Florence Nightingale and the Millennium Goals


Florence Nightingale can be considered a legendary figure in the history of medicine. Her efforts in providing proper education for nurses are partially responsible for the way nurses are taught today, while her global approach to medicine is more relevant than it has ever been. Utilizing similar ideas, contributions could be made to the UN Millennium goals which largely concern medical issues of the world.

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Influence of Florence Nightingale on Personal Perception of the Millennium Goals

The legacy of Florence Nightingale can show how modern health projects are not that different from her original ideas. The Millennium Goals are mostly centered on health issues which require a global effort to solve. Although issues like child mortality and epidemics of fatal diseases could seem impossible to solve, the methods promoted by Florence Nightingale can be used to mitigate if not to resolve the issues. She promoted cleanliness as a way to combat child mortality. This idea is as applicable today as it was a hundred years ago. Maternal health can be improved through simple education on how to deliver the baby. Her efforts to improve the work environment can be seen as one of the ways to reduce the spread of infectious diseases. A clean and safe workplace with a nurse present on the premises sounds modern and effective. Her approach to medicine can be seen as the beginning of modern medicine.

Three Millennium Goals I Could Advance as a Nurse

Developing countries can suffer from a lot of issues that fall under the umbrella of the UN Millennium Development Goals. One such issue is the increasing presence of obesity and metabolic syndrome in South Asian countries. One of the suggested reasons for it is the widely prevalent prenatal undernutrition. Urbanization, nutrition transition, lack of sufficient physical activity, and genetic predisposition are also cited as some of the main causes. I find it possible to contribute to the UN Millennium Goals by increasing awareness of the ways to prevent obesity and associated diseases by creating affordable and relevant to the region dieting programs as well as the promotion of physical exercise (Misra & Bhardwaj, 2014).

Issues of child mortality and maternal health are two of the most complex and prioritized issues of the Millennium Development Goals. Although impressive progress has been made since 1990, not all countries could reach their goals by the target date of 2015. These two issues are often interconnected and need special attention to create effective solutions. The main issue lies in the lack of access to health facilities in the affected counties. As a nurse, I could help to create an outreach program that would help identify women in need of health facilities and subsequently provide them with needed care (Bryce, Black, & Victora, 2013).

Examples of Possible Community Efforts

For example, I can imagine a community run program in South Asia that would organize morning exercises in public parks. These exercises could be promoted online and on morning TV as short guides to losing weight and staying healthy while also fostering closer community spirit. Additionally, leaflets with diet plans and health tips could be given out to the participants at the end of the workout.

To combat child mortality and improve maternal care a highly demanding but important effort should be considered. Because the most affected countries do not have easy access to health facilities, a group of nurses should be present at those communities with available transportation. Free checkups should be provided as well as the promotion of maternal education. This kind of programs would require a large budget, but in some situations, it is the only way to provide care to people in remote and impoverished places.


Florence Nightingale had revolutionary ideas about the field of medicine and education. Many of those ideas can still be used today to contribute to UN Millennium Development Goals.

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Bryce, J., Black, R., & Victora, C. (2013). Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5: progress and challenges. BMC Medicine, 11(1). Web.

Misra, A. & Bhardwaj, S. (2014). Obesity and the metabolic syndrome in developing countries: Focus on South Asians. International Nutrition: Achieving Millennium Goals and Beyond, 78, 133-140. Web.

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