Peoples and Nations

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale

Famous for her work in military hospitals and contribution to nursing
Born - 12th May 1820, Florence, Italy
Parents - William Edward Nightingale, Frances Smith
Siblings - Parthenope
Married - No
Children - No
Died - 13th August 1910

Florence Nightingale was born on 12th May 1820. Her parents were touring Europe and named her after the city she was born in. The family returned to England and in 1837 Florence heard the voice of God calling her to do work.

During the early 1840s Florence developed an interest in nursing but her parents felt it was not a job for a young woman of her standing and refused to allow her to train as a nurse. Not to be put off, Florence began to teach herself about hospitals and in 1851 her parents gave in and allowed her to train as a sick nurse at Kaiserswerth hospital in Germany. After completing her training, Florence returned to England and gained a position as Superintendent of the Hospital for Invalid Gentlewomen.

In 1854 the Crimean war broke out. War correspondents reported on all details of the war including the terrible medical facilities. Florence Nightingale was asked to put together a team of nurses to go out to the Crimea to nurse British soldiers. She arrived at the military hospital in Scutari towards the end of 1845. She immediately began cleaning the wards and improving conditions for the patients. As a result of her efforts the death rate fell significantly.

She returned to England at the end of the war in 1856 and established the Nightingale training school for nurses. Her ideas and beliefs for nursing were recorded in her 'Notes for Nursing' which was published in 1860.

In 1883 she was presented with the Royal Red Cross by Queen Victoria and in 1907 she became the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit.

Florence Nightingale died on 13th August 1910 at the age of 90 years.