Widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of pediatric nursing and in the development of advanced nursing education programs, Florence Guinness Blake was born on November 30, 1907 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. In 1928, she graduated from the Michael Reese Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago, Illinois. The nursing faculty quickly discovered her talent for teaching and she began teaching classes at the nursing school as well as working as a supervisor at the Sarah Morris Children’s Hospital. In 1932, she enrolled at Teacher’s College at Columbia University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1936. After graduation, she received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to teach pediatric nursing at the Nursing School of Peking Union Medical College in China. After returning to the United States, she pursued graduate studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and later at the Merrill Palmer School in Detroit. She completed her Master’s degree in 1941 and taught at the University of Michigan and Yale University.
In 1946, she was invited to the University of Chicago to establish an advanced pediatric nursing program and she worked there until 1959 when the nursing school was closed. While at the University of Chicago, she helped write and edit several editions of the then popular nursing school textbook “Essentials of Pediatrics.” In 1954, J.B. Lippincot published her book “The Child, His Parents and the Nurse.” In an April 1954 book review published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, Morris Green effusively praised the book and predicted that it would “make a real contribution to nursing education and child care in this country.”
In 1963, she accepted an appointment as a professor of nursing and the director of pediatric nursing graduate program at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She retired in 1970 and lived in Madison until her death on September 12, 1983. She was inducted into the American Nurses Association Hall of Fame in 1996.