Florence Nightingale’s Nursing Theory

Topic: Nursing
Words: 611 Pages: 2

Background Information

Florence Nightingale was one of the most famous nursing theorists who laid the foundation for the existing metaparadigm of patient care. Numerous standards of care provision that she developed and promoted are still used to this day. During the 1800s, almost nothing was known about infections and bacteria, so Nightingale’s revision of nursing practices became a revelation for the carers (Potter et al., 2019). The majority of providers did not know how infections could be prevented or slowed down. Because of this knowledge gap, Florence Nightingale’s contribution to the nursing processes can be deemed colossal. The purpose of the current paper is to present the core components of Florence Nightingale’s environmental theory and explain its implications for modern practice.

Core Components of Florence Nightingale’s Nursing Theory


In terms of nursing, the environment theory is essential because it shows how nursing is a means of promoting health and not just completing trivial assignments that are characteristic of nurses (Potter et al., 2019).

For the health element, Nightingale developed a list of measures that could improve health outcomes in individuals, such as proper caring, preparedness, and cleanliness (Awalkhan & Muhammad, 2016).

In Nightingale’s theory, persons are treated as the center of care, so their wishes and needs are essential and cannot be ignored or postponed (Smith, 2019).

As for the environment itself, Nightingale’s belief was that significant changes in ventilation, smell, and lighting, and noise could affect patient outcomes, depending on how much nurses cared about patient comfort (Potter et al., 2019).

Theory Principles & Article Review

The first crucial principle that had to be followed in order for Nightingale’s theory to function was the health of houses. This meant that everything inside the given health facilities had to be adjusted to appeal to the sick and avoid worsening conditions (Smith, 2019). In line with Potter et al. (2019), another element was the ability to share good news and engage in active listening by paying extreme attention to everything said by patients, no matter how sick. The ultimate principle that was followed by Nightingale was the alignment of nursing practice against social considerations (Awalkhan & Muhammad, 2016). It was vital to provide adequate care with no concerns regarding patients’ social backgrounds.

One of the articles that can be utilized to highlight the importance of Nightingale’s environment theory was written by Gilbert (2020). Her take on contemporary infection control practices proved that Nightingale was ahead of her time when she came up with the foundations for the environmental theory. According to Gilbert (2020), some of the elements of care that can be operated in practice to improve infection control are the promotion of healing practices, the creation of a safer environment, and the generation of opportunities for continued learning and patient education.

Practical Applications

In practice, Nightingale’s theory can be implemented to encourage self-care behaviors and connect the principles included in the environment theory to modern models of nursing. The experiences shared by Nightingale prove that the fundamental value of nursing is the ability to maintain integrity (Gilbert, 2020). Therefore, the environment theory can be applied to reaffirm the importance of nurses and promote interdisciplinary collaboration for the care of the highest quality possible.


Florence Nightingale was a true pioneer of the nursing field because of how she approached to care and patient needs. Knowing that her environment theory could be easily applied to modern care settings, it may be safe to say that Nightingale’s legacy is very much alive and tangible. From infection control to the promotion of self-care and patient education, Florence Nightingale’s environment theory is pristine because it paves the way for improvements without negating past successes.


Awalkhan, A., & Muhammad, D. (2016). Application of Nightingale Nursing Theory to care of the patient with a colostomy. European Journal of Clinical and Biomedical Science, 2(16), 97-101. Web.

Gilbert, H. A. (2020). Florence Nightingale’s Environmental Theory and its influence on contemporary infection control. Collegian, 27(6), 626-633. Web.

Potter, P. A., Perry, A. G., Stockert, P. A., Hall, A., & Peterson, V. (2019). Clinical companion for fundamentals of nursing. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Smith, M. C. (2019). Nursing theories and nursing practice. FA Davis.

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