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The Nightingale Pledge

Often said at nursing graduations, here are two versions.

Nightingale Pledge, 1935

Florence NightingaleI solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practise 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 all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavour to aid the physician in his work, and as a 'missioner of health' I will dedicate myself to devoted service to human welfare.

 

Nightingale Pledge, 1893

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practise 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 all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavour to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.
 

This pledge was created in 1893 by a committee led by Lystra Gretter. Gretter updated the final sentence of the pledge to reflect a more public health model in 1935. Read more about the creation of the Nightingale Pledge here.

Also see more information on Florence Nightingale here.

Reference: Marsha D. M. Fowler, 1984, Ethics and nursing, 1893-1984: the ideal of service, the reality of history, Ph.D. thesis, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

I Am Your Registered Nurse poster

The Truth About Nursing has created a poster called "I Am Your Registered Nurse" that helps define nursing responsibilites for the public. While this is not exactly a pledge, it is a statement that defines nursing, much as the Nightingale pledge does, and helps to articulate for everyone, including nurses themselves, the range of important responsibilities of nursing. Click here for how to obtain the I Am Your Registered Nurse poster.

 

Looking for a graduation speaker?

Empower your graduating nurses and encourage them to fully embrace their new role as advocates by bringing Sandy Summers, the Truth About Nursing's executive director, to be your graduation speaker. See two of her commanding graduation speeches:

Widener University, 2019

Johns Hopkins University, 2016

Recommendations

From Brenda Kucirka, who brought Sandy to Widener:

"I highly recommend inviting Sandy Summers to share the work of The Truth About Nursing with your organization. Sandy brings a powerful message and a call to action for nurses to advocate for the profession. Sandy was the invited guest speaker for our Nightingale Ceremony. She reminded us of the history of nursing and the contributions nurses make to supporting public health and the wellbeing of our communities. Students left feeling empowered to step into their new role, inspired by the work of nurses and the significance of their choice to join the profession.

For nurses in the audience and faculty, she reminded us of why we chose nursing as a profession and the imperative we have to shape the profession as she shared the "Truth About Nursing". Feedback from students, guests and faculty was very positive. It was essential information for our new graduates as they transition to practice. Sandy is an excellent speaker who delivers a message that all nurses would benefit from hearing. Her call to action is the antidote to anyone who is feeling disillusioned about our profession or just needs a reminder of just how much power we have."

Brenda Kucirka PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, CNE
Assistant Professor Widener University School of Nursing

See more recommendations.

Learn more about how to bring Sandy to speak at your graduation.

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