“Florence” as metaphor and reality

Nursology.net was officially launched on September 18,  2018, just as hurricane-turned-tropical storm “Florence” raged through the U.S. southeast!  The name of this storm, and the timing of our launch, seemed more than a simple coincidence, considering the significance of this name in nursing history, and for the new beginnings that each “Florence” catalyzed for the global community.

Consider:

Florence Nightingale – 1820-1910 

  • Vision of nurses as agents of societal and individual reform
  • Coupled care with political activism directed at laws and social conditions contributing to ill health – used the results of statistical analyses to convince politicians and military leaders and others about what people needed for high-quality wellness.
  • Laid foundation for professional nursing by establishing world’s first secular school for nurses at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London

 

Florence Wald – 1917-2008 

  • Dean of Yale University School of Nursing 1958-1968
  • Opened the first hospice in the United States in 1971.
  • Initiated training for inmates in Connecticut to become hospice volunteers for dying inmates, an approach that became a model for prisons worldwide.

 

 

Florence Downs – 1925-2005 

  • Director of Post Graduate and Research Programs, New York University 1972-1977
  • Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Studies, University of Pennsylvania 1977-1993
  • Served as Chairperson for more than 100 doctoral dissertation committees
  • Editor, Nursing Research 1979-1997. As the first academic editor of Nursing Research, Dr. Downs changed the editorial policies of the journal from publication of “one shot studies” and infrequent publication of the same researcher’s work to the new policies that enhanced the publication of programs of research by the same researcher or team of researchers
  • “Florence Downs, a well-recognized nursing leader, educator, editor, and Scholar helped shape nursing as an intellectual discipline and wrote extensively about the importance of links between research and practice” In Memoriam: Florence Downs. Nursing Research, 54, 373. .
  • The Florence S. Downs PhD Program in Nursing Research and Theory Development at New York University Rory Myers College of Nursing is named for Florence Downs

Each of these pre-eminent nurses who bore the name “Florence” emerged from circumstances in which they recognized that something significant needed to change – the status-quo was not sufficient. Their actions and the direction they set for the future were based on the premise that Nightingale put forward – it is the things that people do that cause illness and disease.  Like a hurricane, human actions can chart a new course, can change the lives and life-ways of so many people.

Nursology.net, is based on the belief that nursing itself holds the power to change the direction of healthcare, and to set a course toward health – for thriving in the face of hardship, and for peace in the midst of turbulent times.

Peggy L. Chinn, RN, PhD, FAAN and Jacqueline Fawcett, RN; PhD; ScD(hon); FAAN; ANEF

References for Information on Florence Downs:

Fairman J, & Mahon MM. (2001). Oral history of Florence Downs: the early years. Nursing Research, 50, 322–328.
In Memoriam: Florence Downs. Nursing Research, 54, 373.
Vessey J, & Gennaro S. (2005). The gardener: Florence Downs, August 20, 1925-September 8, 2005. Nursing Research, 54, 374–375.

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