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Military Health Care

Every year nurses are honored nationally during one week in May, around Florence Nightingale’s birthday, May 12. Memorial Day in May is also a day in which Americans honor and remembers military members who have served or perished in service to our country. The military and nursing are inextricably connected. Let us also remember military nurses when we honor others who served in military war zones, humanitarian missions, and natural disasters. Nightingale is recognized as one of the most significant figures impacting modern nursing, along with Mary Seacole, Dorothea Dix, and Clara Barton. Little is mentioned about the connection these women had to the military. Not only did these women impact modern nursing they were significant in gaining recognition for the importance of nursing care through their facilitating the recovery of soldiers. Employed by the British government, Nightingale went to the Crimea to provide nursing care and relief to the catastrophic number of British soldiers who were dying. She was the first superintendent of nurses recognized by the British military. The introduction of infection control was one of Nightingale’s greatest contributions; infection control saved thousands of lives in the Crimea. Other Nightingale contributions to modern nursing were the inauguration of trained nurses into the care of soldiers as well as maintaining statistical data (a first small step in evidence based nursing practice).
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Last date updated on July, 2014

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