12 Facts About Florence Nightingale

12 Facts About Florence Nightingale


May 12, 2015

Back in the Victorian Era, the profession of nursing was often looked down upon by upper social classes, and was considered lowly menial labor work.

Florence Nightingale changed that perception and set the tone for all hardworking nurses today. She turned around horrid and dangerous hospital conditions, while ensuring no patient was left untreated. It's no wonder that National Nurses Week leads up to the trailblazing nurse's birthday. Check out some fun facts about her and lean more about what she's done for healthcare: 

  1. Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy, on May 12, 1820.
  2. She was inspired to go into nursing after getting involved with philanthropy at a young age. She would help take care of the ill and poor people in a neighboring village. 
  3. Coming from a high social class in the Victorian Era, she defied expectations by pursuing her passion for nursing instead of accepting a marriage proposal from an appropriate suitor. 
  4. During the Crimean War, Secretary of War Sidney Herbert requested that Nightingale form a crew of nurses to help fallen soldiers. She was able to gather 34 nurses. 
  5. Upon first arrival, the nurses were challenged with a hospital filled with rodents, contaminated water, and an inability to properly care for wounded soldiers. Necessary supplies were scarce. Nightingale sought out to make sure the hospital would literally be scrubbed from top to bottom in order to improve conditions. 
  6. Aside from improving the hospital's sanitation, Nightingale instituted the installment of a kitchen, laundry system, classroom, and library. 
  7. She would care for the soldiers around the clock, and carried a lamp around her during night shifts. Inspired by her handwork and compassion, she was referred to as 'the Lady with the Lamp' and 'the Angel of Crimea.'
  8. The hospital's death rate decreased by two-thirds thanks to Nightingale's work. 
  9. She wrote "Notes on Matters Affecting the Health, Efficiency and Hospital Administration of the British Army," an 830-page report analyzing her experience with the Crimean War. The piece proposed reforms for other military hospitals operating under poor conditions.
  10. Her writing would spark a reconstruction War Office's administrative department along with the establishment of a Royal Commission for the Health of the Army.
  11. The Queen rewarded Nightingale's work by presenting her with an engraved brooch that later became known as the "Nightingale Jewel." She also received $250,000 from the British government.
  12. In 1860, she used her prize money to further support her passions by funding and establishing the St. Thomas' Hospital and the Nightingale Training School for Nurses. 

NEXT: Learn About Clara Barton, Founder of The American Red Cross »

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