National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s birthday – the founder of modern nursing.
The Nightingale Pledge
The Nightingale Pledge, named in honor of Florence Nightingale, is a modified version of the Hippocratic Oath. Lystra Gretter and a Committee for the Farrand Training School for Nurses in Detroit, Michigan, created the pledge in 1893.
Gretter, inspired by the work of Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, credited the pledge to the work of her committee but was herself considered “the moving spirit behind the idea” for the pledge. The Nightingale Pledge is a statement of the ethics and principles of the nursing profession in the United States, and it is not used outside of the US. It included a vow to “abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous” and to “zealously seek to nurse those who are ill wherever they may be and whenever they are in need.” In a 1935 revision to the pledge, Gretter widened the role of the nurse by including an oath to become a “missioner of health” dedicated to the advancement of “human welfare”—an expansion of nurses’ bedside focus to an approach that encompassed public health.
“Practical Nurse Pledge”, a modern version based on the “Nightingale Pledge”
Before God and those assembled here, I solemnly pledge;
To adhere to the code of ethics of the nursing profession;
To co-operate faithfully with the other members of the nursing team and to carryout [sic] faithfully and to the best of my ability the instructions of the physician or the nurse who may be assigned to supervise my work;
I will not do anything evil or malicious and I will not knowingly give any harmful drug or assist in malpractice.
I will not reveal any confidential information that may come to my knowledge in the course of my work.
And I pledge myself to do all in my power to raise the standards and prestige of the practical nursing;
May my life be devoted to service and to the high ideals of the nursing profession.
Nurses, we salute you!