Integrative Nurse Coaching and Florence Nightingale’s Legacy

Florence Nightingale (1820–1910), the philosophical founder of modern secular nursing (Dossey, Luck, Schaub, 2014; Dossey, 2010; Dossey, Beck, Selanders, & Attewell, 2005). Like Integrative Nurse Coaches, Nightingale was concerned with the most basic needs of human beings and all aspects of the environment (clean air, water, food, housing, etc.)—local to global. She also experienced and recorded her personal understanding of the connection with the Divine as awareness that something greater than her.  The Divine was a major connecting link woven into her work and life.

Nightingale was the first recognized nurse theorist, an educator, administrator, communicator, statistician, and an environmental activist. Nightingale was ahead of her time. Her dedicated and focused 50 years of work and service still informs and impacts our nursing work and our global mission of health and healing for humanity. Besides her numerous recognitions, she received the Order of Merit in 1902, the first woman to receive this honor. She wrote over 100 combined books and official Army reports; her 10,000 letters now make up the largest private collection of letters at the British Library with 4000 family letters at the Wellcome Trust in London.

Today we recognize Nightingale’s work as global nursing where she envisioned what a healthy world might be with her integrative and integral philosophy and expanded visionary capacities. Her work included aspects of the nurse coach process as well; her work has indeed had an impact on us and will extend far into the future.

Nightingale’s work was social action that demonstrated and clearly articulated the science & art of an integrative and integral worldview for nursing, health care, and humankind. In the 1880s Nightingale began to write that it would take 100–150 years before educated and experienced nurses would arrive to change the healthcare system. Integrative Nurse Coaches and all nurses are that generation of 21st-century Nightingales who have arrived to transform health care and carry forth her vision of social action and sacred activism to create a healthy world. Like Nightingales Integrative Nurse Coaches are “integrative health diplomats” and “integrative health coaches” that are “coaching for integrative health.”

Barbara Dossey will be presenting Integrative Practitioner Model for Transforming Healthcare: Florence Nightingale’s Legacy – Local to Global at the IH Symposium in NYC on Saturday, February 22, 2014.



Dossey, B.M., Luck, S. & Schaub, B.G. (2014). Nurse Coaching: Integrative Approaches for Health and Wellbeing. North Miami, FL: International Nurse Coach Association.

Dossey, B.M. (2010). Florence Nightingale: Mystic, Visionary, Healer. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis.

Dossey, B.M., Beck, D.M., Selanders, L.C., Attewell, A. (2005). Florence Nightingale Today: Healing, Leadership, Global Action. Silver Spring, MD:

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Barbara Dossey, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN, HWNC-BC, is an internationally recognized integrative, holistic nursing pioneer, a nurse theorist (Theory of Integral Nursing; co-author, Theory of Integrative Nurse Coaching), and Florence Nightingale Scholar. She is Co-Director, International Nurse Coach Association (INCA) and Core Faculty, Integrative Nurse Coach® Certificate Program (INCCP), Miami, Florida; International Co-Director, Nightingale Initiative for Global Health (NIGH); and Director of Holistic Nursing Consultants (HNC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has authored or co-authored 25 books including Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice (7th ed., 2016); Nurse Coaching: Integrative Approaches for Health and Wellbeing (2015); The Art and Science of Nurse Coaching: The Provider’s Guide for Coaching Scope and Competencies (2013); Florence Nightingale: Mystic, Visionary, Healer (2010, Commemorative Edition). She is a founding member of the American Holistic Nurses Association and Holistic Nurse of the Year. She is an 11-time recipient of the prestigious American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award, and has received many other awards. Barbara is also on the ANA’s Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation™ Grand Challenge Advisory Board.

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