Florence Nightingale is the founder
of modern nursing. She transformed nursing into a respectable
profession and set the standards for clean, safe hospitals
in the world. Florence is honored as the first great
nurse of the world. Her picture hangs on the wall in
was born on May 12, 1820, in Florence, Italy. She was
named Florence after her city of birth. Florence's sister
was born in Naples and is named Parthenope. Parthenope
is the Greek name for Naples.
When Florence was 24 years old,
she had a "calling" from God. She wrote in her journal,
"God spoke to me and called me to His service." Florence
decided her calling was to help the sick and the poor
by becoming a nurse.
Florence came from a wealthy
family and was not expected to work. It was especially
unacceptable for Florence to work as a nurse because
nursing was not a respectable profession at this time.
This, however, did not stop Florence from following
Florence went to the Institute
of Deaconesses in Kaiserswerth, Germany, to learn about
nursing. At this time, nurses learned through experience,
not through training. Florence treated sick people,
distributed medicine, and assisted during operations.
She was very happy and said, "We learned to think of
our work, not ourselves."
In 1854, England entered the Crimean
War. Florence and a team of 38 nurses went to the Crimea
(near Turkey) to help the wounded soldiers. The military
hospitals were dirty and run down. Florence made sanitary
improvements which helped bring the death rate down
from 40% to 2%.
Florence was kind and gentle
with the soldiers. She would talk with them and comfort
them as she made her rounds. This gave the soldiers
hope. When Florence made her rounds at night, she carried
a lamp with her to light her way and became known as
"The Lady with the Lamp."
Florence's work in the Crimean
War inspired Jean Henri Dunant. In 1864, Dunant founded
the International Red Cross. It began as an international
society of volunteers who cared for sick and wounded
soldiers and prisoners of war. Today, the Red Cross
also provides disaster relief during peacetime.
During Florence's time, the hospitals
were overcrowded, poorly run, and disease infested.
They were doing more harm than good. Florence thought
hospitals should help patients, not hurt them. This
was a revolutionary idea at the time.
Florence wrote Notes on Hospitals
explaining how to make improvements to hospitals. She
believed hospitals needed better ventilation, more windows,
improved drainage, and less cramped conditions. With
Florence's guidance, hospitals became clean and sanitary
places where lives were saved, not lost.
Florence also became an expert
on designing hospitals. Foreign rulers sought her advice
when building their hospitals. Soon, hospitals throughout
the world were being built according to her ideas.
Today, we still see how Florence
has improved hospitals. The flowers, recreation rooms,
and bright wards are an influence of Florence's work.
Training School for Nurses
Florence thought nurses should
learn through both experience and training. In 1860,
Florence opened the first training school for nurses.
It was called the Nightingale Training School, and the
nurses were called Nightingale Nurses. Today, the Nightingale
Nurses carry on Florence's work of caring for the sick
and the poor.
becomes a Respectable Profession
Florence created high standards
for the nursing profession. These standards helped transform
nursing into the respectable profession we know today.
Florence's writings continue to provide excellent resources
for nurses and health care providers. Her book, Notes
on Nursing, spells out the principles of nursing.
Florence Nightingale died on August
13, 1910, in London, England. She was 90 years old.
She is buried at St. Margaret's, East Wellow, near her
family home at Embley. Her inscription states, "F.N.
Born 1820. Died 1910." She did not want any other memorial.
Many nurses came to pay tribute to Florence at her funeral.
Florence has been commemorated
on stamps, medals, and the British £10. The Florence
Nightingale Pledge for nurses is still recited today.
In England, there are two wreath laying ceremonies to
commemorate Florence's birthday.
There are several monuments,
plaques, and museums around the world in Florence's
honor. In England, there are monuments in London and
St. Margaret's Church, where she is buried. In Italy,
there are plaques commemorating Florence's birthplace.
In Turkey, there is a museum established in part of
the Barracks Hospital used by Florence during the Crimean
Florence revolutionized the nursing
profession and is a hero in our hearts.