Blog originally published on May 11, 2021

May 12, 2022, marks Florence Nightingale’s 222nd birthday. As the founder of modern nursing, we can’t help but wonder: what would Florence think of nursing today? Historical records spotlight her independence, determination, and reluctance to accept the social norms of her time. She would undoubtedly be amazed by the progress she put in motion.

In many ways, the nursing profession would be almost unrecognizable to Florence today. The technology, the bureaucracy, and the legalities in particular. However, in the most fundamental sense – we believe nothing has changed. As the profession evolves, Florence’s core values – to help and save people – remain at the heart of nursing. And for that reason, we know she would be proud.

It’s National Nurses Week in Canada. A mere seven days to recognize the contributions that millions of nurses have made to our society. For this occasion, we want to remind travel nurses everywhere that you are fundamentally carrying on Florence’s legacy. Don’t forget that the world’s first official nurse was a travel nurse. The tradition that you are building on is about being true to yourself and being willing to take a risk in order to help others, to save others.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on three important life considerations that solidified Florence Nightingale as a fearless leader. This is to remind travel nurses today that you are part of an enduring legacy that puts saving others first without compromising your ongoing journey to discover yourself.

Florence Nightingale - Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Lesson 1: Travelling to new communities grows your perspective

Florence came from a wealthy British family that embraced travelling. In fact, she was named after the city in Tuscany, Italy where she was born. Early in life she travelled with her parents extensively throughout Europe where she met famous liberal-humanitarian thinkers. It was her exposure to progressive opinions of gender equality outside England that fueled her determination in future studies. Ultimately these enlightened ideas combined with family support reinforced a belief that she could accomplish anything with hard work.

Officially entering the field of nursing at 24,
Florence was a travel nurse from the very beginning.

Officially entering the field of nursing at 24, Florence was a travel nurse from the very beginning. Over her short practicing years, her work brought her to Greece, Egypt, Crimea, Turkey, and India. Her letters from the field brought her biggest contribution to medicine – a prioritization of sanitation and hygiene standards. But that’s not all she wrote home about. Florence wrote about temples in Egypt, an owl she rescued in Greece, her evolving faith, and a duty to serve others. Her letters inevitably changed the world but it’s clear the world also changed Florence. She stands today – as an unwavering example that exploring the world outside of our bubble can transform us for the better.

3 Lessons Travel Nurses can Learn from Florence Nightingale

Lesson 2: Your career in healthcare can be multifaceted

Florence Nightingale was a nurse but she was also so much more. To name just a few other titles – she was an academic, an educator, an advocate, a leader, and a friend. 

She was tragically bedridden from spondylitisat the age of 37. That means her practicing career was cut short after 13 years. Amazingly, that fact did not stop her from #answeringthecall. Florence’s work from that time on focused mostly on social reform. She set up a training school in London, mentored other nurses and published her famous book, Notes on Nursing (1859).  In fact, it was her communication skills that may be responsible for her enduring legacy. Florence was a gifted statistician and she is renowned for putting information into graphs and explaining concepts in simple English to reach even the lowest reading levels of society. 

Florence actively used her academic skills and the advantages of her social position to advance her cause. Her efforts should serve as a reminder that your career – when coupled with your passion in life – can create endless opportunity for you. With travel nursing comes unlimited adventure along with career advancement. Travel nurses get to explore different work environments that allow life passions to take root. That is, if you are willing to take the risk..

Lesson 3: Leaving your comfort zone is never easy

Whether you are supporting troops in the Crimean war or moving to a remote community today, leaving home is hard. It takes courage to walk away from known comforts and turn towards a world of unknowns. New relationships, a new work environment, and new accommodations are all stressful considerations that come with travel nursing. Even with modern-day benefits of technology and Tim Horton’s … being a travel nurse means being courageous at work and in life. Working as a travel nurse is about adventure, making big career moves, and meeting new friends but those benefits come only to those who take the risk of leaving their home comfort zone.

That’s why it’s so important for travel nurses to be supported in their endeavors. Would Florence have been able to accomplish so much without the support of her family? Likely not. She is a product of her home plus her experiences made possible by circumstance and support. This could be said for any travel nurse today.

Our message to travel nurses this week (and every week!) is that we are here to support you in your career to make the best experience possible for you to learn, grow, and live to the fullest. We know that personal and professional growth isn’t easy for anyone. We’re proud of you – for the risks you are taking and the lives you are saving. The last year has asked more from you than ever before and you #answeredthecall and then some. THANK YOU


The last year has asked more from you than ever before and you  answered the call and then some. THANK YOU. 🙏