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Nurses in History: Florence Nightengale Whether you are in nursing school to get an RN degree, or if you are just interested in some nursing education, you will be interested to learn a bit on the history of Florence Nightingale. One of the most famous nurses in history because of her contributions, she changed the face of medicine. Nurse Nightingale cared for her patients, but also saw fit to improve the sanitation of the hospitals she worked in. Learning about her life and legend will help you connect to the nurse inside of you.

Brief Moments in History Florence Nightingale emerged as a heroine during her care of soldiers during the Crimean War. Her service to the British army saved many lives, and the work she would do would save lives even after she was no longer serving as a nurse. She cared for her patients; being fondly called “The Lady with the Lamp” due to her many rounds during the night. She worked tirelessly to care and give to her patients. It was her reports to her homeland about the conditions in which soldiers were cared for. It was her insistence that proper hygiene was observed. Following the war, she saw fit to campaign for permission to investigate the health and sanitation of the British Army. Her work began in India, with the soldiers stationed there and local population. Here she would advocate for improvements to healthcare. She would assist with hunger relief campaigns in India, and even assisted in women’s rights. Nightingale was ambitious, in 1860 after many years of personal experience. She laid the foundation of professional nursing. Young ladies could then attend nursing school to gain professional experience at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. Being the first school of its kind, she trained young minds. Her mind was also keen, as it was her gift for math that first gathered attention. She was able to present her argument visually through data in charts and graphs. Nightingale presented her material in what is now called the Polar Area Diagram or Rose Diagram. It illustrated seasonal sources of mortality in patients, or magnitude of conditions, and even the nature of illnesses. At the end of her career, she was able to create a chart of the sanitation in Indian life – being the final push for medical care improvements in that area of the world.


Remembering Nightingale Every year, celebrated on her birthday is International Nurses Day. Countless statues, museums, and moments now stand in her name. An audio recording was saved for her children, now it is remembered as it aided in the Light brigade Relief Fund quoted in many nursing education programs: “When I am no longer even a memory, just a name, I hope my voice may perpetuate the great work of my life. God bless my dear old comrades of Balaclava and bring them safe to shore.� She continues to live as a legend through the teachings at school, theater, television, film, and numerous biographies. The Bank of England released banknotes with the image of Florence Nightingale, which were circulated until 1994. She lives in the memories of those she impacted and in the textbooks of many hopeful nurses trying to obtain an RN degree. Florence Nightingale was an inspiration to many because of her bold desire to achieve perfection.


Nurses in history florence nightengale