The history of the nursing profession is full of influential figures who have helped to shape nursing practice. Florence Nightingale is often considered to be one of the most prominent nurses in history since she had a great impact on nursing (Karimi & Alavi, 2015). She was born in Italy in 1920 and played an essential role in treating British soldiers during the Crimean War. According to Karimi and Alavi (2015), Nightingale worked at a British military camp where large numbers of soldiers were dying from preventable infectious diseases.
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The nurse believed the high casualty rates were due to the unsanitary environment in the rooms and took measures to ensure the cleanliness of medical equipment and the surroundings (Karimi & Alavi, 2015). As a result, the mortality rate among surgery patients decreased substantially, and Nightingale’s work formed the foundation of the Environmental Nursing Theory (Medeiros, Enders, & Lira, 2015). This theory had a significant influence on contemporary nursing practice. It emphasized the importance of a clean environment, diet, warmth, fresh air, quietness, and light in achieving improved health outcomes. Modern nurses are still required to ensure the presence of these factors, which means that Nightingale helped to shape the current nursing practice.
Although nurses can serve as change agents, many factors can enable change or, indeed, halt it. Internal factors, such as safety culture, play a critical role in enabling change since they define the focus of care providers. Other internal factors that can influence the change process are resources and knowledge. Environmental factors, such as the political landscape, also play a pivotal role since legislative change can affect the quality of care and the demand for medical services. For example, the Affordable Care Act widened access to insurance, thus increasing the number of patients eligible for services.
Karimi, H., & Alavi, N. M. (2015). Florence Nightingale: The mother of nursing. Nursing and Midwifery Studies, 4(2), 1-3.
Medeiros, A. B. D. A., Enders, B. C., & Lira, A. L. B. D. C. (2015). The Florence Nightingale’s environmental theory: A critical analysis. Escola Anna Nery, 19(3), 518-524.