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Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not
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Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  939 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
"My heart always sinks within me when I hear the good housewife, of every class, say, 'I assure you the bed has been well slept in,' and I can only hope it is not true. What? Is the bed already saturated with somebody else's damp before my patient comes to exhale in it his own damp? Has it not had a single chance to be aired? No, not one. It has been slept in every night." ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published June 1st 1969 by Dover Publications (first published June 1st 1858)
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Dec 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: three-star
A piece of history, I enjoyed reading nursing pioneer Florence Nightingales account of nursing in a time when the profession was not widely respected or even considered to be a feasible career.

The language is, of course, typical of the era of which it was written in which requires an amount of concentration by the reader to fully understand the overall message.

I read this from a purely historical interest point of view while I was training as a nurse myself. It's interesting to see what aspect
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I loved this peek into the world of nursing through the eyes of Florence Nightingale.

Nightingale lived during the Victorian Age during the Industrial Revolution in the mid 1800's. She witnesses to hearing a call of God when she was 16 which eventually led her into ministering to the sick.

Possessing superior administrative skills and viewing nursing as an art not just a science she has stated that, "Every woman is a nurse."

Common sense natural health suggestions were presented in each chapter su
Lisa Mason
May 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since I am studying nursing, this was a really interesting read. Written by the lady who made nursing a respectable career, I enjoy comparing the methods she was inspired to use vs. the way we do things in our day. Her language is very "Jane Austen-like"....and to the point. The most interesting point I learned was her belief that the quality of air we breathe is the single most important thing to making a sick person healthy and keeping healthy people healthy. Further, she says that even in the ...more
Jun 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Admittedly, I probably find this book a bit more fascinating than the average person as I am nurse, yet it is an interesting snapshot of the medical practices of Flo's time. Of course, much of what Ms. Nightingale wrote about is completely irrelevant or incorrect by today's standards. However, her focus was on caring for the entire well-being of her patients. Modern nursing not only owes much to Nightingale's work, but would do well to better implement some of her words into practice today.
Oct 01, 2009 rated it did not like it
Yeah I get it: ventilate the room, wash your hands, change the patient's sheets, keep the chamber pot empty....

There is no doubht that nursing would not be what it is today with out Florence Nightingale, but this book was so preachy and nagging. I will definately save it as a citation source for later work, but not something you want to read again or ever.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this purely for the historical aspect of nursing. I didn’t expect that I’d get a good laugh every few pages. Florence Nightingale was one sassy/sarcastic lady. Ms. Nightingale is my 18th century spirit animal. Besides the humor that I so enjoyed, it was an interesting perspective on some aspects of nursing during the 18th century. Im convinced that if every medical professional had the forethought and “common-sense” nursing perspective, as Nightingale called it, the world would be a much ...more
Aug 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book because I am a new nursing student. It was very interesting to learn many of today's nursing procedures started with Florence Nightingale. She truly was/is the foundation of nursing. Simple things like clean beds and clean clothes, opening windows and airing out the room, basic commonsense with regards to food and nutrition and amazingly enough, even sunlight plays a role in healing. Very good read.
Sharon M
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every nurse should read this to remind us where nursing has been, how far we've come and what has not changed at all! Florence Nightingale had incredible foresight not only in nursing but in public health.
Madhulika Liddle
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Florence Nightingale’s tips on the many varied aspects of nursing. Not, as she explicitly states repeatedly throughout the book, a guide to be used for training a hospital nurse, but a guide for the private nurse. The nurse, either paid or voluntary, who is called upon to look after a patient—a mother nursing a sick child, a relative called upon to look after an invalid, or a private nurse hired to take care of a patient in a private home. Nightingale points out that while the intention may be g ...more
May 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
"I would earnestly ask my sisters to keep clear of both the jargons now current everywhere (for they are equally jargons); of the jargon, namely, about the "rights" of women, which urges women to do all that men do, including the medical and other professions, merely because men do it, and without regard to whether this is the best that women can do; and of the jargon which urges women to do nothing that men do, merely because they are women, and should be "recalled to a sense of their duty as w ...more
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nursing
flew through the book as that is all I can do with free time readings.The focus of her notes are on what she calls "sanitary nursing, " the maintenance of a healthy ennvironment" so as to promote the reparative process of the body, a process which, interestingly enough, she labels "disease." (healthy environemnt= clean air, light, appropriate conversation within scope of practice, etc..) Course, some of what is said would today be considered outdated and much of what I read elicited a " well, ye ...more
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, non-fiction
Holiday Read #2: My Busman's Holiday

Is this when you know you've found your vocation? When, even though you're on holiday, you actually choose to read a book about it, like, for fun? Or was I just thanking the stars and heavens above that I'm not training to become a bus driver (see previous review)?

Whatever the reason, this was a joy and a delight to read. The word 'pioneer' is so often farted in Florence Nightingale's direction that it's hard to take it seriously. And, yes, I'm sure there were
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"It seems a commonly received idea among men and even among women themselves that it requires nothing but a disappointment in love, the want of an object, a general disgust, or incapacity for other things, to turn a woman into a good nurse."

An excellent, seminal book on nursing. Surprising how many things were still applicable to the modern nursing student, although many of the basics of nursing have not changed over the years. I'm proud to add it to my book collection; I only wish other classic
Aug 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting for two separate reasons...the things that were so dated and so wrong (like women are innately better caregivers) AND for the things that were so dated and so right (fresh air, cleanliness, etc.)
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Florence Nightingale grabs the reader from the first page in this book when she says these notes on nursing:
'are meant simply to give hints for thought to women who have personal charge of the health of others. Every woman, or at least almost every woman, in England has, at one time or another of her life, charge of the personal health of somebody, whether child or invalid, -- in other words, every woman is a nurse.'

True dat. It's amazing how well these 'Notes on Nursing' hold up - I don't find
Sep 28, 2017 rated it liked it
It was an interesting read. Obviously, the medical theory is not current in many, many places but from a historical perspective, you can see how revolutionary some of this thinking was.
The wording is fussy and unclear in places, but still an interesting read.
Einar Albert
Does what it says on the tin, tells you the fundamentals of effective nursing. Somewhat dated at point, but surprisingly timeless.
Roberta R. Carr
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Dry but insightful.
Cara Lombardo
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I can agree with Flo on a lot of points. Feed your patients. Keep their rooms clean and uncluttered. Try to provide them adequate rest. I feel like she would be that judgy, I-am-super-nurse type nowadays! I can just see her shaking her head at some of the obstacles to giving good nursing care these days, some created by the very structure of the hospital. According to Nightingale, I fall short of being a good nurse for things that I sometimes cannot control. Ouch.
Read for the library book café's 'women who changed the world' theme... and also for a trip down Memory Lane, as I read and used Nightingale as an undergraduate nurse many years ago. I found her refreshing then, but reading this book now even more impressed.

Yes, the tone is openly didactic and there are dated elements but far fewer than might be supposed, and some are perhaps merely translated: for example, she asserts (very briefly) that a good nurse is religious, when we now require an espousa
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Sad to say that I didn't actually finish this book (I gave up around halfway through it), but I gave up for a very good reason. It's not a terribly informative book, nor is it a particularly riveting read.

Florence Nightingale was a nurse in the 1800s, not a doctor in the 21st century. Medicine has dramatically changed in the last 200 years. Not a single reference to bacteria or viruses was made (and I checked on the Kindle's search function), nor was any reason given as to why hygiene was import
Wow. I now have a different perspective on nursing from the words of the most famous nurse in Victorian England. I have come to believe that nurses back in that period were more similar to CNAs rather than the RNs we see in healthcare settings today. Medical training for nurses was nominal, even considered unnecessary, according to Flo herself.

Written 5 years after the 40 Broad Street cholera epidemic in London, I was shocked that Nightingale rejected the germ theory (in cholera's case, oral-fe
Getting caught up in all the modern discoveries of medicine, it felt good to go back to something more "simple", I suppose, and remind myself what true nursing really is about. I would say, after reading this book, two components make out nursing, and they are observation - and common sense. With all the medical terminology, medication, organisation, CT scans, x-rays and all the many things that make up a nurse's job these days it is very easy to forget about the patient himself and to forget ho ...more
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I expected this to be a great book on nursing - but I was surprised how much it made me think about delegation and organization and good management. Definitely a product of its time, in that nurses are assumed to be women and women are assumed to be nurses. This makes me want to read a detailed bio of Florence Nightingale! And about the Crimean War. I'll try to find something geared younger so we can all read it.

Why I read it: It was recommended by one of my sister's friends when I asked her wh
This is an interesting insight into the standards and requirements of nursing in the mid 1800's, the basic principles of which still hold true today as the importance of good management and delegation are highlighted time and again to ensure continued and consistent care of the patient. While many of the details may be out of date or since proven to be inappropriate the idea that medical care should address both body and mind is one that still holds true today, as does the need to ensure that th ...more
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Florence Nightingale's "Notes on Nursing" is the first textbook for modern nursing ever written. Based on Nightingale's experiences nursing during the Crimean War, and written for laypeople and professionals of the time alike, it is a practical guide to sickroom management on issues ranging from diet to ventilation.

I read the book as research for a work-in-progress and found it to be surprisingly frank for a book of its time on some issues and more coy on other issues. Overall, it was considered
Ebster Davis
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This whole book is Florence explaining logic and evidence-based (for the times) practice to the medical community. Some of the things she was concerned about don't seem to be as big of an issue anymore, some of them (particularly a chapter near the end on observation) really struck home with me.

The tone of a book was pretty funny too, throughout much of it she seems really exasperated with caregivers.
("You guys are so stupid, don't you know you should change the sheets every once in a while?"
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mais um livro da faculdade para ler. Era o que esta obra representava para mim à primeira vista.
Com muito esforço comecei a lê-la, pois fazia parte da matéria para a frequência de História e Epistemologia de Enfermagem. Sem sequer me aperceber, comecei a interessar-me verdadeiramente pelos conselhos dados por Florence Nightingale ao longo da narrativa, e quando dei por mim já tinha "devorado" todo o livro, esquecendo-me completamente que estava a estudar.
Não se trata de uma obra complexa e reple
Aug 16, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In some ways, this book very much reflected the time in which it was written(1860s)...women were nurses, men were doctors, and some of the medical knowledge was a bit...questionable, knowing what we know now. But, Florence Nightingale was a progressive of her time. She said some things that were, dare I say? almost feminist. And it's neat to see the roots of modern nursing practice in her words. She emphasizes careful observation and reporting of patient condition, the heart of assessment. Some ...more
Aug 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: reference
I liked getting to know FloNight from her own words rather than the exhortations of my professors. Her frustration at the indignities that poor nursing can enact upon a patient is palpable all these years later. Chapter 13, on observation, spoke to me the loudest & will affect the way I look at my patient on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and hopefully thereafter. I recommend this book, including the footnotes, to anyone with an interest in nursing. It's worth the wade through archaic l ...more
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Florence Nightingale, OM, RRC 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 stone of professional nursing with the principles summarised in the book Notes on Nursing. The Nighti ...more
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“The very first requirement in a hospital is that it should do the sick no harm.” 35 likes
“Let whoever is in charge keep this simple question in her head (not, how can I always do this right thing myself, but) how can I provide for this right thing to be always done?” 26 likes
More quotes…