There are numerous problems that modern society faces, and that needs to be solved if humanity is to develop. However, as the life and activity of Florence Nightingale show, the solution to these problems should not be expected to be attained from politicians only, because people without particular political power, such as nurses, can also contribute to their resolution. In this paper, I discuss the influence of Florence Nightingale on my perception of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which summarize some of the most pressing problems of today, and explain how I, as a nurse, can help advance some of these NDGs.
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Influence of Florence Nightingale’s Legacy on Perception of MDGs
Florence Nightingale was not only a nurse but also a prominent social activist, environmentalist, educator, researcher, and more (Beck, Dossey, & Rushton, n.d.). As such, she is an example of how one, while being a nurse, can utilize their knowledge and the resources available to them to improve the situation in society in general. She had a major influence on my perception of the UN MDGs; while one might think that such global goals are uniquely the area of competence of politicians or, at least, local authorities, I now understand that people who do not have political power still may be able to use their expert knowledge and skills to contribute to solving even global issues. In fact, because some of the MDGs offered by the United Nations (2015) are connected to medicine, it is impossible to advance them without the involvement of medics (and nurses are medics), and Florence Nightingale provides a bright example of a nurse’s capabilities to affect large-scale issues.
Three MDGs to Advance for a Nurse
Three UN MDGs (fighting malaria, HIV, and other diseases; improving the health of mothers; decreasing mortality of children) are directly related to medicine (Beck et al., n.d.); therefore, nurses can help advance them. In particular, nurses can network with their colleagues and form various unions that would collaborate with local authorities, health care institutions, and possibly educational institutions so as to promote MDGs. I, for instance, can fight HIV by networking with colleagues and working with schools to supply sexual education where it is lacking, and to spread information via information boards in clinics and online. Spreading information online is easy to do individually, for example, by creating educational videos to be shown on a YouTube channel. Improving the health of mothers may also involve education about self-care during pregnancy, which I can provide by working with high school female students and organizing educational campaigns, especially in poor areas. This may also reduce child mortality, for such campaigns may result in better health of children; additionally, pregnant teenagers may become less afraid of seeking medical help if an educational intervention was designed in a corresponding way.
Ways for Nurses to Advance MDGs
A single nurse can help advance MDGs, but networking with colleagues will make their efforts more effective. It will be easier for an established and registered collective of nurses to work with authorities and various organizations; therefore, creating large educational events, collaborating with authorities to organize free HIV testing at large public events, etc., becomes more than possible. A collective of nurses can also conduct research to find out the most pressing concerns (health and otherwise) of local mothers, uncovering the problems and drawing attention to them, and thus improving maternal health. In addition, nurses (individually and collectively), being health care experts, can work with local media to draw attention to a variety of problems, such as health concerns of the local children.
Therefore, Florence Nightingale has been not only a nurse but also a social activist, educator, environmentalist and so on, is a bright example of how a representative of the nursing profession can have a major impact on the society in general. As a nurse, I will be able to use the knowledge and resources in my possession to assist the society, in particular, by collaborating with my colleagues to help advance the MDGs set by the UN.
Beck, D.-M., Dossey, B., & Rushton, C. H. (n.d.). Florence Nightingale: Connecting her legacy with local-to-global health today. Web.
United Nations. (2015). The millennium development goals report. Web.
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