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Happy Birthday Florence Nightingale - International Nurses Day

Minnesota Nurses Association, 5/12/11

Florence Nightingale is considered the founder of the modern nursing profession, and May 12 is the 191st anniversary of her birth.  We nurses celebrate her today, while many others make this day one of honor for the nurses who’ve touched their lives.

Florence wouldn’t be celebrating today.  She’d be out on a protest line somewhere.  In fact, she led the first recorded nurses’ strike in history when she refused to let her charges disembark their boat until hospital working conditions were cleaned to her satisfaction.

As a fierce advocate for human dignity, Florence Nightingale fought entrenched forces dedicated to oppressing the masses.  Her crusade for the advancement of public health measures are credited for improving and saving the lives of millions of people all over the world.  The foundations of her innovations are being used to protect the global health of citizens still today.  She fought and won against big money interests determined to use public waterways as their own sewers.

She’d be right at home in Madison and on the lines with us last summer as we picketed against corporate attacks on our practice – and the safety of our patients.

Today, the 20,000 members of the Minnesota Nurses Association and our 175,000 colleagues nationwide of National Nurses United are proud to carry her lamp of courage and determination.  We are shining a bright light on the destructive interests that are assaulting our values of dignity and fairness.  Today, we are speaking up on behalf of the American people who deserve a Main Street Contract to fight Wall Street profiteers.

The Main Street Contract is nurses who are leading a movement to strengthen the working families of America.  We are standing on the front lines to advance the basic values of nursing practice and human dignity:  Jobs at living wages; equal access to quality education; guaranteed health care for all; a secure retirement; the right to collectively organize and bargain; good housing and protection from hunger; a safe, clean and healthy environment; a just taxation system; restoring the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

You will see us in the streets and in the halls where laws are made.  In the media and at neighborhood gatherings, we are advocating for our patients, families and the very soul of our society.

Happy birthday, Florence. 

Linda Hamilton, RN

President,
 Minnesota Nurses Association

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Five Other Things Florence Might Do If She Were Alive Today:

  1. Join the Nurses' Main Street Contract for the American People
  2. Join the Conversation on NNU's all NEW Facebook Page
  3. Join the NNU in Supporting the American Health Security Act of 2011
  4. Listen to Nurses Discuss Attacks Against Public Employees on Nurse Talk Radio
  5. Watch the Latest "Nurses Station" Talk Shows on Grit TV
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