I once had someone tell me I had a Florence Nightengale spirit. At the time, I had no idea who she was. The more I began to research her life, the more I thought this person didn't know what he was talking about.
For those of you who don't know her, she is an extraoridinary woman who single handedly made the profession of nursing what we consider it today. She chose to leave her comfortable (and wealthy) life with her family to answer " a call" she felt from God at a very young age. At the time, nursing was considered a lowly job, meant for the "working class". Nurses were thought of as....well... to be of less intelligence than the upper class. So, when she told her family she was going to become a nurse, they scoffed at her. Why would she give up her upper class life? Why would she "throw away" her education & turn down numerous hands in marriage?
As you begin to read about her life and her character, you see why. She was so convinced of her ability to make a difference, she let nothing stop her. She is responsible for going into military hospitals during the Crimean war and after seeing the appaling care or lack there of for the wounded soldiers, working tirelessly to change them. She began training nurses on the war front so that the soldiers had good care. She began saving lives just by sharing simple hygiene techniques and caring for the soldiers. She even created a library of sorts in one military hospital so that the men could have some inspiration and leisure to help them heal.
(biography of Florence Nightengale)
When I read about her life over 12 years ago, I had no plans to become a nurse or a midwife or any of the sort. I was just beginning my career in birth as a doula and was flattered that this person called out a resemblance to her but I thought, he must mean we are alike in our spirits. But, here I am over a decade later engrossed in midwifery and the care of the less fortunate. I, too, am filled with the same determination that she had.....I, too, see injustice within those hurting, those wounded, the most vulnerable and I'm more than willing to give up my comfortable life to do something to change it. Yes, I do see the resemblence. God spoke something over me that day when that man said that and even though I had no idea what it meant then, God is just now beginning to reveal it.
I don't know if I'll ever make the kind of difference that she made or do the amazing work that gets written about in books, but I am willing to bet my life on the fact that, if there is one woman, one baby that is saved because I was there- then I've made the difference that I've set out to do.
Here's to Florence Nightengale and to every nurse who gives of themselves every day to care for those of us who so desperately need it. Fight on!