Where health and community intersect, nurses offer alternative modes of thinking.
Nightingale is a magazine established by nurses and the populations they serve. We are an inclusive movement, committed to equality within and beyond the healthcare system. This commitment extends across spheres of gender, race, culture, religion, sexual orientation, ability, age, socio-economic status, and literacy level.
Here is an emerging space for writers, artists, activists, healthcare workers, students, citizens, immigrants, policymakers and families who want to help others as peers. We feature work centered around health equity with the aim of connecting nurses to communities and empowering patients.
Letter from the Founder
Welcome to Nightingale, a movement of story, art, and activism for health equity. Throughout this launch you will hear from a group of wildly courageous and thoughtful individuals—distant acquaintances, old friends, family members and strangers— who reached across the abyss and offered up a powerful statement: “I will help.” Collectively, our words tell a story of migration from outrage, apathy, and disbelief to a very resilient form of hope. I am still busy thanking them.
Nightingale isn’t exclusive to nurses, but its origins align with the practice of nursing —an inclusive practice which elevates the skill of sitting with people in their pain.
The majority of our founding members are not, in fact, healthcare professionals. They are people who wanted to create a space to elevate conversations about health equity.
Nightingale isn’t written exclusively for or by nurses, but its origins align with the practice of nursing —a practice which elevates the skills of sitting with people in their pain, listening to them as equals and prioritizing attainment of the highest level of health for each individual as they define it. It is a profession of empathy rather than sympathy, one that is intimately familiar with vulnerability. It is also a profession holistic in nature, founded on the idea that patient is family is community is society is system.
When it comes to facing challenges in the modern healthcare climate- humanity is as imperative as innovation. The medical model is, at present, weighed down by systems that answer to the bottom line. Systems that, though they aim to do the most amount of good for the largest number of people, aren’t always set up to slow down, answer questions, or be sensitive to personal and historical trauma.
When these systems fail us- they fail patient and provider in equal measure. The result: a cycle of learned apathy and helplessness, of faith lost and resurrected in an awesome and flawed system.
They also miss the fact that many do not enter the world of modern medicine from a level playing field. The complexity of the human experience can’t be reduced to data and informatics. When these systems fail us- they fail patient and provider in equal measure. The result: a cycle of learned apathy and helplessness, of faith lost and resurrected in an awesome and flawed system.
Nightingale is an attempt to disrupt that cycle. It stands to build bridges and ignite meaningful discussion between providers and patients while challenging us not to see the roles as mutually exclusive. In essence, we each assume both roles. We have all been a patient, and every day we make decisions that impact the health security of those around us. Nightingale’s hope is to forge a new understanding of healthcare by extending the discussion from clinic, hospital, and classroom to sidewalk, living room, and party; to foster discussion that empowers us to advocate for ourselves, our friends, and our communities more effectively.
The throughline in every piece is expanding our definition of health by connecting us to others’ experiences of it.
We aim to examine health through an intersectional, multidisciplinary lens, and are committed to sharing a diversity of perspectives—optimistic, irreverent, left, right, marginalized, privileged, young, and old. In this issue and those forthcoming you will find a mixture of expressions across a diversity of mediums. The throughline in every piece is expanding our definition of health by connecting us to others’ experiences of it. Some submissions have a direct connection to health, and others will ask you to tap into imagination and empathy.
Collectively the work will ask tough questions. Who decides what it means for someone to thrive? And delicate ones: How can we set a new precedent for talking about the things that scare us about the human condition: cancer, cognitive decline, communicable disease, mental illness, and end-of-life decision making? How has the healthcare system been complicit in societal oppression? How have we become desensitized to the anguish of others?
In our first months and beyond we ask for your open mindedness. Many of us tote around privilege which is impossible to bracket despite our efforts to understand one another. Many also carry trauma, something which has overwhelmed our ability to cope, and which doesn’t easily lend itself to communal discussion. We believe that you don’t have to understand what someone has been through to offer connection, to combat implicit bias, or to be an advocate.
Our team brings a wealth of professional passions. We are dedicated to creating a sustainable and inclusive platform for others to share their stories, work, and health experiences. We welcome all ideas and suggestions for how Nightingale can function to empower you and your community. Please reach out to us, and if you do not hear, reach out again because it means there was a glitch in the system. We are eager to hear from you.
No one is silent, but that doesn’t mean everyone is heard.
Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, was famous for saying how very little can be done in the spirit of fear. It is with this in mind we have built Nightingale to be a source of solace, solidarity, and inspiration; something which, at once, provokes meaningful exchange and incites a steady transformation in our respective communities around the country.
No one is silent, but that doesn’t mean everyone is heard. The common nightingale, our other namesake, is a passerine bird known for its song, thought to be one of the most beautiful sounds in nature. The birds are loudest at night, when they sing at the top of their voice to make themselves heard over long distances despite the cacophony of competing sounds.
If Nightingale was founded on one concept it is that the answers for how to help each other exist between us.
Here’s to the songs that arise,