Notes on Nursing

A Guide for Today's Caregivers


  • . International Council Nurses
  • Linda Carrier-Walker

Florence Nightingale wrote 'Notes on Nursing' for caregivers in the home and it is remarkable how much of the original remains relevant today. This modern edition aims to complement the work of Florence Nightingale, extending her reach to new generations committed to caring for the people they love. The International Council of Nurses and the Florence Nightingale International Foundation (FNIF) have prepared this modern edition of the Notes 150 years after its original publication, to mark FNIF’s 75th anniversary.
View full description


• All individuals who have responsibility for the care of a patient in the home
• Organizations which work with or support the efforts of caregivers in the home


Book information

  • Published: May 2009
  • ISBN: 978-0-7020-3423-7

Table of Contents


1. The background to Florence Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing

The ‘lady of the lamp’

The vocation of Florence Nightingale

A systematic approach to providing care

Changes in the understanding of disease

2. Health of houses

Notes on nursing – Florence Nightingale

Preparing the house

The bedroom

The bathroom

Medical equipment

A home first-aid kit

3. Petty management

Developing a plan of care

An example of a plan of care

Working with physicians, nurses and other health professionals

Keeping records

Researching the patient’s illness or condition



Exercise and fitness


Helping the patient with respiration

Travelling with the patient

4. Food

Notes on nursing – Florence Nightingale

Helping the patient with eating and drinking

5. Bed and Bedding

Notes on nursing – Florence Nightingale

Helping the patient rest and sleep

Pressure sores

6. Cleanliness

Notes on nursing – Florence Nightingale

Helping the patient keep their body clean and well groomed

Helping the patient with elimination

Cleanliness and infections

7. Chattering hopes and advices

Notes on nursing – Florence Nightingale

Fundamental needs

Helping the patient with selection of clothing, with dressing and undressing

Helping the patient communicate with others to express needs and feelings

Helping the patient with work or productive occupation

Helping the patient with recreational activities

8. Observation of the sick

Notes on nursing – Florence Nightingale



Mood and behaviour



Chest and abdomen



How to communicate observations to a physician or nurse

When to call for help

Planning for a crisis

The patient who has fallen

9. Caring for the carer

Notes on nursing – Florence Nightingale

The difficulties of caring and giving care

The health of a care giver: how to manage physical strain and stress


Effective communication

Respite care

Caring for a patient who is terminally ill

The death of a patient

Grieving a loss

10. Health literacy for caregivers

Knowledge of the laws of health

Notes on nursing – Florence Nightingale

Speaking and listening skills

Health literacy and health outcomes

Sources of information for the care giver

Where is the information?

The types of support services that may be available in your community

Assistive devices

Care giver support groups

Legal advice