Top Stories of 2013: Florence Nightengale's health reforms her most enduring legacy
Malden, MA - Florence Nightingale's legacy not only remains – but has never been more important. The full scope of her influence on contemporary nurses, nursing care and nursing research, and, for example, on social and health reform, including sanitation, hygiene, hospital design and statistics is often not fully appreciated. Although she is best known as the founder of modern nursing, having established a curriculum and training school for nurses, it is her pioneering health reforms that have probably been her most enduring legacy.
She outlined the five essential components to optimal healing: pure air, pure water, efficient drainage, cleanliness and light. Some would argue that these components have no relevance to contemporary health care, but, on closer examination, they remain of vital importance to global health:
Pure air: Nightingale hypothesized that one of the reasons for the high infection rate during the Crimean war was poor ventilation. Airborne infections pose a challenge to healthcare workers especially with the increase in multi-drug resistant TB and its spread is partly due to poor ventilation and overcrowding. Respiratory diseases (with a statistically significant percentage attributed to poor air quality and air pollution) remain a major killer and is the leading cause of deaths worldwide (14·3% including lung cancers) (World Health Organisation 2012a). As low to middle income countries become more industrialized, the rates of respiratory diseases are predicted to increase. Continue>