3 Lessons from Florence Nightingale for Travel Nurses Today

As we recognize the founder of modern nursing, we are inspired by Florence’s courageous independence and willingness to adapt her career throughout her life.

May 2, 2023

Celebrate Florence Nightingale’s 223rd birthday by exploring three insightful lessons for travel nurses to guide their careers. As we recognize the founder of modern nursing, we are inspired by Florence’s courageous independence and willingness to adapt her career throughout her life. Don’t forget >> the world’s first official nurse was a travel nurse! And as the profession continues to evolve, Florence’s core values – to help and save people by stepping out of your comfort zone – remain at the heart of travel nursing today.

It’s National Nurses Week in Canada. A mere seven days to recognize millions of nurses’ contributions to our society. For this occasion, we want to remind travel nurses everywhere that you are fundamentally carrying on Florence’s legacy. You are building on a tradition of being true to yourself and willing to take risks to help and save others.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on three important life lessons that solidified Florence Nightingale as a fearless leader for travel nurses today. We hope it serves as a reminder that you are part of an enduring legacy that puts saving others first without compromising your ongoing journey to discover yourself.

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 extensively throughout Europe with her parents, 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 nursing field at 24, Florence was a travel nurse from the 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 – prioritizing 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 her 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 our bubble can transform us for the better.

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 spondylitis at 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 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 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 remind you that your career – when coupled with your passion in life – can create endless opportunities for you. With travel nursing comes unlimited adventure along with career advancement. Travel nurses 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 with travel nursing. Even with the 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 risk leaving their home comfort zone.

That’s why it’s so important for travel nurses to reflect on these 3 lessons from Florence Nightingale. 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. Your nursing career may be asking more of you than ever, but you’ve risen to the occasion. Your efforts make a significant difference in the lives of your patients, and we want to express our heartfelt gratitude to you. Thank you for answering the call and going above and beyond in your role as a nurse.