Thursday, July 1, 2010


I am intrigued, fascinated and pleased by the fact, that from time to time I find old family photos in second hand or junk shops. I admit, I am looking for them.
I look for photos of people nobody knows and whose memory nobody wants to keep anymore. Sometimes I use them as designs for my vintage style cards. This is a way for me to remember their special days they once had.

In many cases the images are simply given to me, like this beautiful monochrome photograph of a young woman, taken to memorize the day when she became a nurse. The sincerity of this photo has moved me.

She is committing to what is called the Florence-Nightingale Pledge. When a nurse takes this oath a candle is lit in her lamp. And when she dies, in a ceremony others nurses call three times her name before blowing out the light. When I found this photo I was not quite sure what it represented and I asked a doctor who enlightened me about the Florence Nightingale pledge and it's origin.

The Nightingale Pledge was 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. 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 endeavor to aid the physician, in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.


From A Short History of Nursing by Lavinia Dock and Isabel Stewart:

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