Posts filed under “Newsletters”

Newsletter 2021:07

By Lynn McDonald, co-founder | September 6, 2021

Possibly meet informally in London?

I will be in London September 15 for an unknown period of time–one event has been scheduled and I hope to work at the British Library. However, with the pandemic, life is uncertain. This is not the time to hold the usual in-person meetings we have had in the past, and Zoom can be better organized from my home office in Toronto. However, it would be great to meet anyone who is, or expects to be, in London after September 15. Please contact me at lynnmcd@uoguelph.ca if this might work.

More Propaganda: the Seacole pairing with Nightingale now a story in Toronto

In the last newsletter, a letter was reported sent to Princess Margret Hospital officials (no reply received) on the display of a Seacole picture in the lobby, with one of Nightingale (this reported by a nurse). The pairing has gone on, to the University Health Network (UHN), a major combination of downtown hospitals (this report by a patient). An online blurb sets out misinformation, more inaccurate than usual. It describes Seacole as “a British-Jamaican nurse and businessperson during the 1800s, provided sustenance and care for British soldiers at the battlefront during the Crimean War. A nursing pioneer, she opened a hospital hotel caring for those most in need. This was around the same time as Florence Nightingale, but Mary is seldom mentioned.”

Further, according to Dr Joy Richards, vice-president, patient relations, “Nursing would not be what it is today without these leaders and it’s important to open these conversations.” How about some facts in the conversations? And how does misinformation “empower” women into leadership? another purpose announced by UHN.

For the record, Mrs Seacole opened her restaurant/bar/catering service for officers in late spring, 1855—it was never a hospital and she never said it was. Nightingale arrived in November 1854, and got the nursing going and many improvements made (laundry, bedding, clean clothes) at the largest hospital in the world, the Scutari Barrack Hospital.

Question: To those of you who think that the United States and Canada are immune to these stories, take note. The next pairing of Seacole with Nightingale may come to a hospital near you.

On a lighter note

Thanks to Dr Ruth Richardson for sharing a podcast on the discovery of chloroform, which includes a short, but very positive, account of Nightingale’s work in the Crimean War.

Ropar Institute of Technology, India

Thanks to Doreen Armbruster, typesetter for the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, for donating her collection of 16 volumes to this new university. They write that they are delighted to have them on the shelf at their library.

Meeting of the North American Florence Nightingale Society

The meeting took place on 1 September by zoom. The main action from the meeting was to pursue the authorities at the Toronto downtown hospitals on the Mary Seacole propaganda picture.

Anyone in the United States or Canada who would like to link up with this network, let us know: contact@nightingalesociety.com

Newsletter 2021:06

From Lynn McDonald, project director | June 30, 2021

Nightingale and the Findings on Residential School Deaths in Canada

Everyone in Canada will be terribly aware of the tragic findings of large numbers of unmarked graves at old residential schools. Yet we should not be surprised at these sad findings. Nightingale was the first person to reveal the high rates of disease and death among aboriginal children in “colonial schools and hospitals,” in Ceylon, South Africa and Australia as well as Canada. These residential schools were British colonial policy.

Nightingale got the Colonial Office to send out questionnaires—the then colonial secretary, the Duke of Newcastle, had been the senior war minister during the Crimean War. She published the findings in 1863, that the rates of disease and death were, throughout the colonies that provided data, double those of English children of the same ages. The 13 schools in Canada were all in Ontario (some were day schools). So, we must expect deaths, even without deliberate crimes, simply from poor sanitary standards, especially over-crowding, and poor ventilation.

Nightingale’s paper on the subject, given at meetings of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science got good press attention, but she could not get the Colonial Office to follow up—her contact, the Duke of Newcastle, had been switched to another department.

Congratulations to Professor Nigel Biggar, CBE

Nigel, a long-standing member of the Nightingale Society, in on the Queen’s Honour List for a CBE. Nigel tells me there is a backlog, on account of COVID-19, for giving out the awards, but they will be done in person, at a palace!

Florence Nightingale and Italy

Congratulations to Sylvestro Giananntonio on the publication of a new book, Florence Nightingale and Italy, in Italian. This was commissioned last year by the Italian nurses’ union.

Florence Nightingale: A Design Hero

R.J. Andrews’s latest on Nightingale as a data visualization pioneer.
Florence Nightingale is a Design Hero | by RJ Andrews | Nightingale | Medium

Mary Seacole propaganda in Toronto, at Princess Margaret Hospital

We were alerted to a new addition to the propaganda campaign, a large picture of Mary Seacole with one of Nightingale in the main lobby of this hospital, the specialist hospital for cancer. Three Toronto members of the Nightingale Society wrote the CEO, copied to the president and vice-president of the Ontario Hospital Association. Herewith:

Michael Burns, president and CEO
Princess Margaret Hospital
30 May 2021

Dear Mr Burns

Re: Mary Seacole picture/propaganda

It has been brought to our attention (we were sent a picture of the pictures) that the main lobby of Princess Margaret Hospital has pictures of Florence Nightingale, the major founder of nursing in the world ,of particular importance for the founding of professional nursing in Canada ,and one of Mary Seacole, a noted celebrity in the Crimean War, as the proprietress of a restaurant/bar/catering service for officers. Mrs Seacole has been actively promoted by the U.K.’s National Health Service as a role model for black and minority ethnic nurses—the NHS is the largest employer of blacks in the U.K. However, there is no foundation for her portrayal as a nurse, and she never claimed to be one. She published a very readable memoir, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands, 1857. If you read it, you will find much to admire, but nothing on the nursing profession.

Kindly state, if you think otherwise, (1) in what hospitals did Seacole ever nurse (2) what nurses she ever trained or mentored and (3) what books and articles she authored on nursing or health care. The list for Nightingale on all three would be substantial, but Mrs Seacole sold meals and champagne to officers; she generously visited the hospital near her business, where she distributed donated magazines to sick railway workers. No doubt she gave comfort to many, as did the mince pies she gave them on January 1 1856, but this is not professional nursing. For more on Seacole, see introduction at https://maryseacole.info.

Sadly, fake facts get around. We trust you will not excuse the picture on the grounds that the hospital would not misinform the public on clinical matters, but false history is acceptable, if for a worthy goal. The promotion of role models for black and ethnic minority nurses and health care workers is a good idea, but choices must be made with due diligence as to the facts. The hospital should not be a purveyor of propaganda, and thus you should immediately remove the inappropriate picture.

If you want to recognize a black/ethnic minority nursing leader, an excellent choice would be Kofoworola Abeni Pratt, the first black nurse in the U.K.’s National Health Service, who went on to become the major founder of nursing in Nigeria and did much to promote professional nursing internationally. On her see: Kofoworola Abeni Pratt: From the First Black Nurse in the NHS to Major Founder of Nursing in Nigeria, 2021: The Nightingale Society.

London open again

We are pleased to see that the Florence Nightingale Museum has re-opened. Also, Nightingale walking tours of London are back on.

Zoom event “Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War Revisited”

Richard Bates invites anyone to join in an event, co-sponsored with the British Library, Monday July 5 2021, 5:30-7 p.m. (UK time), with excellent speakers! Register with Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/florence-nightingale-and-the-crimean-war-revisited-tickets-158132722229

Did you know?

That there is a Nanjing Nightingale College of Nursing? The Nightingale Fellowship (the organization of former “Nightingale nurses”) presented the college with a Nightingale badge for display in a central meeting place. Good to hear!

Nightingale Fellowship Chapel Service

Herewith a link to the chapel service for Nightingale, as a virtual event: https://www.thenightingalefellowship.org.uk.

Newsletter 2021:05

From Lynn McDonald, project director | May 15, 2021

Nightingale’s Birthday, but with more setbacks, from on high (see good news later)

The letter below to the Prince of Wales is self-explanatory. Thanks to Ian Whitehouse and Mark Bostridge for alerting me to the stories in the newspapers. Please reply ‘Co-sign’ if you wish to add your name to the list.

HRH the Prince of Wales
Highgrove House, Doughton, Tetbury GL8 8TN
12 May 2021

Your Royal Highness

You were so right about climate change when so few saw the crisis, but you wrong, very wrong, in your statement in The Times making Mary Seacole a joint expert on hygiene with Florence Nightingale, so that together they saved lives in the Crimean War. No! Nor did Mrs Seacole, a fine person, successful businesswoman, generous volunteer and fine memoirist, ever claim anything of the kind. Her book, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands, 1857, recounts her travels and her businesses, with several chapters (XIII to XVI) on the food and wine she served to officers during the war. In it, she even admitted to making “lamentable blunders” in her “herbal” preparations, presumably referring to her adding lead and mercury, both toxic metals, to them (Chapter IV). These act to dehydrate a person with bowel disease, when re-hydration is what is needed.

Whether you wrote the errors or they were given to you to say, they consist in “fake facts” and we wish you to know that. Sadly, HM the Queen demoted Nightingale and promoted Seacole in her Christmas message, 2020, making Nightingale a “nursing pioneer” like Seacole.

That you made these wrongful remarks at St Bartholomew’s Hospital only adds to the wrong. It was Florence Nightingale who sent the first trained matron and staff of nurses to that hospital to get professional nursing started (it was much behind St Thomas’ Hospital, where her school was located).

Nurses certainly deserve celebration for their hard and courageous work during this pandemic. But the pandemic itself reminds us of the ongoing relevance of Nightingale’s contribution. It was her pioneer statistical work, done with experts after the Crimean War that identified what reforms worked to bring down the high death rates. That is exactly what we need to know now to identify what works best in treatments for COVID-19 and what measures of prevention lead to lower rights of infection and death.

It was Nightingale who was the great advocate of hygiene (name one sentence Seacole ever wrote on the subject!). Ventilation, cleanliness, sunlight, fresh air, adequate spacing and frequent handwashing all feature in her work from her Notes on Nursing in 1860 on.

Diversity and inclusion are proper objects for the National Health Service and for you to assist by promoting them. But the NHS seems to have missed a superb black nursing leader who would be an ideal black/minority role model, Kofoworola Abeni Pratt (1915-92), who went on from being the first black nurse in the NHS in 1948, to lead in establishing professional nursing in her home country, Nigeria on her return there. She trained at the Nightingale School for she was inspired by her. She in turn became the first black matron at University College Hospital, Ibadan (replacing a white British expatriate) and then on to being chief nursing officer for Nigeria, the largest country in Africa and sixth largest in the world. She then went on to another “first,” the first nurse to become a Cabinet minister in charge of health, in Lagos State, 1973-75. On that accomplishment, she passed Nightingale, who wrote and lobbied Cabinet ministers but never became one.

On Mrs Pratt, see Kofoworola Abeni Pratt: From the First Black Nurse in the NHS to Major Founder of Nursing in Nigeria — The Nightingale Society.

Yours sincerely,

Copies to the Rt Hon Boris Johnson, prime minister; the Rt Hon Matt Hancock, secretary of state for health; Sir Simon Stevens, CEO, the National Health Service.

Good News: Florence Nightingale Museum in London to re-open in June

And congratulations to David Green, director, on being short-listed for recognition for a Museum and Heritage award.

Westminster Abbey service on Nightingale re-scheduled for November 10

[Advance notice]

“Florence Nightingale Comes Home”

Richard Bates reports that their “Florence Nightingale Comes Home” exhibition is finally reopening at Lakeside Arts next week! Good to see this, a postponed event. Tickets can be booked: here. To begin with it will be open Thursday-Sunday, and advance booking is required.

Zoom meeting of the North American Nightingale Society

Yes, we have a branch that has met in person, in Toronto, and now meets by Zoom, with members in Toronto; Ottawa; San Francisco; Dayton, Ohio; and Maryland. It met on May 11 to make plans for ongoing recognition of Nightingale. It is exploring ways to get an annual Florence Nightingale Lecture, based in North America, established.

Newsletter 2021:04

From Lynn McDonald, project director | May 9, 2021

Florence Nightingale Foundation and its “Partnership” promoting Mary Seacole

[for background, see the following link for The Nightingale Newsletter 2021:03, April 21, 2021]

Our letter went a second time to the Foundation, with more signatures, up from 31 to 42.

We have received no substantive reply to our letter, but only an email from Greta Westwood, the CEO, giving a link to the ”partnership.” Thus, no answer to what nursing Seacole ever did, and what “partnership” Nightingale and Seacole had, apart from (as we pointed out) that Nightingale gave Mrs Seacole a bed for the night when she was en route to the Crimea in 1855. Herewith:

“Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF) is delighted to be partnering with the Mary Seacole Trust to deliver the hugely successful Mary Seacole Awards. Both organisations celebrate the diversity of the nursing and midwifery workforce and the communities in which they work. This partnership will further highlight the contribution of nurses and midwives from diverse backgrounds working in the NHS in England.

“COVID-19 has emphasised the continued and now urgent need to support ethnic minority communities who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. By joining forces, FNF and the Mary Seacole Trust will support nurse and midwife leaders to develop projects to reduce inequalities and improve health services and outcomes for such communities.

“This new partnership will celebrate the achievements of nurses and midwives who follow in the footsteps of both Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole.”

Responses: Some people have emailed Greta Westwood themselves, to get a polite reply, but again no real answer on the erroneous content.

A subsequent email from Dr Westwood badly missed the point:

“As you will know the Florence Nightingale Foundation is a UK wide nursing and midwifery charity providing leadership development opportunities for over 400 nurses and midwives per year. It is not a historical society.” (email 4 May 2021).

How “not being a historical society” entitles it to invent fake facts was not explained.

Back to Nightingale: A Crimean War soldier writes her in 1887

Sometimes a letter to Nightingale tells us something about her work not in any letter of her own. Here is a fine example from 1887, written by a Crimean War soldier about her help of over 30 years earlier. British Army surgeons then did little more than amputate injured limbs; more complicated surgery to reconstruct the limb was still a long way off. The soldier was Samuel Atkins. Since he was wounded at the Battle of Inkermann, 5 November 1854, he would have been one of the first soldiers Nightingale looked after at the Scutari Barrack Hospital. His letter goes on to his religious beliefs.

Source: Woodward Biomedical Library B.64, University of British Columbia

Birmingham
9 March 1887

Madame

You will doubtless be surprised at receiving a letter from an old Crimean soldier after so many years have passed away, but I have always been anxious to write to you, but could not obtain your address, and have only now quite incidentally, in talking to a friend, discovered through her the address of your sister to whom I have addressed this letter for you.

I was one of the soldiers in the 33rd Duke of Wellington Regiment and was wounded at the Battle of Inkerman, in the head, muscle of right arm and down the ribs, and taken to the hospital at Scutari. After being under the doctors treatment for a time, he said that the next day he must cut my arm off, and I told you what the doctor had said and you told me that I had not better have it off as there was no danger and that they could not take it off without my permission and that my arm would look better in my sleeve. There the sleeve would tuck in my waistcoat pocket.

A few months after coming home to my native village, when out one day my arm being still crooked I stooped down, picked up a stone to throw at a bird and the sudden jerk pulled my arm straight and I was shortly after this able to take some temporary employment and have been able to follow my work ever since.

And now you will perhaps ask yourself why I have written all these particulars to you. It is that I may thank you from the very bottom of my heart for all your kindness to me and all other suffering ones while I and they were in the hospital. I often remember you in my prayers at the throne of grace for thank God since leaving the Crimea I have found grace in trusting in the precious blood of Christ.

I trust that you are in the enjoyment of good health and that the presence of the Master Christ may be always with you. And I know that you will one day hear him say (Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my children, ye have done it unto me) Well done good and faithful servant enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. Hoping that you will excuse the liberty I have taken. I remain, Madame

your obedient servant,

Kofoworola Abeni Pratt: From the First Black Nurse in the NHS to Major Founder of Nursing in Nigeria

by Lynn McDonald, April 2021

Kofoworola Abeni Pratt (1915-92) was an outstanding nursing leader, well recognized for her work in her home country, Nigeria, but scarcely known in the United Kingdom, despite her significant British connections and international reputation. She was the first Black person to train at the Nightingale School, then based at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, starting in 1946. Then, when the National Health Service was launched in July, 1948, she was on duty—the first Black nurse in the NHS.

Her background and education

Née Kofoworola Abeni Scott, she was born into a privileged Lagos family, early converts to Christianity. She was given a good education in a Church Missionary Society girls’ school, after which she obtained a teaching certificate and taught History at the secondary level for five years. She wanted to become a nurse, but, like Nightingale, was prevented by her family, on account of the unseemly reputation of nurses. In the case of Nigeria, the higher posts were reserved for British expatriate women, with the menial tasks accorded to Nigerians (the practice of the Colonial Nursing Service).

In 1941, the then Miss Scott married a Nigerian pharmacist, Eugene Samuel Oluremi (Olu) Pratt, who shared her faith and strongly supported her aspiration to become a nurse. The couple were married in the Scotts’ and Pratts’ family church, the Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos, where Mrs Pratt was active in cathedral governance and women’s organizations.

Olu Pratt made the introduction for his wife to the matron at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1946—he had gone to London ahead of her to apply for medical studies for himself. The matron accepted her, subject to the arrival of the required documents, which proved to be in order.

St Thomas’ had been bombed in the war, so that, on Mrs Pratt’s arrival in 1946, its departments were in temporary quarters in other parts of London. She, as well as doing the regular training, getting excellent marks, went on to obtain extra certificates in midwifery (and worked as a midwife), tropical diseases, the ward sister’s course, and, on a return trip, hospital nursing administration, these last two at the Royal College of Nursing. Pratt later won grants to enable her to travel to see nurse training in other countries. In the United States, she was impressed by training based at universities. She would later lead in the introduction of university-based training in Nigeria, achieved in 1965.

Professional nursing in Nigeria

Encouraged by British “Nightingale nurses,” Pratt returned to Nigeria in 1955 to become the first Nigerian ward sister, then, successively, the first Nigerian assistant matron, deputy matron, and, in 1964, matron, at the top hospital in Nigeria, University College Hospital, Ibadan. This transition from expatriate nurses, doctors, other professionals and administrators to Nigerians was called “Nigerianization”. It began with the approach of independence, which was gained in 1960.

After a mere two years as matron at UCH, Ibadan, although enough to demonstrate her ability as an administrator. Pratt took on a greater challenge, as chief nursing officer for the Federation of Nigeria, the first Nigerian in the post. Her domain became the whole country, the largest in Africa, sixth largest in the world. She led in the establishment of other nursing schools and did some of the training herself.

Throughout, Pratt was, unusually for the time, both a wife and mother, with two sons, one born in Nigeria and one while she was training in London. Her husband obtained British medical qualifications, to return to practise in Nigeria.

From nursing to political leadership in health care

Pratt, like Nightingale, saw the importance of political action in the achievement of healthcare reform. Thus, in 1973, when she was offered the post of “Commissioner for Health”—in practice, the Minister of Health for Lagos State, then under military rule—she accepted. During her time in office (only two years) she saw to the expansion of healthcare services, the building of more hospitals, and the equipping of boats to take healthcare services to villages best accessible by water. She made the provision of better conditions for nurses a priority, culminating in the building of a fine nurses’ residence, long delayed by previous governments, dubbed the “Nurses’ Hilton.” Pratt was the first nurse to become Minister of Health for her country or state.

She received many honours, was named “chief,” awarded the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, an honorary doctorate of laws and the Florence Nightingale Medal,; she was appointed a fellow both of the Royal College of Nursing and the West African College of Nursing. She died in Lagos in 1992, predeceased by her husband, Dr Olu Pratt, in 1985.

A biography of Pratt

An excellent biography was published about her, An African ‘Florence Nightingale’: a biography of Chief (Dr) Mrs Kofoworola Abeni Pratt. The author, Justus A. Akinsanya, was a distinguished Nigerian-born nursing academic, whose career was mainly in the U.K. Unluckily, the book soon became an “orphan book,” that is, the publisher went out of business and the author died. A PDF link is available on the website of the Nightingale Society. It is otherwise effectively unavailable.

Mrs K.A. Pratt: Role model

Mrs Pratt’s career makes her a fine role model not only for Black and minority ethnic nurses, but ALL nurses who aim high.

Newsletter 2021:03

From Lynn McDonald, project director | April 21, 2021

Letter to the Florence Nightingale Foundation

The letter went with 31 signatures on it. No response has come back as of yet. Five more people have since asked to co-sign the letter, so a second letter will duly go with more signatures. Anyone who did not sign and now wants to, please reply with Yes or Co-sign (if in doubt as to having signed before; no worries, I will add your name only if you did not!)

Of course, the NHS, notably NHS Employers and Public Health England are promoters of the Seacole award. The Nightingale Society has contacted them a number of times in the past, to get either no response or a feeble excuse. A telling example from NHS Employers to co-founder Wendy Mathews offered that: “the resumes of many historical figures may not stand up to the rigours of 21st century thinking or practice; however, that does not prevent these stories from being an inspiration to others.” And these people themselves add to false facts!

A letter to NHS groups will be the next step. Does anyone have contacts with sympathetic MPs or, better still, the Rt Hon Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health?

Other letters/emails to the Florence Nightingale Foundation

A number of people said they had some contact with members of the board and will contact them individually to seek some resolution. We want a resolution, to move forward, so anyone with ideas on how to do this, please try and let us know.

Herewith the letter (with 31 signatures):

Dear Professor Westwood

Re: Florence Nightingale Foundation announcement on promoting Mary Seacole awards (Mary Seacole Awards to be taken over by new partnership to ‘broaden impact’ | Nursing Times)

Nightingale Society members and supporters were, at the least, puzzled to see your promotion of Mary Seacole as an apparently equal contributor to “modern nursing.” Would you please tell us what contributions to modern nursing Mrs Seacole made? We are well aware of her fine personal qualities, as a businesswoman, volunteer and generous person. She kindly distributed donated magazines to the men at the Land Transport Corps Hospital near her business, and brought them mince pies on New Year’s Day, 1856. She gave out hot tea for several weeks (while waiting for her huts to be erected) to sick and wounded soldiers waiting on the pier at Balaclava to go to Nightingale’s hospital at Scutari.

  • However, can you tell us of any hospital(s) where she nursed? in any country?
  • Which nurses she trained or mentored?
  • What articles or books she ever published on nursing?

In her very readable memoir, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands, 1857, she mentioned nothing of the sort, that is, of actual nursing. She described attending to men on the battlefield post-battle, after selling wine and sandwiches to spectators, on three occasions. She also made it clear in her memoir that she missed the first battles, as she was in London attending to her failing gold investments (Chapter VIII, p 74).

Please state, further, what contribution to “modern nursing” Mrs Seacole made by her treatment of bowel patients: dehydration (vomiting, purging through the bowels and sweating) to become NHS “modern nursing” practice?

How did her “lamentable blunders” (Chapter V, 31 of her memoir) contribute to “modern nursing”?

You stated in the Nursing Times article that the “partnership” with the Seacole Trust would unite Nightingale and Seacole again, after their encounter 166 years ago. Please say how, given that the encounter consisted of Seacole asking Nightingale for a bed for the night as she was en route to the Crimea to start her business. Perhaps five minutes? with nothing on nursing (see her memoir, Chapter IX, p 91).

We appreciate the concern to bring due recognition to BAME persons in nursing, a valid goal, but should you not choose persons who made important contributions? We wonder why Kofoworola Abeni Pratt is not recognized, a Nightingale nurse, the first black nurse in the NHS and an outstanding nursing leader. No doubt there are other good BAME models as well, so why feature someone who was not?

We will be happy to post your statement on Mrs Seacole’s contributions to modern nursing.

Yours sincerely

Where to send your own emails:

Professor Greta Westwood, CBE, CEO greta@florence-nightingale-foundation.org.uk or info@florence-nightingale-foundation.org.uk
Baroness Watkins, president
Lord Remnant, vice-president
Avery Bhatia, chief nurse, St Thomas’ and Guy’s NHS Foundation Trust
Andrew Andrews, legal director
David Half, treasurer
Royal patron, Princess Alexandra
Sir Robert Francis, patron
Trustees: Joan Myers, Jill McLeod Park, Colonel Sharon Findlay, Aisha Holoway, Peter Kay, Rhiannon Beaumont-Wood, Simon Reiter, Ben Edwards, Judy O’Sullivan.

Link to superb Pushkin Industries podcast by Tim Harford, “Florence Nightingale and her Geeks Wage War on Death”

https://timharford.com/2021/03/cautionary-tales-florence-nightingale-and-her-geeks-declare-war-on-death/

Available also at NPR: https://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=973914176:973914178

Notice of 2021 (Delayed) Bicentenary conference on Nightingale

The International & IV National Nursing History Conference will take place in İzmir from November 18th to 20th, 2021. The Conference will be held in memory of the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale, who laid the foundations of modern nursing as the World Health Organization declared 2020 as the ‘Year of Nursing and Midwifery’ .We want to hold our congress this year with the same theme, which we could not hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The main theme of our conference was determined as ‘Technology Keeps Live, Care Improves’. In line with this main theme, we invite all academicians, nurses and students to share the life and personal characteristics of Florence Nightingale, its contributions to the nursing profession, its philosophy, and the history of nursing care in our conference.

Newsletter 2021:02

From Lynn McDonald, project director · April 8, 2021

Please say if you wish to co-sign this letter, to go to the CEO of the Florence Nightingale Foundation. For background, see the Nursing Times article noted. Simply reply Yes, or Co-sign.

This is a very troubling step taken by the Florence Nightingale Foundation, which was established for “the living memory” of Nightingale, now to accept and promote Mary Seacole with her, because both contributed to “modern nursing.” The statement even has a “partnership” between the two, from back in the Crimean War, or more “false news.” The Nightingale Society has long recognized the many favourable qualities and work by Seacole, but as a businesswoman and volunteer, but not as a co-founder of nursing.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

To: Greta Westwood, CBE, Florence Nightingale Foundation

Dear Dr Westwood

Re: Florence Nightingale Foundation announcement on promoting Mary Seacole awards (Mary Seacole Awards to be taken over by new partnership to ‘broaden impact’ | Nursing Times)

Nightingale Society members and supporters were, at the least, puzzled to see your promotion of Mary Seacole as an apparently equal contributor to “modern nursing.” Would you please tell us what contributions to modern nursing Mrs Seacole made? We are well aware of her fine personal qualities, as a businesswoman, volunteer and generous person. She kindly distributed donated magazines to the men at the Land Transport Corps Hospital near her business, and brought them mince tarts on New Year’s Day, 1856. She gave out hot tea for several weeks (while waiting for her huts to be erected) to sick and wounded soldiers waiting on the pier at Balaclava to go to Nightingale’s hospital at Scutari.

  • However, can you tell us of any hospital(s) where she nursed? in any country?
  • Which nurses did she train or mentor?
  • What articles or books did she ever publish on nursing?

In her very readable memoir, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands, 1857, she mentioned nothing of the sort; that is, of actual nursing. She described attending to men on the battlefield post-battle, after selling wine and sandwiches to spectators, on three occasions. She also made it clear in her memoir that she missed the first battles, as she was in London attending to her failing gold investments (Chapter VIII, p 74).

Please state, further, what contribution to “modern nursing” Mrs Seacole made by her treatment of bowel patients: de-hydration (vomiting, purging through the bowels and sweating) to become NHS “modern nursing” practice?

How did her “lamentable blunders” (Chapter V, 31 of her memoir) contribute to “modern nursing”?

You stated in the Nursing Times article that the “partnership” with the Seacole Trust would unite Nightingale and Seacole again, after their encounter 166 years ago. Please say how, given that the encounter consisted of Seacole asking Nightingale for a bed for the night as she was en route to the Crimea to start her business. Perhaps five minutes? with nothing on nursing (see her memoir Chapter IX, p 91).

We appreciate the concern to bring due recognition to BAME persons in nursing, a valid goal, but should you not choose persons who made important contributions? We wonder why Kofoworola Abeni Pratt is not recognized; a Nightingale nurse, the first black nurse in the NHS, and an outstanding nursing leader. No doubt there are other good BAME models as well, so why feature someone who was not?

We will be happy to post your statement on Mrs Seacole’s contributions to modern nursing.

Yours sincerely

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

See a website on Seacole: www.maryseacole.info

Newsletter 2021:01

From Lynn McDonald, project director | April 3, 2021

Welcome

For many years two separate newsletters went out (both occasionally): one strictly academic, to the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale list; the other the Nightingale Society list, with polemical notes, such as responses to attacks on Nightingale. For simplicity, the two have now been combined, so that there is both academic material (new publications), Nightingale relevant events, etc., as well as responses to attacks. Thanks to people who send me new items and suggestions.

Congratulations to Tim Harford on the radio broadcast version of his chapter on Nightingale and data visualization—he plays himself on it, with Helena Bonham Carter (a Nightingale relevant) as Nightingale herself.

Congratulations to Dr Steven Lockley, Harvard Medical School, on his article in Scientific American (18 March 2021) “What Florence Nightingale Can Teach Us about Architecture and Health.” The article points out such things as “sunlight is a critical determinant of health and wellness,” and that “natural light has been shown to decrease heart rate, lower blood pressure and even treat depression faster than antidepressants,” and it can “also decrease harmful bacteria and viruses,” hand with the pandemic.

More Publications on Nightingale and Statistics

The paper/PowerPoint I gave to the Radical Statistics Group in London February 2020, BEFORE the lockdown, has now come out in the Radical Statistics Group journal, Issue No. 128 (pp 28-48): https://www.radstats.org.uk/no128/Entire128.pdf

But why did they change my title? It was “Florence Nightingale and Statistics: What She Did and What She Did Not,” an obvious (obviously not obvious) play on the title of her most famous (but not famous enough) publication, Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not.

New Article on Nightingale, Nursing and Health Care

Please advise if you have anything to announce. The following article is by me (Lynn McDonald).

A reply (finally) to the recent (preposterous) accusations against Nightingale

A number of people brought the ludicrous accusations against Nightingale published in nursing journals and a nursing blog. Herewith a reply, citing primary evidence for the refutations (the accusations were without any real evidence, but they convinced too many people).