As our NIGH team was first pondering how best to upgrade this website, we wanted to continue something special to feature Florence Nightingale's own signature.
After all, in 2007, we began with her signature in the graphics we used on the homepage of our first version of this site. Two of these graphics are included here. We used this signature from her time to encourage many more to also 'sign' their commitment to the 'Nightingale Declaration for A Healthy World' in our time.
As one of the graphic artists on our team, I decided to consider how to further integrate Nightingale's signature within this upgrade. Over the years, we have received appreciative feedback about quotes from Nightingale. These seem so very relevant, even today. Her quotes are as almost like personal messages across time—signed by her, to us.
Remembering that I had seen several postage stamps devoted to Nightingale and nurses, I 'googled' these to discover more than 50 different online stamp images honouring Nightingale, nursing and from the many national Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies Nightingale's work inspired. These stamps are all government-issue images and thus in the public domain. So, why not use these stamp images to 'mail' her messages and signature to all the visitors to our website?
While shaping the first of these graphic notes, I noticed that the images needed a sense of history. So I also searched for public domain backgrounds representing old fabrics, parchments, folded, crinkled and worn, torn-edged papers. I found many to use at Texturly.com, ImageAfter.com and from Photos-public-domain.com.
With her signature and quotes, so many stamps and backgrounds to choose from, I had a wonderful time creating our featured Nightingale Signature Montage! In the end, I created 50 new 'stamped' e-postcard graphics, each with a different message from our dear Florence to you. These also represent 38 different nations—from across the world—from governments who have considered it important to honour Nightingale and her legacy with stamp designs.
In the 1870s, Nightingale began writing, in her own letters, that it would take 150 years before we would achieve the kind of nursing she envisioned. Her timeline brings us to the year 2020 and our generation! In keeping with her vision, I end this reflection with one of my own favourite Nightingale quotes that seems so appropriate here.
”In the future which I will not see, for I am old, may a better way be opened! May the methods by which every infant and every human being will have the best chance at health — the methods by which every sick person will have the best chance at recovery — be learned and practiced.” from Nightingale's 1983 essay, 'Sick-Nursing & Health-Nursing'
Warmest regards to everyone across the world.
Deva-Marie Beck, PhD, RN
Nightingale Initiative for Global Health (NIGH)
Ottawa, Ontario Canadian Office
Dr. Deva-Marie Beck at the entrance of the World Health Organization (WHO) Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.