How to Be a Good Nurse: 10 Rules from the 1880’s

how to be a nurse in 1880s

We all strive to become better nurses every day. We go to work and take care of our patients without getting tired. We battle each day with the thought that at the end of the day, we could be the best nurses we want to be.

Most of us know that nurses from the past have taught us so much on how to become really good nurses. Florence Nightingale, the role model in Nursing during the 1880s, has always been one of the few people we look up to.

Here are ten rules from the 1880’s that we need to follow for us to be the good nurses we always strive to be:


1. Value your education.

We must always believe that giving value to education is one of the keys to be able to give patients quality Nursing care.


2. Cherish your religious belief.

Florence Nightingale believed that any action that is done for the benefit of others is ‘God’s calling’. She knew that caring for people who were in need of her assistance was one of the things that she was born to do. We must be like her, be able to help people and not expect anything in return.


3. Research.

For you to be able to give quality care, you must first know what you are doing. In the 1880’s, it is important for you to research and gather essential information that you can apply in giving care to patients.


4. Give importance to your environment.

A good environment, as Florence Nightingale states in her Environmental Theory, is necessary for proper Nursing care. We must keep in mind the different aspects we need to consider when taking care of patients.


5. Cleanliness.

In line with the Environmental Theory, cleanliness is one of the things that must be constantly observed. It will help not only us in giving quality Nursing care, but also aid the patients in their speedy recovery.


6. Think white.

Nurses in the 1880’s were always expected to wear their white uniforms, and keep their hair well-kept and worn above their collar. Not only would this make them look very clean and tidy, but it would also help patients easily identify their nurses more as well.


7. Maintain professional camaraderie.

The Nursing society in the 1880’s had only few members. The nurses were constantly taught to maintain professional camaraderie. Belonging to a growing community, we must learn and observe camaraderie for it will help us grow not only as nurses, but also as people.


8. Respect.

We meet people every day and do our best to help them. We must learn how to respect all kinds of people, even those with different cultures and beliefs, no matter what diseases they have.


9. Be compassionate.

Florence Nightingale was a well-loved person because of her compassion. Let us learn how to be as compassionate as her in everything we do.


10. Advocacy.

Nurses must always be teachers and advocates. Like Nightingale, she knew that she had to be heard by many so people could extend their help to one another in many ways. Let us learn from the Lady with the Lamp and share with other people what we have learned from her.


We must know that every day is a learning experience, but we should also consider the lessons we can learn from the past. Do you know of other rules from the 1880’s that can help us grow to become better nurses? Share them with us. We would love to hear from you!


About the Author: Mary Elizabeth Velarmino Francisco earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Philippines. She is always happy to share her passion for writing and blogging. With coffee running through her veins, she enthusiastically battles each day, one article at a time.