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5 lessons from nursing greats of the past

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Many of those who have walked the hallowed halls of hospitals before you have forged unique paths in nursing history.

What lessons can you take from their journeys and their experiences?

Here are five lessons from five greats.

1. Strive for change when change is warranted. (Florence Nightingale)
Born to an aristocratic family, Florence Nightingale could have lived a life of leisure. To the dismay of her parents, she rejected many wealthy suitors as a young woman and decided to follow what she considered her divine calling: nursing. For the British Army, this was a good thing because when Nightingale went to Turkey in the mid-1850s to nurse British soldiers in an army hospital there, she was appalled by the sanitation conditions and rallied for change.

The military wasn’t pleased with her “criticism” of their procedures and basically ignored her at first. Using a contact at the The Times in London, Nightingale got an editor on board her cause, and when her concerns were publicized and subsequently received some attention from the government, she was permitted to make changes to improve sanitation in the army hospital.

This reduced the death rate of soldiers. For her entire nursing career, Nightingale continued to focus on hospital reform that improved conditions for patients. Rocking the boat when it’s in the best interest of your patients is a good thing.

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Cynthia Dusseault
Cynthia Dusseault is a professional freelance writer with both a health and an education background. A former medical radiation technologist and elementary school teacher, she realized that no matter what she did, she was drawn to any task that involved writing, so she decided, over a decade ago, to write full-time. Since then, she has written for a variety of magazines and websites including Nursing PRN, National Review of Medicine, University Affairs, Your Health, Education Leaders Today, Today's Parent, Children's Playmate, WeightWatchers.ca and many more. She has written about topics such as asthma, genital herpes, circumcision, teleradiology, body art, learning disabilities and exercise trends, and she absolutely adores the fact that writing—particularly doing the research for the articles she writes—makes her a lifelong learner.

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