Fundamentals Theorists

Florence Nightingale (1860)

Nightingale’s Environmental Theory

Florence Nightingale, the “mother of modern nursing,” considered nursing to be a religious calling to be fulfilled only by women. Her theory focused on the environment, although this term never appeared in her writings. She linked health with five environmental factors: (1) pure or fresh air (2) pure water (3) efficient drainage (4) cleanliness, and (5)light, especially direct sunlight. Deficiencies in these five factors produced lack of health or illness.

The above factors attain significance when one considers that sanitation conditions in hospitals of the mid 1800s were extremely poor, and the women working in the hospital were unreliable, uneducated, and incompetent to care for the ill.

In addition to the factors above, Nightingale also stressed the importance of keeping the patient warm, maintaining a noise-free environment, and attending to the patient’s diet in term,s of assessing intake, timeliness of the food, and its effect to the person.

Nightingale set the stage for further work in the development of nursing theories. Her general concepts about ventilation, cleanliness, quiet, warm, and diet remain integral parts of nursing and health care today.

Kozier, Barbara Fundamentals of Nursing 5th edition

Addison-Wesley Publishing  Company, Inc.  pp. 46 & 50