Florence Nightingale – Lady with the Lamp
Florence Nightingale was a pioneer in the field of nursing. She was the founder of modern nursing and made outstanding contributions to knowledge of public health. She also made nursing a respectable career for women.
Florence was born on May 12, 1820 in Florence, Italy and was named after the city. Her family was rich. She studied several languages, history, and mathematics with her father at home.
When she became a young woman, her parents wanted her to get married. But Florence did not want to get married. She wanted to be a nurse. In 1844 Nightingale decided to work in hospitals. She supervised a hospital for women in London.
The Crimean War began in 1854. Many British soldiers were in a hospital in Turkey and any help was needed. Florence and 38 nurses volunteered to go to Turkey. When she got there, many soldiers in the hospital were dying. There was not enough food or clothing for the sick. Nightingale and her nurses started to clean and put the hospital in order. She worked 20 hours a day. Every night she walked around the hospital with her lamp. The soldiers called her the “Lady with the Lamp” and the “Nightingale in the East.”
Her story was in the newspapers in England. Even Queen Victoria, the queen of England, wanted to meet her.
Two years later Nightingale went back to England. In 1860, she founded the Nightingale School for the training of nurses at St. Thomas’s Hospital in London. It was the first school in the world that trained women to be professional nurses.
Nightingale never married. But she did not live alone as she had 60 cats.
Florence Nightingale died on August 13, 1910 at the age of 90.
She received numerous awards for her work in the field of health care. Clara Barton and others followed her example by volunteering as nurses.