A bit of history. . . Two nurses, a student and graduate R.N., became concerned when the hospital where they were working contemplated doing abortions. With a strong commitment to promoting ethical medical and nursing practices and championing conscience rights, they called the first recorded meeting in Mission Viejo, California on October 24, 1984 under the name of Southern California Pro-Life Nurses Association.

Nurses from other parts of California also needed support so the organization grew in numbers and in scope, and evolved into: California Nurses for Ethical Standards. Florence Nightingale had a vision . . . Florence Nightingale was a strong, independent woman born of a wealthy family during a time in the 1800s known as the ‘Dark Ages of Nursing’. She was drawn to nursing the poor and sick despite vehement family opposition to this unheard – of – behavior from a woman in her social position. Miss Nightingale, with her brilliant mind and genius for organization, became the world authority on the scientific care of the sick. She brought about much needed reforms to the nursing profession which gave it respectability.

She instituted formal training schools for nurses and insisted they must not only teach the mind but also form character. Moral training permeated all phases of her program which included the novel idea of disease prevention in addition to care of the sick. Florence was fondly dubbed the ‘Lady with the Lamp’ by wounded Crimean War soldiers as she walked the halls of their hospital wards at night, lamp in hand. The high standards and strict discipline she demanded along with true care and compassion made nursing more than an occupation – nursing became a true profession. Thus her lamp became the symbol of the nursing profession. We seek to uphold the Nightingale vision . . . California Nurses for Ethical Standards seeks to maintain and restore the Nightingale vision of ethics and moral integrity as the foundation of health care, disease prevention, and health education.

We believe, as Florence Nightingale did, that health care must be for ‘the good of the patient.’ We pledge not to assist in the taking of a human life in the course of our professional duties, nor to advocate any philosophy that would accomplish that end.