On 12 May 1820, Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy. Her legacy in not only the science of nursing, but also the art and value of nursing as an independent and recognised profession, is still visible today and is globally celebrated on International Nurses’ Day (12 May) each year. The original Nightingale Pledge, composed in 1893 by Lystra Gretta is an adaptation of the Hippocratic Oath taken by physicians and emphasises the following principles:
- Leading by example
Here is a version of the pledge as used in South Africa.
Nurse’s Pledge of Service
I solemnly pledge myself to the service of humanity and will endeavour to practise my profession with conscience and with dignity.
I will maintain, by all the means in my power, the honour and noble tradition of my profession.
The total health of my patients will be my first consideration.
I will hold in confidence all personal matters coming to my knowledge.
I will not permit consideration of religion, nationality, race or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient.
I will maintain the utmost respect for human life.
I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour.
This version is different in a number of respects to the original Nightingale Pledge.