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Florence Nightingale

 

Florence was named after the place of her birth and is known as 'The lady with the Lamp'.

Photo of Florence NightingaleFlorence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy on 12 May 1820. Her father was a wealthy landowner. She was brought up in Derbyshire (where she spent her summers) and Hampshire ( where she spent her winters).

Rich English girls such as Florence were expected to do - almost nothing. Florence couldn't bear the boredom of it. Instead she became interested in hospitals and by 1853 was running a hospital in London.

Education

At the time when Florence was born, many girls did not receive any type of education. Florence was very lucky because her father, William Nightingale, believed that all women should receive an education. He taught Florence and her sister a variety of subjects ranging from science and mathematics to history and philosophy.

Teenage years

As Florence grew up she developed an interest in helping others. She cared for sick pets and servants whenever she had the chance.

At seventeen years of age, she believed she was called into service by God “to do something toward lifting the load of suffering from the helpless and miserable.”

At first her parents refused to allow her to become a nurse because, at that time, it was not thought to be a suitable profession for a well educated woman. But Florence did not give up. Eventually in 1851 her father gave his permission and Florence went to Germany to train as a nurse.

Working Life

1849 - traveled to Europe to study the European hospital system.
1850 - traveled to Alexandria, Egypt and began studying nursing at the Institute of Saint Vincent de Paul.
1851 - aged thirty-one, went to Germany to train to become a nurse.
1853 - became superintendent of the Hospital for Gentlewomen in London.
1854 - the Crimean War broke out.

Crimean War

mapIn 1854 Florence Nightingale was asked to go to Turkey to manage the nursing of British soldiers wounded in the Crimean War (1854 - 56). She traveled to Scutari (the location where the wounded and ill soldiers of the Crimean War were taken) to help the wounded soldiers.

She found the hospital conditions to be in a very poor state. Many of the wounded were unwashed and were sleeping in overcrowded, dirty rooms without blankets or decent food. In these conditions diseases such as typhus, cholera and dysentery spread quickly. As a result, the death rate amongst wounded soldiers was very high. Most soldiers died from infections and disease. (Only one in six died from their war wounds; the other five in six died from infections and disease.)

Florence and her nurses changed these conditions. They set up a kitchen, fed the wounded from their own supplies, dug latrines for sanitation, and asked for help from the wives of the wounded. They were then able to properly care for the ill and wounded and the death rate among the soldiers dropped.

Why was Florence Nightingale called 'The lady of the lamp' ?

Florence was very dedicated to her job. She would often visit the soldiers at night when every one was asleep just to make sure they were ok. She was then referred to as “The Lady of the Lamp” because she hardly took time off to sleep. Florence became a true hero to the soldiers and everyone back home in England.

Forence Nightingale changed nursing

Florence Nightingale was truly inspirational and changed the face of nursing from a mostly untrained profession to a highly skilled and well-respected medical profession with very important responsibilities.

Further information

BBC Florence Nightingale - An online story book about her life

Florence Nightingale (1820 - 1910 )

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale was the daughter of a well-to-do family in England. During the Crimean War, she was put in charge of nursing. She carried a lamp as she walked the halls of the battlefield hospital and became known as the "lady with the lamp".

 
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Mandy Barrow left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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