expansion of nursing roles is a change that cannot be overlooked. In today’s system, a nurse is a care provider, a counselor, an educator, a leader, a policymaker, and a manager, which again aligns with Florence’s ideas (Fraher, Spetz, & Naylor, 2015). However, we should not forget that it also introduced ambiguity and vagueness into the list of responsibilities and created new barriers that would undermine the positive impression.
Interestingly, the diversification of responsibilities coupled with the enhancement of criteria for quality patient care created an additional workload for nurses. As a result, the shortage of practitioners and the heavy workload changed so little that she would likely see no difference. Next, despite our best efforts, we still strive to achieve holistic care, so this factor also shows little improvement. Finally, while safety rates in the sector definitely improved over the years, the change is so insignificant that it would likely be considered a lack of progress by such a progressive mind as Florence Nightingale.
Despite the unsatisfactory results in the field of nursing, I would say the prognosis is relatively optimistic. Current trends suggest an improvement, and upon my understanding, the setting is favorable to positive improvements. The only concern is the same I ascribed to Nightingale – the time frame. The change is taking off slowly, and there is no reason to expect it to speed up. So all of the outlined fields will definitely see improvements, but the extra effort must be made to boost the change.
In this regard, Nightingale’s determination and commitment should serve as an example. While each of her individual contributions is incredible, it is their cumulative effect that affects my practice the most. The simple fact that she managed to contribute to policy development, social activism, nursing education, and design standards while at the same time providing exceptional care to patients can be used as inspiration for modern nurses with diverse responsibilities. I can say with certainty that it is her leadership qualities that helped me to push my boundaries further in my nursing practice.
My gifts are fairly good memory, the ability to effortlessly recall the information I found interesting or relevant, good reading skills, and, to some extent, the ability to systematize information. My greatest barrier is the inability to effectively work as a part of the team and, to a lesser degree, the inability to use spatial understanding to aid learning. Upon my understanding, this results from my personality traits. I consider myself an introvert which means I am good at self-study but not social enough to effectively interact with others. Thus, my preferred learning style is verbal, since I best receive information that is formulated in writing, and logical, since I rely on systematizing and reasoning in processing information.
Knowing this, I can organize my notes more effectively by incorporating schemes and tables and adjust my learning process by choosing preferred sources of information. For instance, I can concentrate on written and spoken information and allocate more time for visual and spatial tasks. My intrapersonal skills, on the other hand, would be helpful for organizing self-directed learning. I will be able to maintain productive solitary learning sessions that would hopefully be enhanced by my reasoning skills. Therefore, self-directedness will allow me to identify and address gaps in my knowledge. The effect can be further boosted by an internal locus of control, which can be directed at promoting self-reliance and, by extension, the acknowledgment of responsibilities. Combined with self-directedness, locus of control will eventually contribute to empowerment and lead to personal growth.
Fulton, J. S., Lyon, B. L., & Goudreau, K. A. (Eds.). (2014). Foundations of clinical nurse specialist practice. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
Fraher, E., Spetz, J., & Naylor, M. D. (2015). Nursing in a transformed health care system: New roles, new rules. Web.
Lee, G., Clark, A. M., & Thompson, D. R. (2013). Florence Nightingale–never more relevant than today. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 69(2), 245-246.