Nightingale’s Philosophy of Nursing in 11 Assumptions Paper

Nightingale’s Philosophy of Nursing in 11 Assumptions Paper

In what ways do you think Nightingale’s ideas about nursing seemed radical when she first proposed them? Review the 11 Assumptions that summarize Nightingale’s philosophy of nursing. Of these 11 Assumptions, which points have resonance for you? Provide a rationale. Nightingale’s Philosophy of Nursing in 11 Assumptions Paper.

Florence Nightingale is regarded widely as the mother of nursing. Born in 1820, she would pass away on 13th August 1910 at the age of 90 years. She is regarded as the founder of modern nursing as we know it today and is the first nurse theorist to come up with a theory guiding nursing practice. That is the Environmental Theory that holds that a patient requires five major things (environmental factors) in order to get well. These are clean water, fresh air, proper sanitation, light, and good drainage (Gonzalo, 2019). The Environmental theory by Nightingale was inspired by her early work in helping wounded soldiers in the Crimean War in 1854. At Scutari in the field hospital, Florence Nightingale would observe the deplorable sanitary conditions that led to the death of many of the wounded soldiers because of preventable infection of wounds. This paper looks at Nightingale’s ideas about nursing and the 11 assumptions summarizing her philosophy of nursing.

Why Nightingale’s Ideas about Nursing Seemed Radical at First

After her involvement in the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale came back home to England and wrote a voluminous report of 830 pages criticising the military hospital administration by the British Army.Nightingale’s Philosophy of Nursing in 11 Assumptions Paper.  This was bound to appear radical at first sight. However, the report helped the military and government to restructure the way healthcare was delivered in hospitals. The other radical decision by Nightingale at the beginning was her idea of formalising nursing as a profession and establishing the Nightingale Training School for Nurses at St. Thomas Hospital. During the American Civil War, her radical ideas of change in the way healthcare should be delivered safely and efficiently met with resistance from official ranks (Gonzalo, 2019). Nevertheless she served as an inspiration and resource to the global professional movement that became known as nursing.


The 11 Assumptions that Summarize Nightingale’s Philosophy of Nursing

During the development of her Environmental Theory and in her subsequent writings, Florence Nightingale made clear the assumptions that underpin her philosophy of nursing as a compassionate profession (Magpantay-Monroe, 2015). These are (Current Nursing, 2020; Gonzalo, 2019):

  1. Nursing is a calling: One has to want to be a nurse to succeed in the profession and leave an impact.
  2. Natural laws rule: There are natural rules of the universe that are in operation even as a patient struggles to get well. For instance, left without proper disinfection and dressing; wounds such as those from the battlefield will fester through infestation by microbes. That is nature. Nightingale’s Philosophy of Nursing in 11 Assumptions Paper.
  • Humans are able to achieve perfection: Every human is capable of performing better than they did yesterday.
  1. Environmental alteration defines nursing: Alterations in the 5 environmental factors is what produces wellness in the patient.
  2. Nursing is both an art and a science: There is more to nursing than a mere profession.
  3. Nursing and medicine are two different entities: Nursing promotes health while medicine treats already established threats to wellness.
  • Nurses must acquire specific education about the profession: Education prepares nurses for the calling that is compassionate nursing.
  • The environment holds the key to healing: Manipulation of environmental factors such as sanitation and clean drinking water is hat heals patients.
  1. People and therefore patients are multidimensional dimensional in nature: This is what Madeleine Leininger as a latter-day nurse theorist built upon to come up with the Transcultural Nursing Theory for holistic nursing.
  2. Health is not just being well but having the ability to effectively use all the power that we possess: General wellbeing is health.
  3. Nursing is the promotion of health: Nurses promote health and wellness. Nightingale’s Philosophy of Nursing in 11 Assumptions Paper.

Of these 11 assumptions, the ones that have the most resonance for me are (i) nursing is a calling, and (ii) individuals are multidimensional. The reason is that nursing is a challenging profession that requires limitless compassion and empathy. If one is not called, they may not succeed. Then, persons being multidimensional indicates that nursing care should be holistic in its approach.



Current Nursing (2020). Theory of Florence Nightingale.

Gonzalo, A. (August 22, 2019). Florence Nightingale: Environmental theory. Nurses Labs.

Magpantay-Monroe, E.R. (2015). Exploring the emotional intelligence of Florence Nightingale. Asia-Pacific Journal of Oncology Nursing, 2(2), 107-111.  .Nightingale’s Philosophy of Nursing in 11 Assumptions Paper.