jump to navigation

What Would Nightingale Do? May 12, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in History, Inspiration, Leadership.
Tags: , , , ,
trackback
Happy birthday, Florence Nightingale!

Florence’s life and career continue to be an inspiration for Nursing as well as leaders in general. She was an extraordinary strategist who had powerful insights into organizational dynamics. Facing a challenge, she would assess the pockets of power, align herself with strong allies, and convince people that a solution to the problem would be found.

She was able to make tough choices, including letting some things go until they had to be fixed.

I’m reminded of the story of her arrival in Crimea. The British Military Surgeons refused to let her enter the hospital. They did not want to deal with a “do-gooder” … and a lady at that.

The fact that she arrived with a ship fully loaded with medical supplies, dressings, bedding, food, clothing, etc. gave her the leverage she needed.

She responded to their refusal to let her enter the hospital by refusing to allow the ship to be unloaded. For some days it sat in the harbor with desperately needed medicine, equipment and supplies — until finally surgeons changed their minds and invited her and her nurses to come work in the hospital. It seems clear to me that during those days the ship was in the harbor, there were patients who suffered because they didn’t have the food and medicine on the ship.

The lesson I take from this is that the strategy of letting a failing system fail might be better than the situation-by-situation “fixes” nurses engage in, which take them away from the patient.   Complex systems call for systems-based solutions.  Strategy is important.

We need the courage of Nightingale to focus our energy where it will be best used for patient care now, as she did back then.

Comments»

No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: