Nursing as a Spiritual Practice: A Contemporary Application of Florence

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Nightingale's words are thoroughly inspirational!! I resonated with her insistence that the nurse's inner spiritual life and relationship with God is foundational to the care of others. In she wrote, "Each night let us come to a knowledge of ourselves before going to rest: as the Psalm says: 'Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. I cheered Nightingale's call to nurses to develop deep, lifelong friendships and loyalty to each other as a source of strength for the difficult task of nursing. How relevant her words are to nurses today as we struggle with derogatory work relationships.

Nightingale also showed nurses the true professional power we possess. She wrote, "Hospital Nurses have charge of their patients in a way that no other woman has charge: in the first place, no other woman is in charge really of grown-up men[horizontal ellipsis]. Also, a Hospital Nurse is in charge of people in their sick and feeble, anxious and dying hours, when they are singularly alive to impressions.

She leaves her stamp upon them, whether she will or no" p. Nightingale said similar things of nurses in district, private and maternity roles. She additionally laid out a health focus for nursing, articulating the nurse's role in promoting, maintaining and restoring health as opposed to just focusing on the treatment of illness and disease. She saw nurses as the primary health educators of the public, a major role we continue to serve today. The authors help us appreciate how remarkable Nightingale was in light of her severe, chronic, debilitating illness with Crimean Fever brucellosis the latter half of her life.

Dossey and her colleagues focus in particular on Nightingale's spirituality, describing her as a practical Christian mystic. They base their understanding of mysticism on the work of Evelyn Underhill, considered the world's foremost authority on mysticism. The term mystic is defined as "a person who has, to a greater or lesser degree, a direct experience of God" p.

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Underhill believed that mystics go through five phases of spiritual development, with union with what is known as "God" as the ultimate quest. A practical mystic indicates a mystic who lives out their spiritual beliefs and brings a sense of the divine to all of life p. By Christian, the authors refer to a mystic in the Western as opposed to Eastern tradition, meaning God remains a separate entity to be united with rather than a transcendental merging of the self within with the life force that underlies all of life Eastern chi, prana , etc.

Although Nightingale expressed her spirituality through Christianity, it seems she drew her spiritual beliefs from all the major religious traditions pp.

Florence Nightingale: The Mother of Nursing

The authors point out that she cannot be confined to a specific religious tradition but state, "Her view of the Absolute encompassed and transcended expressions of the Divine in terms of specific religions; this is the overarching definition of the mystical tradition" p. While this is not evident in Nightingale's writings included in this book for example, she quotes the Bible and speaks of God, Jesus Christ, Savior, Master, Commander and the Holy Spirit ; according to Dossey, Nightingale uses the words Absolute and Divine in other writings.

It is easy to conclude that Nightingale accepted aspects of truth in all world religions. Certainly her keen intellect would have seen the common truths in all religions i. Furthermore, even though Nightingale applied principles of Scripture to life and nursing, she did not believe the core tenet of Christianity-that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God, Savior of the world, and that believing in him is the only way to have eternal life with God Jn No matter what Nightingale believed, Florence Nightingale Today helped me more fully understand how she delineated the concepts we attend to in our work-nursing, person, health and environment; taught the fundamental patterns of knowing in nursing; and envisioned nursing as a spiritual practice that treats body, mind and spirit to promote health.

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Even though I disagree with some of Nightingale's spiritual beliefs, especially about Jesus Christ, I can learn much about nursing from her and from this book that shares her vision for our profession. Brief : Gill, an accomplished biographer and educator, has fashioned a lively portrait of Nightingale's life. Blending historical detail with novelistic style, Gill offers fascinating particulars about Victorian society, the Nightingale clan, the Crimean War, Nightingale's reshaping of military medicine and public health, and her interrelationships with family and prominent Victorians.

More personal than most biographies, Gill's offers an intimate view into Nightingale's public and private life within a restrictive social order that had little place for women other than making society and arranging domestics affairs. Brief : What are the implications of information technology for Christians? Who is my neighbor in the borderless, unpatrolled lands of cyberspace?

Nightingale's spiritual philosophy and its significance for modern nursing.

Pullinger, an e-commerce, e-publishing and website consultant, has written a fascinating and helpful resource for Christians about IT. He helps us understand that technology is not good, bad or neutral, as he delineates critical relational and ethical questions associated with IT. Jesus Christ, who entered our world and chose and maintained a position of subordinate power rather than domination and control, is offered as a model for entering into and influencing the internet.

Pullinger believes the best way to follow Christ's example is to explore application and use of IT within the context of Christian community, and he helps the reader discover how to do just that. By Myrna Armstrong and Shari Frueh, eds. Brief : Twenty-three nursing telecommunications experts offer practical strategies nurses can use in the classroom or clinic to get the best out of modern distance communications technology. Technical, social and evaluative components of distance education and telehealth are thoroughly explored.

An exhaustive reference list at the end of each chapter provides opportunity to pursue more information on a particular subject. Brief : Studies have shown that health information is a major reason people worldwide access the Internet. Health care professionals need to be knowledgeable about what is available on-line and be able to direct clients to reliable, accurate, quality information. Edited by a medical reference librarian, this journal focuses on helping users learn how to evaluate Web-based consumer health resources and offers ongoing description and analysis of consumer health information sites.

Edited by Joyce Fitzpatrick and Kristen Montgomery pp. Brief : These authors have done the work for nurses in researching clinical, consumer and professional websites. Sites on everything from general health care to critical care and government agencies to international nursing resources are included, along with guidelines for browsing and evaluating health care information found on the internet. An added plus is an appendix containing an alphabetical index of web sites discussed in the book.

Brief : Fifteen authors join together to explore the impact of technology on society and human potential from four disciplinary perspectives: philosophy, theology, sociology and cultural studies.

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Questions concerning the interface of technological progress and the Christian vision of the human person are probed from a broad interdisciplinary base. This book is a good resource for policy makers, IT personnel and students who need to investigate how technology both positively and negatively influences our lives. Brief : Now in its thirteenth year, Nursing History Review is the only scholarly annual of new peer review research on the history of nursing and health care. It publishes significant scholarly work in all aspects of nursing history, as well as short and extended reviews of recently published books and updates on national and international activities in health care history.

By John K. Crellin pp.

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  5. Self-reflection: Foundation for meaningful nursing practice?
  6. Review : Crellin, professor of the history of medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, with British qualifications in both pharmacy and medicine, combines scholarly research and personal experience to explore the social history of everyday medicine usage in Britain, the U. Meaning, emotion, and health go hand in hand. There is an intimate relationship between these aspects of our being, and recognizing that relationship requires us to pay attention to the inner self.

    Our personal journeys and life stories are relevant to our perceptions. They affect how we live, how we care for ourselves, and how we nurse. By attaching meaning to them, we allow them to be reference points for future experiences and contribute to our wisdom Dossey et al.

    Spiritual Care In Nursing Practice

    Langley and Brown write that the practice of reflective journaling contributes to important learning outcomes for online graduate nursing students. While acknowledging lack of adequate research and studies about reflective journaling, they identify four learning outcomes that are evident in nursing and education literature.

    The learning objectives identified were: 1 professional development, 2 personal growth, 3 empowerment, and 4 facilitation of the learning process. The sense of empowerment the students felt resulted from being able to clarify beliefs and feelings. They were better able to create personal meanings, gain insights, and connect their inner realities with external realities. To promote satisfaction and empowerment Self-reflection is a necessary foundation for meaningful nursing practice that allows for feelings of satisfaction and empowerment.

    As such, it is a critical nursing skill with the potential for enormous benefit. When we learn to appreciate for ourselves the benefits that self-reflection offers, we increasingly value those nursing elders and thinkers who have demonstrated, by example, its importance. These nurses, with wisdom gained from insight into a life of nursing practice, understand the meanings and patterns of nursing care and offer us a path for holism, connectivity, and oneness within our nursing practice.

    Florence Nightingale, even after she stopped actively engaging in bedside nursing care, continued to share the wisdom that she gained from reflective and thoughtful nursing practice. Though physically infirm, she wrote and vigorously advocated for changes in health care delivery and nursing education.

    Indeed, Nightingale lived a life of reflection, evidenced by writings that include deeply reflective letters Dossey, The image of Nightingale walking through wards of injured and sick soldiers with her lantern shining was—and is—a powerful symbol of hope. The lighted lantern is also a symbol of her wisdom and healing presence. The founder of modern nursing is an example of the power of self-reflection. References: Appleton, C. The gift of self: A paradigm for originating nursing as art. Watson Eds. Denner, S. The science of energy therapies and contemplative practice.

    A conceptual review and application of zero balancing. Holistic Nursing Practice, 23 6 , Dossey, B.

    Florence Nightingale | Biography & Facts |

    Florence Nightingale: Mystic, visionary, healer. Springhouse, PA: Springhouse. Holistic nursing: A handbook for practice. Elder, R. Psychiatric and mental health nursing 2nd ed.