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Author Candy Campbell performs Florence Nightingale show 

On Feb. 16 Dr. Candy Campbell performed at the Fine Arts Center at Viterbo University. Campbell’s performance was inspired and based on the writings of Florence Nightingale. The show began at 7:00 p.m. and was followed by a book signing session by Campbell.  


Nightingale played a significant role in shaping the nursing profession. During the Crimean war, which lasted from 1853 to1856, she attended to soldiers wounded in combat. Nightingale reduced mortality rates among the wounded through the improvement of hygiene and living standards.  


The first year of the war passed, and Nightingale came across reports of the poor conditions of the British war camps. In 1854 she, and a cohort of other nurses, volunteered their skills, leaving their homes in England. Sanitation and infection were two of the significant problems soldiers in the camps faced. Nightingale asserted that cleaning up the sewage and providing more space in hospital tents to avoid overcrowding would remedy these issues. Nightingale’s solutions created better conditions for recovering soldiers and medical staff in the camps. Nightingale would go onto train future nurses and author a book titled Notes on Nursing 


Today, Dr. Campbell is a keynote speaker and leading voice in the healthcare field; however, getting to this stage in her life came after choosing a different direction with her career. Most people will find themselves changing jobs throughout their professional careers, especially recent college graduates beginning their professional journeys.  


Campbell’s first adventure into higher education was through the pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in arts, specifically in theatre and acting. There she found herself working with improv, which extended beyond her college experience. However, her trajectory changed when she “got the call” to enter the healthcare field. For Campbell, changing jobs meant changing careers. 


While the two fields are far apart from one another, Campbell didn’t want to leave her love for improv and the arts behind. Campbell explains, “The ‘side-hustle’ as a commercial actor, doing voice-overs, commercials, and television spots, was a fun diversion from the often-difficult work as an intensive care nurse.” Eventually, Campbell would co-found an improv company named “The Barely Insane Players” based in the San Francisco area.  


Just as Nightingale identified areas of improvement in the medical field, so did Campbell. Studies were published that identified mistakes made by healthcare professionals while on the job, and even patient deaths, which stemmed from miscommunication. Campbell felt that certain aspects of improv were applicable to the medical field as a possible solution to the issues of miscommunication. Initially, Campbell had challenges being heard and admitted she “could not get a toe in the door of any healthcare organization to help solve the problem by sharing improv principles. The resistance was: ‘no evidence the method works in healthcare.’”  


Trailblazing isn’t possible if there isn’t uncharted territory, and like Nightingale did when she implemented new methods to lower mortality rates, Campbell achieved something similar in the modern day with improv. Campbell offers workshops on everything from developing leadership skills to employee retention-all interwoven with applied improv. 


Campbell’s driving question behind her solo show “An evening with Florence Nightingale” is, “What would Florence Nightingale say about the world today, and what advice would she give?” In a way, Campbell’s question can be answered through her own motto: “Educate, entertain, empower.” 



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About the Contributor
Carter Steger
Carter Steger, Editor
As an English-Education major, writing has always been enjoyable for me.
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