I recently came across the Florence Nightingale pledge, the one I took 35 years ago when I graduated from a hospital-based diploma nursing program. When reading it on the eve of the year 2010, it occurs to me that it needs to be updated to better reflect where nursing practice is today. Here’s the original composed by Lystra Gretter, an instructor of nursing at the old Harper Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, and was first used by its graduating class in the spring of 1893. It is an adaptation of the Hippocratic Oath taken by physicians : “I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.” The pledge is still widely used at nursing graduation/pinning ceremonies.
Here’s my updated version: “I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to live my life with integrity and to practice my profession faithfully. With dedication will I endeavor to uphold the ethical, scientific, and legal standards of my profession, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”
What say you – sacrilege or high-time? Perhaps we need something new entirely. Any takers?