Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale's Signature

Many people have heard of Florence Nightingale and the work that she did not just during the Crimean War but throughout nursing history itself. Nightingale was born in 1820 on the 12th of may, into a British family where religion was of great importance and nursing was considered a job for lower classes. In 1844 Nightingale made the decision to enter the nursing profession, claiming God gave her a ‘calling’ a few years previous, telling her that nursing is what she needed to do. However despite making this decision, it was decidedly alone as both her mother and sister fought against it.

During the Crimean War Florence Nightingale contributed her skills and determination was said to of reduced the death rates of soldiers from 42% to 2%, however in order to reach these statistics she had to make many changes. Nightingale trained 38 volunteer nursing staff, one of whom was her own aunt, in the art of nursing.

She and her nurses found wounded soldiers being badly cared for by overworked medical staff. Medicines were in short supply, hygiene was being neglected, and mass infections were spreading rapidly. But the main concern for Nightingale was the lack of food, how are these soldiers suppose to recover with little or no energy at all?

Being a statistician herself, Nightingale was shocked by the statistics that showed ten times more soldiers died from illnesses such as typhus, typhoid, cholera and dysentery  than from their battle wounds themselves.

It came about that 6 months after Nightingale had arrived the situation of poor ventilation and defective sewers were rectified and as such she claimed no credit for the earlier reductions in death rates, which she originally thought were due to poor nutrition and lack of medical supplies rather than the lack of hygiene.

Since the Crimean War, her understanding of hygiene and its importance is what helped to drive her developing career. She founded the first nursing school which is now named “The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery” ( the school I study at), her efforts and training in all aspects of nursing with specific attention paid to hygiene is what has helped to shape the nursing role even today.

With regards to other aspects of her life, she had several relations but refused a marriage proposal, she died aged 90 on the 13th of August 1910, unmarried and without children. Her relatives declined a burial at Westminster Abbey, and is laid to rest in Hampshire.

The famous phrase “The Lady with the Lamp” was actually a nickname given to her during her efforts in the Crimean War by an article in The Times Newspaper. It was said to derive from when she would take a single oil lantern on her night rounds.

This is a brief over-view of Nightingales life and achievements, however the main aspects I wanted to share have been covered.

She also made notes during her career which were published in book form titled “Notes on Nursing”


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