2020 is the Year of the Nurse and Midwife
When the World Health Organization declared 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, no one knew we would be in the midst of a global pandemic.
Organizers were merely timing the celebration to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, considered the founder of the modern nursing profession.
Nightingale, whose name is now synonymous with compassionate caregiving, was actually as much teacher and advocate as she was healer.
She was an early innovator in the use of graphics to explain data – she favored variations of the pie chart – and as an educator, she trained fellow nurses, beginning with those who joined her during the Crimean War.
Many nursing schools bear her name. The most famous, the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care in King’s College London, founded in 1860, is reputed to be the world’s first nursing school continuously connected to a hospital medical school.
Technology has changed enormously since Nightingale began preparing young women to care for battlefield casualties. But the core values of compassionate, dependable, deliberative care remain the same.
For generations, nurses took the Nightingale Pledge, their own version of the Hippocratic oath, taken by physicians. The Nightingale Pledge included promises of loyal service and a commitment to what we now call patient confidentiality. It also contained the straightforward promise: I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession.
In many ways, the training available at Northwestern College carries on the principles of professionalism established all those years ago, preparing women and men to serve society in pivotal roles in the healthcare industry.
We naturally take special pride knowing that 2020 is the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. And, think about it, even if no one had made an official decree, this would still be the Year of the Nurse because of their absolutely critical role in the battle against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Even if we weren’t living through a pandemic, there would be more than enough reasons to declare this year – or any other year for that matter – as a Year of the Nurse. It is a profession that gives people a great deal of satisfaction and pride, and one that the rest of the world likes to celebrate.
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