|The Nightingale Society
||25 January 2020
By Lynn McDonald, co-founder
Nightingale Society meeting in London
The Nightingale Society will meet on March 5, 2020 at the Faculty of Public Health, 4 St Andrew’s Place, next door to the Royal College of Physicians of London, 11:00 am-1:00 pm (lunch provided–we need to know numbers).
Room number will be supplied later. Note that this is the same venue, next door to Regent’s Park, as for the Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives’ Federation conference (March 6-7, 2020).
Please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to attend.
Letter to Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health
Please say if you wish to co-sign the following letter to the Secretary of State for Health. Please suggest any other means to get this proposal accepted, such as to get other people to write in, especially nursing leaders, to get other organizations to write also, or to write the prime minister about it.
Please reply CO-SIGN to email@example.com.
Rt Hon Matt Hancock, MP
Secretary of State for Health
25 January 2020
Dear Mr Hancock
Nightingale Society members were pleased to see recognition of Nightingale at the House of Commons at a recent event, at which your remarks were highly positive.
We are pressing for ongoing recognition of her important work, not only as the major founder of the modern nursing profession and a hospital reformer, but as a pioneer of evidence-based health care and early advocate of universal access to (quality) health care, points still little realized, especially in the nursing profession.
We have asked the NHS and the NHS Leadership Academy in particular, to recognize her with an annual award. No response.
There has been discussion about an annual Nightingale lecture at Parliament. The Department of Health could sponsor it.
We have also urged, and continue to urge, recognition of her legacy in the leadership given by later generations of nursing leaders she inspired. The top candidate, we believe, to honour, would be the Nigerian Kofoworola Abeni Pratt, a Nightingale nurse (who chose the Nightingale School for her training because of her regard for Nightingale. She began training in 1946, and was, in 1948, on the launching of the NHS, its first black nurse. Yet nurses do not know this, even nurses at the current Nightingale Faculty, housed now at King’s College, London.
These are not either/or proposals. Mrs Pratt was a Nightingale nurse, carrying on her work. She was the major founder of professional nursing in Nigeria, which in turn influenced the development of nursing in Africa generally.
University of Cambridge and Dr Stephen Toope
I sent the following letter to the vice-chancellor, simply on my own (he is a Canadian and former president of my own university). I got a brief message back from an assistant, saying that he had seen the letter, and had passed on the information to colleagues involved in diversity and equality issues at Cambridge. Possibly people with Cambridge links to take this up?
firstname.lastname@example.orgDr Stephen Toope, OC, vice-chancellor
University of Cambridge
Cambridge CB2 1TN 17 December 2019
Dear Dr Toope,
First of all, congratulations for taking on the slavery issue.
However, I am writing you about another issue of past discrimination, against women, plus an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of a woman with Cambridge connections—not a graduate, of course, because women then were not allowed to be students at all–Florence Nightingale (1820-1910).
The Bicentenary of Nightingale’s birth is next year, 2020. Her father studied classics at TCC and taught her classics at home, but she would have liked to be “a college man.” She is not only the major founder of the modern nursing profession, but the first person to articulate the core principles, in 1866-67, of what eventually were realized with the NHS in 1948, access to quality care regardless of ability to pay, and health promotion and disease prevention as core principles, along with treatment.
Nightingale’s grandfather was William Smith, MP, who worked with Wilberforce and Clarkson on the abolition of slavery. The first two principals of Newnham College were members of Nightingale’s extended family (via marriage of a cousin to poet Arthur Hugh Clough, the first secretary of the Nightingale Fund). Nightingale gave Anne Jemima Clough and Blanche Athena Clough her support. You probably know that Cambridge was particularly delinquent in excluding women from degrees, until 1948! (London began in the 1880s).
Professional nursing at Addenbrooke’s, Cambridge, was started by Nightingale nurses, under a matron, Alice Fisher, Nightingale mentored . Girton College holds Nightingale’s well-thumbed copy of J.S. Mill’s Subjection of Women, with an annotation at “Marriage is the only actual bondage known to our law. There remain no legal slaves, except the mistress of every house.” She added “bravo” in the margin.
Is Cambridge planning any recognition of Nightingale in 2020, her Bicentenary year? The Nightingale Society particularly urges that institutions establish some ongoing recognition. Oxford, for example, has an annual Florence Nightingale Lecture in Statistics (not necessarily on her work, but sometimes on it). How about a Florence Nightingale Lecture on Social Justice at Cambridge?
Yours sincerely, Lynn McDonald, CM, PhD, LLD (hon), professor emerita
former UBC student and former Canadian MP