How & Why NIGH Began
NIGH is the direct outgrowth of a dream — first shared by three Nightingale scholars — Drs. Barbara Dossey, Louise Selanders and Deva-Marie Beck — when they met for the first time in London, in 1999 — as they prepared to publish new Nightingale research that later became their co-authored textbook Florence Nightingale Today: Healing, Leadership, Global Action.
The composite-photo on the left features — from the top — Dr. Barbara Dossey who has crafted the only nurse-authored illustrated biography of Nightingale The Commemorative Edition of Florence Nightingale, Mystic, Visionary, Healer — Dr. Louise Selanders, America's first Nightingale scholar, who has led annual Nightingale Tours to London for many years — and Dr. Deva-Marie Beck — whose doctoral research was the first to document Nightingale's relevance to today's global civil society and this relevance for today's nursing and midwifery practice.
In response to the new millennium — and keynoting at the first ever Nightingale Service convened at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. in 2001 — these three — who also co-founded NIGH — asked themselves “what would Florence Nightingale have done with email, fax machines and the brand new World-Wide Web?”
To answer this, NIGH’s founders first crafted the Nightingale Declaration for a Healthy World — that has become an online commitment for at least 22,000 nurses, midwives and concerned citizens from 106 nations — with a 1000 of these leaders signing on behalf of groups totaling more than 3 million people.
Seeking to build upon Florence Nightingale’s timeless, universal legacy, NIGH’s mandate has emerged from in-depth studies of her phenomenal life. Beyond her ‘lady of the lamp’ image of devotion during the Crimean War — and then, even beyond her founding of modern secular
nursing education — Nightingale’s work contributed greatly to the global health of her time.
A 2021 Open Source Nursing Journal article — in three languages — shares this story through an academic lens >>>
NIGH’s founders and current teams — Nightingale scholars, nursing educators, researchers, clinicians, students, community health activists, communicators and strategists working on grassroots-to-global concerns — have seen and are achieving the development of NIGH as an innovative model to understand and experience the value of her wider accomplishments — her relevance to the 21st century.
“Women dream til they have no longer the strength to dream — those dreams against which they so struggle — so honestly, vigorously and conscientiously.... yet which are their life.”
Florence Nightingale, 1860
Image Credits: Dr. Dossey from her Archives; Dr. Selanders from Michigan State University Photo Services and Dr. Beck from NIGH's Archives.