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Collection Tier:
Tier 2

Written Communication ➔ Nightingale Pledge and Code for Professional Nurses

These documents, The Nightingale Pledge and Code for Professional Nurses, were commonly given to nurses during the late nineteenth to the late twentieth century. This particular copy is undated, however it states the Nightingale Pledge was originally formulated in 1893 and the Code was adopted by the ANA House of Delegates in San Francisco in May 1950. It is compliments of W.B. Saunders Company and was likely an insert from a book. They were used at Blodgett Hospital School of Nursing in Grand Rapids and are important artifacts that relate to the establishment of nursing as a profession for women. Although nursing existed long before Florence Nightingale, it was considered untrained work for women. The working conditions were poor and the compensation was less than the pay of laundresses and cooks. During this time period there were limited options of employment for women. Nightingale wanted not only improved patient care, but a worthwhile and challenging means of livelihood for women as indicated by the contents of these materials which helped to elevate the reputation and professional role of nurses.

Florence Nightingale (b. May 12, 1820 - d. August 13, 1910) was a legend of her time and founder of the modern profession of nursing. She was an English nurse, writer and statistician. She came to prominence during the Crimean War for her pioneering work in nursing, and was dubbed "The Lady with the Lamp" after her habit of making rounds at night to tend injured soldiers. Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment, in 1860, of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London, the first secular nursing school in the world. Named in her honor, The Nightingale Pledge, as well as the Code for Professional Nurses was often taken by new nurses.
Current Location Status:
In Storage
Gift of Blodgett Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association
NURSING: A Dynamic Profession (April 30 – May 29 2016)
As a tribute to nurses throughout West Michigan and around the globe, this exhibit celebrates this dynamic profession through artifacts from the GRPM’s Collections and our community partners. From nursing on the battlefield to the ICU, these past and present-day objects connect us to the profound impact nurses have had and continue to have on our lives.

With the health reform of the late 19th century, transforming hospitals from charitable hospices to therapeutic institutions, came a dependance on trained nurses. Nursing quickly became the largest workforce in the healthcare system and continue to be so today.
Nursing is a lifelong pursuit that requires great commitment to patient care and professionalism. Medical science is constantly evolving, thus the nursing profession is constantly changing and nurses must continue to train in new skills and technologies throughout their careers.The GRPM thanks nurses for all they do!

Blodgett School of Nursing Alumni Association
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