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Chapter: 11th 12th std standard Class Nursing Health Care Hospital Hygiene Higher secondary school College Notes

The Dawn Of Modern Nursing

From the late 1700s through 1853, the manner in which the sick were cared, remain essentially unchanged. In Europe the dawn of nursing was underway.



From the late 1700s through 1853, the manner in which the sick were cared, remain essentially unchanged. In Europe the dawn of nursing was underway.

The  Deaconess  Institute  of  Kaiserswerth,  Germany was established in 1836 by Pastor Theodor Fliedner, to train the Deaconesses to care for the sick and the provision of social services. Graduates of the Kaiserswerth program spread their influence through out the world.


Florence Nightingale


Every one who had studied about Miss Florence Nightingale, knows of her devotion to the services to the poor and the sick and is also aware of what she did for humanity and to raise the status of nursing profession.


Florence Nightingale was born in a wealthy English family, on 12th May 1820. As she grew off, she became interested in people and in politics. She had great desire to become a nurse though her parents were not keen on her becoming one.


          She was dissatisfied with the dealt routine lifestyle of the upper class women of their days. She had an active mind and an interest in her surroundings beyond household and socials events.


          She had received a classical education equal to that of men of her day. This education provided her with an understanding of the circumstances of the world in which she lived.


          She became aware of the inadequate care being provided in hospitals, when she accompanied her mother on visits to the ill. What Nightingale saw in the hospitals intrigued her and made her want to become more involved.


In 1846, in spite of the concerns of parents and friends Nightingale became to visit and care for the sick in her community. In addition, she visited hospitals in England and throughout Europe. Out of her experiences she recognised that nurses required knowledge, training and discipline, if they were to be effective.

Nightingale learned about the school at Kaisersworth and in 1850, she was admitted to the training program. The three years of training she received were rigorous but helped her clarify what was lacking in the current training of English nurses. After her training, in 1853 she was appointed as Superintendent of the Institution for the Care of the Sick Gentlewomen in London.


She had an opportunity to give her best service to the wounded soldiers in the Crimean War in 1854. Florence Nightingale and her nurses attended thousands of wounded and dying soldiers.


Every night Florence Nightingale walked about with a lamp in her hand to help the suffering soldiers. At this time she helped them to write letters to their families and last messages for those who were dying. She was rightly known as 'The Lady with the Lamp'.


Nightingale and a small band of untrained nurses went to the British hospitals at Scutari in Turkey. She found the patients were laid on the floor in bloody uniforms. Equipments and facilities were not present adequately. With great compassion, she set about the task of organizing and cleaning the hospital and provided care to the wounded soldiers.


Through her efforts and the help of others, Nightingale introduced numerous improvements in the military hospital. Her efforts were largely responsible for traumatic reductions (42 % to 2%) in the wartime death rate of British Soldiers.

She also founded the first training school for nurses (St. Thomas Hospital, London, 1860).


Throughout the publication of countless articles and papers, she shared her ideas about nursing and nursing education. Miss Nightingale was the first to mention Holism (treating the whole patient) in nursing and the first who stated that a unique body of knowledge is required to practice professional nursing.


After the war, she worked to bring about better health conditions in the British army. Nightingale almost single-handedly tried to change health care in England. Nightingale was the founder of modern nursing education. She established the Army Medical School at the Fort Pitt. Despite her ill health she worked for the development of nursing services without taking sufficient rest.


Florence founded a training school for nurses in 1860 at St. Thomas Hospital London. The funds, which were raised by the British people for her service in the Crimean War, were used for this training school. She was very much interested in improving the conditions of the army in India also. She planned a complete public health program, which was practiced in all hospitals and in the fields of nursing. She died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 90 (13th May 1910 )


In recognition of her meritorious help to mankind she was offered the Order of Merit in 1907.She was the first lady recipient for such an honour.


The Florence Nightingale Pledge:


The modified Hippocratic Oath arranged by Mrs. Lystra E. Gretter and her committee for the Farrand Training School for Nurses, Detroit is called the Florence Nightingale Pledge as a token of esteem for the Founder of Modern Nursing.


The pledge is taken by all the nurses who have completed the training program before entering to their practice.

The Nurses 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 will abstain from what ever is deleterious and mischievous and


will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession and will hold the confidence in all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my


knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty, I will endeavor to aid the physician in his work and devote myself


to the welfare of those committed to my care.


The renaissance or revival of learning in Europe.


This was an age of discovery, invention, development, expansion and reorganization in all spheres of human life. It is said that in this period in Europe "The dignity of man began to be emphasized and the search for scientific truth was at least advocated."


Curiosity about the natural world paved the way for rebirth of science. There was great advancement in the science of health, science of chemistry, anatomy and great improvement in surgery. Many eminent people's discoveries and inventions led science to make great strides of progress in its various fields. Some of them were:

Antony Van Leuwenhock        :-       Improvement on microscope.          

William Harvey    :-       Circulation of blood

Daniel Tuke          :-       Treatment of enzyme people

Oliver Wendell     Homes :-     Anatomy             

Edward Jenner     :-       Vaccination against small pox

Louis Pasteur       :-       Science of Bacteriology

Edwin Chadwick           Sanitation - hygiene - sanitary laws. Organised Public Health Department and modern nursing.

Galsiele Fallopian :-       Studies and description of the minute organs  of  the  body,  including  the Fallopian tubes, which bears his name.

William       Rathhone :- Introduced visiting nursing.

Florence Nightingale :-   School of Nursing in 1860.

This age also emphasized on provision of pure water supply, proper disposal of refuse and adhering to sanitary laws. Boards of Health were set up for supervisory purposes.

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