It’s fast approaching May 12th – International Nurses Day and of course Florence Nightingales birthday! I’m not going to talk about her lamp. She was so much more than just ‘the lady with the lamp’.
Florence was an amazing lady. She is obviously well known as the founder of modern nursing but if you dig a bit deeper into her life you find out some fascinating things.
- She came from an affluent background and felt a call to nursing.
- This was frowned upon by her parents. A woman of her class was expected to marry into wealth and not nurse, which was considered unskilled labour.
- She was humble.
- She belonged to elite social circles which came in useful when influencing policies and getting nursing on the map.
- Her work in the Crimea was pioneering. She made changes to the conditions soldiers were nursed in: clean linen, better diet, clean equipment and introduced the idea of rehabilitation by creating libraries and entertainment for soldiers.
- She was able to prove this benefited injured soldiers by researching and using her skills as a statistician.
- She presented her data in pie charts and is claimed to be the inventor of infographics such as pie charts!
- She became the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society in 1858. Woo!
- In October 1856 she met with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
- In 1859 she published ‘Notes on Hospitals’. This is available here if you fancy a little read. The quote ‘do the sick no harm’ comes from this book.
- St Thomas school of nursing was set up by Florence in 1860.
- From the age of 38 she was housebound and frequently bed bound due to ill health. This did not deter Florence from her work. She continued to write, research and be consulted on nursing issues.
Florence Nightingale made nursing an admirable profession, pioneered research and modern nursing. She was awesome and such an inspiring lady. I’m sure there is lots more to learn about her.
I shall be taking a trip to The Florence Nightingale Museum after the commemoration service on the 15th May in Westminster to take a closer look at her fascinating legacy.