By Lisa Parker-Williams, DNP, MBA, RN, CCM
"The first possibility of rural cleanliness lies in water supply." – Florence Nightingale
Such a powerful statement was made well over one hundred years ago by our mother of nursing, Florence Nightingale. However, recent national, state, and local reports have discussed social water issues such as drought and contamination, which has caused many of us to wonder if our drinking water is safe and if there is a possibility of running out of water.
Many of us began to ponder water safety when we learned of Flint, Michigan's drinking water contamination crisis in 2014. And if the ongoing attempt to manage the health conditions related to the Flint crisis were not enough. Recently, cities such as Jackson, Mississippi; parts of New York City; Newark, New Jersey; Baltimore, Maryland and Hawaii also had water challenges. I cannot leave out the East Palestine, Ohio trail derailment incident, which impacted creeks, rivers, and water wells in the East Palestine community.
In addition, the forever availability of water trickled into question as we witnessed climate change and drought conditions reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), respectively. There are no simple, straightforward ways to solve these problems resulting from other issues.
Do we as nurses address public policy, volunteer, donate responsibly packaged water, provide community education, commit to recycling, track our carbon footprint, or something different? As nurses, the pledge "I solemnly pledge myself before God and presence of this assembly; To pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. 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 remains dear to my heart; it is dear to yours as well!
I want to focus on devoting myself to the welfare of those committed to my care. What does this mean to us individually and collectively as nurses? How do we prioritize Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as we provide nursing care?
I wonder what Florence is thinking! How would Florence challenge us as nurses to act?
Happy Nurse’s Month!
Bio: Lisa Parker-Williams has over 30 years of nursing experience. Lisa received her BSN from Long Island University and has a diverse background which includes Medical-Surgical Nursing, Oncology Nursing, High-Risk TB and AIDS, Operating Room, Home Care, Case Management, and currently Population Health. Lisa's love for Homecare led her to case management and finally population health. Lisa received her MBA in Risk Management from St. Peter's University and her DNP in Leadership from Rutgers State University. Lisa is a Care Transformation Coach at Horizon BCBSNJ.
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Flint Water Crisis What was the need? https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/casper/docs/FLINT-H.pdf
- Indiana Department of Environmental Management. (2023). East Palestine, Ohio Train Derailment. Indiana Department of Environmental Management. https://www.in.gov/idem/featured-topics/east-palestine,-ohio-train-derailment/
- Moffa, C. (2010, February 2). Is the Florence Nightingale Pledge in Need of a Makeover? Off the Charts. https://ajnoffthecharts.com/is-the-florence-nightingale-pledge-in-need-of-a-makeover/
- PBS News Hour. (2023, April 18). Why tracking these pollution indicators is key after the East Palestine train derailment. PBS NewsHour. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/why-tracking-these-pollution-indicators-is-key-after-the-east-palestine-train-derailment
- Team, B. S. B., NASA's Earth Science News. (2021a, September 27). Drought Makes its Home on the Range. Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. https://climate.nasa.gov/news/3117/drought-makes-its-home-on-the-range/
- Team, B. S. B., NASA's Earth Science News. (2021b, September 27). Drought Makes its Home on the Range. Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. https://climate.nasa.gov/news/3117/drought-makes-its-home-on-the-range/