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Online J Issues Nurs. 2012 Jan 31;17(1):1.

The voice of Florence Nightingale on advocacy.

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College of Nursing, Michigan State University, USA.


Modern nursing is complex, ever changing, and multi focused. Since the time of Florence Nightingale, however, the goal of nursing has remained unchanged, namely to provide a safe and caring environment that promotes patient health and well being. Effective use of an interpersonal tool, such as advocacy, enhances the care-giving environment. Nightingale used advocacy early and often in the development of modern nursing. By reading her many letters and publications that have survived, it is possible to identify her professional goals and techniques. Specifically, Nightingale valued egalitarian human rights and developed leadership principles and practices that provide useful advocacy techniques for nurses practicing in the 21st century. In this article we will review the accomplishments of Florence Nightingale, discuss advocacy in nursing and show how Nightingale used advocacy through promoting both egalitarian human rights and leadership activities. We will conclude by exploring how Nightingale's advocacy is as relevant for the 21st century as it was for the 19th century.

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