Florence Nightingale’s Philosophy of Nursing and Millennium Goals


With the development of civilization, the world became not only more comfortable but also more dangerous. Environmental pollution, the spread of diseases, and various social aspects do not let humanity live happily. If we look back into history, we can notice that troubling concerns were very similar at different times. Therefore, while focusing on the question of humanity’s health, it is almost impossible not to mention Florence Nightingale, an English nurse, and her philosophy of nursing.

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Re-Echoing Ideas of Florence Nightingale’s Legacy and the UN Millennium Goals

To make the planet a safer and healthier place to live, the bright minds of the United Nations Organization (UN) have established eight principles to follow. These principles are called Millennium Development Goals, and they cover urgent issues to address. Studying those targets, I could notice that many of them coincide with Florence Nightingale’s ideas, so, it may be useful to consider them in the light of her beliefs.

It is rather surprising, but Nightingale promoted the improvement of women’s life quality, and the United Nations’ fifth goal “Improve maternal health” is focused on almost the same problem (The United Nations, 2015, para. 6). It means that people realize that a healthy woman is associated with a strong nation (Beck, Dossey, & Rushton, n.d., para. 17). Both Nightingale and the UN mention the importance of environmental sustainability as it is crucial for preserving health. However, one of the most significant goals that may help reach the other objectives is “Global partnership for development” (The UN, 2015, para. 7). Nightingale’s experience of worldwide cooperation for the purpose of health promotion proves that only mutual efforts can give substantial results.

Millennium Development Goals: Nurses May Contribute

Being a nurse is both a great responsibility and an excellent opportunity. Due to Florence Nightingale, the role of a nurse in society increased. Nurses are often underestimated, but we can do much. For example, we can help improve maternal health. These are nurses who take care of women in hospitals at childbirth as well as during pregnancy and a postpartum period. We teach them how to behave in new conditions, thus, providing safe motherhood.

What is more, nurses are also helpful in the struggle with dangerous diseases like HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria among others. Our careful work with blood tests or while guiding a sick person through doctors’ instructions ensures the reduction of diseases’ spread. “Global partnership for development” is also a goal where nurses can be useful. Our communication with colleagues, cooperation within a hospital or a focus on informing people about health issues are among the key nurses’ functions.

Advancing Millennium Goals: From Words to Actions

In respect to developing the Millennium Goals, nurses can do the following: having the proper education, we can not only treat the sick but also contribute to the health improvement. It is a good idea to organize ‘health groups’ for people in the neighborhood. The principles of healthy eating, treating minor illnesses, and a healthy way of life, on the whole, can be studied there.

One more useful idea is gathering future mothers into a maternity club. They can communicate, share experience, and get professional help on taking care of themselves and their children there. At the time when much information is available on the Internet, young mothers quickly get lost in what is right and what is wrong in raising a child, and meetings with a qualified person will clarify ambiguous moments.

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In conclusion, it should be mentioned that the role of a nurse in current conditions cannot be limited to delivering primary health care. Partially due to Florence Nightingale, today’s nurses are well-educated professionals, who can treat, teach, guide, and even solve global issues.


Beck, D. M., Dossey, B., & Rushton, C. H. (n.d.). Florence Nightingale. Connecting her legacy with local-to-global health today. Web.

The United Nations. (2015). The Millennium development goals report 2015. Web.

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