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Florence Nightingale, a nurse, spent her night rounds giving personal care to the wounded, establishing her image as the 'Lady with the Lamp.'
Crimean War nurse Florence Nightingale spent her night rounds giving personal care to the wounded, establishing herself as "The Lady with the Lamp." She established a nursing school and her writings sparked worldwide healthcare reform.
During the Crimean War Florence Nightingale organized a corps of nurses to care for soldiers, thus beginning her foray into the world of medical care and treatment.
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Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy, on May 12, 1820. During the Crimean War, she and a team of nurses improved the unsanitary conditions at a British base hospital, reducing the death count by two-thirds. Her writings sparked worldwide health care reform. In 1860 she established St. Thomas' Hospital and the Nightingale Training School for Nurses. She died August 13, 1910, in London.
"All churches are, of course, only more or less unsuccessful attempts to represent the unseen to the mind."
"What the horrors of war are, no one can imagine."
"I use the word nursing for want of a better."
"Such education in women would indeed diminish the doctor's work—but no one really believes that doctors wish that there should be more illness, in order to have more work."
"It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a hospital that it should do the sick no harm."
"Hospitals are only an intermediate stage of civilization, never intended at all even to take in the whole sick population."
"I think one's feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions, and into actions which bring results."
"I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse."
"Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better."
"Nursing in an art; and if it is to be made an art, it requires as exclusive a devotion, as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work."
Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820, in Florence, Italy. She was the younger of two children. Nightingale's affluent British family belonged to elite social circles. Her mother, Frances Nightingale, hailed from a family of merchants and took pride in socializing with people of prominent social standing. Despite her mother's interest in social climbing, Florence herself was reportedly awkward in social situations. She preferred to avoid being the center of attention whenever possible. Strong-willed, Florence often butted heads with her mother, whom she viewed as overly controlling. Still, like many daughters, she was eager to please her mother. "I think I am got something more good-natured and complying," Florence wrote in her own defense, concerning the mother-daughter relationship.
Florence's father was William Shore Nightingale, a wealthy landowner who had inherited two estates—one at Lea Hurst, Derbyshire, and the other in Hampshire, Embley Park—when Florence was 5 years old. Florence was raised on the family estate at Lea Hurst, where her father provided her with a classical education, including studies in German, French and Italian.
From a very young age, Florence Nightingale was active in philanthropy, ministering to the ill and poor people in the village neighboring her family’s estate. By the time she was 16 years old, it was clear to her that nursing was her calling. She believed it to be her divine purpose.
When Nightingale approached her parents and told them about her ambitions to become a nurse, they were not pleased. In fact, her parents forbade her to pursue nursing. During the Victorian Era, a young lady of Nightingale's social stature was expected to marry a man of means—not take up a job that was viewed as lowly menial labor by the upper social classes. When Nightingale was 17 years old, she refused a marriage proposal from a "suitable" gentleman, Richard Monckton Milnes.
Nightingale explained her reason for turning him down, saying that while he stimulated her intellectually and romantically, her "moral…active nature…requires satisfaction, and that would not find it in this life." Determined to pursue her true calling despite her parents' objections, in 1844, Nightingale enrolled as a nursing student at the Lutheran Hospital of Pastor Fliedner in Kaiserwerth, Germany.
In the early 1850s, Nightingale returned to London, where she took a nursing job in a Middlesex hospital for ailing governesses. Her performance there so impressed her employer that Nightingale was promoted to superintendant within just a year of being hired.
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