Feb. 6, 2020

Florence Nightingale's values, vision and voice still relevant today and for the future

2020 Year of the Nurse and the Midwife: Dr. Lorelli Nowell, MN'12, PhD'17
Lorelli Nowell
Lorelli Nowell

In January of 2019, the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) designated 2020 as the first ever “Year of the Nurse and the Midwife,” in honour of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

UCalgary Nursing will be celebrating the year with a variety of activities including a monthly series of reflections on the past and future of nursing and health care from our nursing community.

UCalgary Nursing assistant professor Dr. Lorelli Nowell, MN'12, PhD'17, has spent much of her career researching mentorship and how a mentoring relationship can strengthen an individual both personally and professionally.

“Mentorship truly crosses all borders – disciplinary, hierarchical - and provides opportunities for positive, mutually beneficial, and fruitful conversations that support growth and development,” she says.

Her commitment to nursing and to mentorship led her to accept Nursing Now’s Nightingale challenge on behalf of the faculty and to recruit members of the UCalgary Nursing community to work on a possible leadership day for 2020. 

This challenge is a call-out to organizations and employers to provide leadership and development training to at least 20 young nurses and midwives in 2020,” she explains, adding that the committee will be looking to reach out to all nurses, not just RNs, as well as undergraduate students. “This leadership day will happen later in 2020 where we will offer different sorts of sessions that look to the future of nursing for all ages, at all levels, in all areas.”

Consider what Year of the Nurse means to you. How would you like this designation to bring attention to the profession?
"Nurses are the backbone of every health-care system. The Year of the Nurse is a time to celebrate the vital role nurses play in providing health services around the world. As advocates and innovators, nurses can play key roles within the health-care systems they both serve and lead.

I would like the Year of the Nurse to bring attention to the value and positive influence nursing leaders can have on improving health services around the world."

What is the legacy of Florence Nightingale to the next generation of nurses?

"Florence Nightingale was a true innovator and her influence on nursing continues today. Her groundbreaking efforts to make systematic changes to health-care systems by following her passion, collecting data and sharing her knowledge is a legacy she leaves for the next generation of nurses.

As the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingales values, vision and voice are still relevant to us all particularly as nursing leaders continue to work to improve health globally."

What’s one thing you’d like to see happen in 2020 to advance the profile of nursing?

"I would like to see more nurses sitting at and leaning in at decision-making tables. Nursing expertise and experiences are needed to inform comprehensive changes and I think nursing leaders can and should be informing and leading these changes."

What is nursing’s next big idea?

"Innovation in health-care technology. Nurses are on the ground and are acutely aware of pressure points within the health-care systems. Nurses can lead more creative and innovative ways to care for patients that improve patient outcomes while potentially saving both time and money. I would encourage nurses to stay abreast of new technology and how it can help provide better care for patients.

Our up-and-coming nursing leaders are more technologically savvy and driven. When we pair their nursing expertise with new technology and an entrepreneurial spirit, it has the potential to have a huge impact on the health-care system."