|The Nightingale Society|
By Lynn McDonald, co-founder
Nightingale at Home, 2020
Congratulations to Paul Crawford and his team, Richard Bates, Annie Greenwood, A., Jonathan Memel, J, on the publication of their Florence Nightingale at Home. Here is the link to the book at the publisher’s page: https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783030465339
The Nightingale “Calling” Window, Romsey Abbey
The window (see right) was finally unveiled in October—delayed by the pandemic—but it can be seen and it was wonderful. Congratulations to artist Sophie Hacker and to the vicar and staff at the Abbey and numerous supporters in the area. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-hampshire-54466201
The Bad News
The false accusations continue, the latest by a Canadian, president of the nurses’ union in Quebec and a doctoral student at the University of Montréal. Natalie Stake-Doucet’s article, in an online journal—ClioNursing, 5 November 2020—is one of the worst, clever in citing other articles that supposedly “reveal Nightingale’s racism,” except that the articles cited themselves consist of accusations without evidence; see for example that published by the New Zealand Nursing Organization in April 2020.
One of Stake-Doucet’s nastier accusations was that Nightingale “defended the deaths” of Indigenous children, when, in fact, she conducted research on the high rates of diseases and death at Indigenous residential schools and hospitals, and showed that they were twice as high as those for white children! She was the first person, in 1863, to expose the high rates of disease and death in Canada’s residential schools, although she was not able to get the Colonial Office to follow up on the research.
Nightingale was an early anti-racist. See http://nightingalesociety.com/backgrounders/10-florence-nightingale-a-leading-anti-racist/
More good news: the first Black nurse in the NHS
The Nightingale Society has promoted recognition of Kofoworola Abeni Pratt—the first black nurse in the National Health Service (NHS) when it opened in 1948, and probably the first black nurse to train at the Nightingale School, where she began her studies in 1946. Pratt chose the Nightingale School because she admired Nightingale, having learned about her in her history studies in Nigeria. It is gratifying to see British nurses beginning to notice her, and feel inspired! (Two nurses at St Thomas’ reported that in a story in the Nursing Times).
Information about Pratt has been largely unavailable. A full, and excellent, biography was published on her in 1987, by the Nigerian-born Justus A. Akinsanya, who trained as a nurse in the U.K., did a PhD and had a distinguished academic career. His An African ‘Florence Nightingale’: The Life of Chief (Mrs) Dr Kofoworola Abeni Pratt sadly became an “orphan book” on the author’s death in 2005 and the demise of the publisher. The Nightingale Society is now able to make an electronic version available (it was only published in print). See http://nightingalesociety.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/An-African-Florence-Nightingale-CWFN-site.pdf
Zoom PowerPoints for the Bicentenary
Two more events which were to have been in person happened by Zoom instead:
- a PowerPoint to the Iowa Hospital Association , Oct. 7;
- and a PowerPoint Masters’ Class at the Ingram School of Nursing, McGill University, Nov. 6: “Florence Nightingale: Her Legacy in 2020, the Year of the Nurse and Midwife and COVID-19.”