Florence Nightingale: She Dared to be Different Pushpa Biswas
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1FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE: She Dared to be Different2
A lady with a lamp shall stand
In the great history of the land,
A noble type of good,
Heroic womanhood.
Henry Wordsworth Longfellow (1807–82)
3FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE: She Dared to be Different
Pushpa Biswas RNRM BSc (Nursing) Chief Matron Kasturba Health Society, Kasturba Hospital Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences Sevagram, Wardha, Maharashtra, India
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Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd
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Florence Nightingale: She Dared to be Different
© 2010, Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers
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5Dedicated to the Values, Vision, and Spirit of Florence Nightingale
Born May 12th,1820
Died August 13th, 1910
“All glory comes from daring to begin.”
William Shakespeare7
It gives me great pleasure to write a message for a book that carries the name of Florence Nightingale—one of the most revered multifaceted women of the 19th century, who voluntarily rejected the life of comfort for the world of service. Born in a high upper class family, she could not tolerate the lethargic lifestyle of the women in her era. Restless, she wanted not only to be different but to make a difference and, therefore, in spite of her parents’ wishes, she chose the less respected nursing profession. She then nursed it so that at the end of it all came to know her as the Founder of Modern Nursing. With her compassion and commitment to patient care, she set many examples for others to emulate.
Florence Nightingale was also a diligent and thoughtful hospital administrator using pie diagrams and her skills at graphics, she illustrated her points on morbidity and mortality in the military hospitals to the members of Parliament and the civil servants. So convincing was her data that the authorities were forced to take necessary steps to improve the condition of such hospitals particularly with respect to control of infection. Her sound mathematical knowledge won her a place as the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society and Honorary member of the American Statistical Association.
We too in India cannot forget her contributions. She made a comprehensive statistical study of sanitation in our rural villages and was a leading advocate in the introduction of improved medical care and public health services in our country.
Ms Biswas in her compilation has very successfully brought out the various facets of her personality. Interspersed with the words of wisdom from Florence Nightingale herself and about her by her contemporaries, the book is very informative and 8inspiring. She was brave and dared to stand against the traditions of her time. In the end in 1857, even BBC had to acknowledge that she was the most famous Victorian after the Queen Victoria herself. Today, the International Nurses Day is celebrated on her birthday and the International Year of the Nurse is going to be celebrated in 2010, which marks the centennial of her death on 13th August, 1910. This book is an apt tribute to the “Lady with the Lamp”.
I heartily congratulate Ms Biswas on her effort.
My Best Wishes
Dr (Mrs) P Narang
Kasturba Health Society
PO Sevagram
Wardha, Maharashtra, India9
As we all, Ms Biswas, Matron, Kasturba Hospital of Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram also believe that in the path of righteousness, God is always with you. Remembering this, she has been trying advocacy and advancement of nursing education with her own zeal. In her mission how could she forget Florence Nightingale. So she has come out with this wonderful compilation of doings and performances of Florence Nightingale, who can be described a humanitarian, a saint, a feminist, an educationalist and what not. This benevolent leader, mentor, manager, advocated nursing which is nurturing. Ms Biswas has come out with this compilation of qualities of Florence Nightingale as a person with perseverance, patience, a vigilant visionary. Nightingale advocated prompt performance with punctuality with safeguard of the patients, at topmost in mind. We greet and congratulate Ms Biswas and wish her luck for her future endeavors, too. We wish the readers a fruitful and happy reading and learning.
Best Wishes
S Chhabra
Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences
Sevagram, Wardha, Maharashtra, India
Dear Ms Biswas
I am very grateful to go through your book titled Florence Nightingale: She Dared to be Different.
Your collection and creativity is very appealing, thoughtful information based on historical scientific growth and development. Your effort to focus and pioneer this title on Florence Nightingale is multi-dimensional which will help nurses to get ready reference for their enlightenment to develop towards their professionality.
Through this book, you have diagnosed the critical situation of nursing profession at national level. As per my first-hand experience and observation, I feel that we may go in dark era once again like 17th and 18th centuries. But I am sure that your writing will help the nurses, nursing educators and nursing administrators to evaluate themselves critically and contribute some progressive work for professional growth and development in the remembrance of our nursing scientist Florence Nightingale in this scientific and technological era. I wish you all the best for your book and for more and more creative and progressive writing in future.
Mrs Snehlata Nimbalkar
Superintendent of Nursing Services
Government Dental College
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India11
  1. It gives me great pleasure to pen this message on the event of release of the book Florence Nightingale: She Dared to be Different.
  2. The pioneering attempt to bring out the book is admirable which reveals the history of the life and work of Miss Florence Nightingale. The book will serve as an irreplaceable guide to the present generation of nurses and help them appreciate the proud heritage of their service.
  3. Nursing service is an integral part of the health care delivery system, the very basic essence of which is dedication and tireless service. The alphabets of nursing accentuate those virtues which every nurse must inculcate in order to live up to the high standards achieved by their forerunners.
  4. I would like to endorse on record my sincere appreciation to Ms Pushpa Biswas, the inspiration behind this work and compliment her in bringing out such a well-compiled book.
Rekha Bhattacharya
Associate Professor
College of Nursing (CON)
Armed Force Medical College (AFMC)
Pune, Maharashtra, India
Dear Readers
What started out as a fascination, soon turned into a passion, as over the years, I collected matter related to Florence Nightingale. There were days when I thought of nothing else.
When I decided to compile all the collected matter, it was not easy. I delved into all old diaries and notebooks; every little scrap of paper, all jottings and scribblings were carefully read and recorded. The old saying which my mother often repeated— ‘Anyone who can read, can never clean up an attic,’ proved to be a boon, for I had not thrown away old diaries and notebooks. I also delved through ‘History of Nursing,’ especially the events of the 19th century. What I had in the form of a book was ‘Notes on Nursing’ by Florence Nightingale herself plus some articles on her life. The curiosity to know more about her life made me open encyclopedias, biographies and, of course, search the Internet. I had organized exhibitions on the life of Florence Nightingale for my nurses and so I had some material to start with, but it was not enough.
This compilation is, therefore, a very small section of her life-events and the readers can keep adding whatever comes their way and plenty will, since a strong effort is being made to make everything she wrote, available through electronic publishing.
With best wishes
Pushpa Biswas
“Dream what you dare to dream, go where you want to go. Be what you want to be.”
13The Ministering Angel
They lay there by the hundreds and she alone -
Lamp in hand, traversed the four miles of beds at night.
Yearning to nurse them all;
Her heart reached out to the men
Writhing in agony and pain;
She stooped to caress a fevered brow
To wipe away sweat,
To change a sheet,
To dress a wound,
To hold a hand,
To console a weeping lad.
She had, had a long day
The night would be longer;
She stopped by those
Who would not see the morn
A last message, a last wish
Something for the family!
For her nursing was sacred
In her own words a ‘Serenifer’
Pushpa Biswas
Deep gratitude to:
My Husband and Family
M/s Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd
Computer work – Mrs Varsha Kulkarni
Artist – Shri Dinesh Gudadhe
A special acknowledgement for you, the reader whether you happen to be a nurse or not. It gives me immense pleasure to write for you.
And finally all my colleagues and all my nurses.