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Escola Anna Nery

Print version ISSN 1414-8145

Esc. Anna Nery vol.15 no.1 Rio de Janeiro Jan./Mar. 2011 



The Florence Nightingale International Foundation (FNIF)



Maria Angélica de Almeida Peres

Doutora em Enfermagem. Professora Adjunta da Escola de Enfermagem Anna Nery (EEAN)/UFRJ. Membro da Diretoria Colegiada do Núcleo de Pesquisa de História da Enfermagem Brasileira (Nuphebras). Rio de Janeiro-RJ, Brasil. Email:



The article titled "The Florence Nightingale International Foundation (FNIF)", published in The Annals of Nursing in 1954, was written by Marina Vergueiro Forjaz, a registered nurse from the nursing school of the Sao Paulo Hospital. The author based her work on the inquiries from the Brazilian nurses about the FNIF upon returning from the X International Congress of Nursing.

The text starts by explaining that the FNIF originated at a meeting of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) held in Germany two years after the death of Florence Nightingale. There, the nurses expressed their desire to preserve the memory of their predecessor through the creation of a professorship titled "Florence Nightingale" at the University of London and of a museum. Two years later, the establishment of an international foundation was suggested "in order to organize and hold courses for graduate nurses from all countries in the world."

This project was interrupted when the ICN became inactive due to World War I and was resumed after the war by the League of Red Cross Societies that decided to establish and fund public health courses for an international group of nurses. However, financial difficulties of the League made the suspension of these courses seem likely. This was prevented by an agreement proposed by the ICN to the League which resulted in the creation of the FNIF on July 5, 1934. The difficulty of raising funds owing to the post-war financial crisis led the FNIF to receive funding from the Rockefeller Foundation for the development of a study of the situation in order to "enable better postgraduate education for nurses in London", headquarters of the FNIF.

This study was never carried out because of World War II, and the work of the FNIF was only continued in 1944 when scholarships were offered to nurses from various countries for improvement courses in the United States, Canada and New Zealand. In 1948, a new study suggested the association of the FNIF and the ICN, which was achieved in 1949. The FNIF became responsible for the Education Division of the ICN.

When referring to the organization of the FNIF, the text explains that, upon joining the ICN, it continued being an autonomous entity maintaining its own heritage and activities.

However, the highest authority of the FNFI was the Council of Presidents of the ICN. It functioned as the Council of Delegates to the FNIF. Later, the constitution of the Advisory Board of the FNIF was presented along with their economic situation and their purpose. The author highlights the expansion of the objectives of the FNIF since its foundation and believes that comments about the program of the FNIF at that time could become the material for another article.

The author ends the text by transmitting her impression that the FNIF "was erecting the monument to Florence Nightingale that Miss Nutting, professor of nursing education at the Teacher´s College, had in mind from the very beginning when the creation of a foundation in memory of Florence Nightingale was considered."

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