Florence Nightingale was known for many roles throughout her life time, some which have even changed the world. This is a short history of how Florence helped build the foundation of a modern day professional Nursing.
Florence Nightingale~ (1820-1910)
During Florence’s early years, she became interested in how living environments and personal cleanliness impacted a persons health. This wasn’t a very popular interest at the time. In the late 1840s, Florence graduated from a nursing academy and began volunteering at a local health facilities where she continued to adapt her practices with each scientific advancement in disease prevention. Meanwhile, British hospitals were struggling with an ongoing outbreak of cholera in their facilities. Florence encouraged the British facilities to start improving hygiene practices by removing waste from living quarters and away from their consumable resources.
In 1853, the Crimean War broke out with the British and French fighting against the Russian Empire. At this time, the female nurses were not stationed at base hospitals but instead manned by a short supply of poorly trained male aids. By 1854, England was in trouble with regards to the loss of many ill and wound soldiers due to neglect and poor medical practices.
It was at this time Florence received a letter from the British Secretary of War asking her to organize a group of well trained nurses to provide effective care to the Soldiers who had been wounded and/or fallen ill at the British base hospital. She was elected head Nurse to run the British base hospital in Turkey. Florence spent endless days and nights providing care to the Soldier, Her knowledge and positive views on sanitization helped them established a clean and somewhat sterile work field. This prevented further spread of infection and disease which too decreased the death toll of the British dramatically.
The Lady with the Lamp portrait
Florence became famous to the Soldier during the Crimean War, by her endless care and concern for their well being. She would be seen carrying a lamp in the late hours of the day and night, walking up and down the aisles of stretchers. Florence would create conversation with those who could not sleep but also give comfort to those who wouldn’t be making it through the night. Many stories were passed along for years after the war of how Nurse Nightingale got them through the struggles of war and help them to return home to their families.
Post-war, Florence continued with her amazing work by advocating for the improvement of public health standards. She had been known to say; “pure air, pure water, efficient drainage, cleanliness, and light. A healthy environment is essential for healing”. Florence was thought to have formalized nursing education when she established the first scientifically based nursing school. The ‘Nightingale School of Nursing’ open on 1860 in London, England.”
Today, Florence Nightingale does not only represent Nurses, but health care aids who maintain patient safety as well as the hard working individuals who provide house keeping and sterility to our facilities.
During this time of uncertainty, Nurses are facing something they never thought would happen in their lifetime never mind their career. They continue to sacrifice their mind body and soul to provide care to those who put trust in their hands. Nurses will continue to follow the governments best practice protocols that are provided until this fight is under control, eliminated and then prevented. There will be an end to this, there will be relief.