Colleen Marzilli, PhD, DNP, RN-BC, CCM, PHNA-BC, CNE, NEA-BC is a GEDI Board Member and Assistant Professor, University of Texas – Tyler, Nursing.

This year, 2020, is the year of the nurse, and that is something to celebrate!  Nurses work with people at their most vulnerable and most beautiful. Whether this is helping in end of life or supporting a new mom during labor and delivery, nurses are there to help and care. Nurses are revered for the trust the public places in their role to help, and religious leaders celebrate nurses as angels on earth. While these are truly remarkable things, what would Florence Nightingale think about nursing today? It has been 150 years since she commented that it would take 150 years for nursing to be what she envisioned, and this is a great time for the profession to reflect on how nursing has changed.

Nursing has become a highly educated profession where nursing education is rigorously regulated, and the title “nurse” commands respect and trust. The public looks to nurses for questions about rashes, immunizations, coughs, and anything else. When a neighbor has a concern about a scrape or cut, they will go next door and ask the nurse if they should go to the Emergency Room.  Nurses are involved in policy and support efforts for health, and nurses work tirelessly to provide care in all settings.

What would Florence think about all of this? Would she be pleased with the development of informatics nursing and the focus on data-driven care? Would she be pleased to see infection control nurses and the role they play in healthcare? Florence advocated for many things in nursing, and her tireless work to elevate nursing is the foundation for what we know as modern nursing. She was passionate about proper sanitation and hygiene, professional nurses, statistics in health, and many other things. As we reflect on the 150th anniversary of Nightingale’s vision for nursing, we can all celebrate. Nursing has come so far, and the profession is still evolving. Celebrate your nursing accomplishments and those of your colleagues. Celebrate how far nursing has come and embrace the future of nursing as nursing continues to provide exceptional care to all people in all situations. Nurses continue to embrace the beautiful and the tragic; nurses work to make health better for all as trusted partners in providing care. Let us all celebrate nursing!

Feature photo courtesy of Barry Kinsella