A very special thank you 

21/05/2018 00:00 
A letter written by Florence Nightingale almost 150 years ago has been gifted to UCLH.

Jo Sedley-Burke, who inherited the letter from her grandmother, presented it in memory of her late wife Paula and the outstanding care she received from our rheumatology department.

Singling out clinical nurse specialist Sam Moore, Jo said: “The treatment Paula had here was just amazing.  I particularly want to thank Sam Moore – you are a credit to your profession.

“Thank you UCLH and the rheumatology nursing team for everything you did for Paula.”

Speaking at a conference held to mark International Nurses’ Day, Jo told how her great-great-grandmother, Mary Alice Mills, trained under Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of modern nursing, at St Thomas’ hospital in London.

The 13-page letter to “My very dear friends”, the Lady with the Lamp talks about the importance of learning, education and professionalism and urges her readers to take pride in being nurses.

One passage in the 1881 letter reads: “My very best greetings and thanks to you all…to our beginners, good courage, to our dear old workers peace, fresh courage too, perseverance, for to persevere to the end is as difficult and needs a yet better energy than to begin new work.”

Jo said: “This letter is a piece of my history and your history and our history as a country.

“It is my gift to you.”

Our own Flo, Flo Panel-Coates, chief nurse at UCLH, said: “Many of the fundamentals of nursing pioneered by Florence Nightingale hold strong today, including infection control practices, the importance of relationships and the collection and analysis of data.

“We should build on her incredible contribution to nursing and work towards creating our own 21st century nursing leaders.”


Jo Sedley-Burke's great-grandmother and her sister; Florence Nightingale's letter, which will be put on display; Jo's great-great-grandmother, Mary Alice Mills


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