June 6, 2011

SoN’s Nightingale wheelchair is part of centennial celebration

A piece of nursing history has traveled across the U.S. as part of a celebration honoring a century of nursing excellence. Florence Nightingale’s wheelchair, until recently on display at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, was carefully crated and shipped to the Oregon Health and Science University School of Nursing to be displayed as part of its centennial celebration, held late last month.

“It is truly an honor to have this rare piece of nursing history in our midst,” said OHSU Nursing dean Michael Bleich. “We are very grateful to the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing for loaning it to us as we mark this milestone in our institution’s history.”

Nightingale, a pioneer of modern nursing, used a wheelchair toward the end of her life, and in 1921 noted Johns Hopkins physician Howard Kelly purchased the chair and gave it to the School of Nursing. “If an intimate object can convey a lesson and transmit an inspiration, may this chair suggest the spiritual presence of your great apostle of nursing and prove a blessing to the nursing school,” Kelly wrote in a letter bestowing the gift.

The chair will return to Johns Hopkins in May 2012.