Florence Nightingale

November 25, 2012 3:29 am

Florence Nightingale revolutionized the job of nursing. She cared for sick and wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War (1853-1856), and she saved many lives. Her success in improving nursing care brought her great fame.
Florence Nightingale was born in 1820 to a wealthy English family. She decided in her teens to become a nurse, even though her parents disapproved. At that time, most nurses were from poor families and had little or no training.
But Nightingale was determined to have her way. In 1850 and 1851, she received training at hospitals in Egypt and Germany.
In 1853, Nightingale took charge of a hospital in London, England. Here she showed skills as a nurse and an organizer. She had bells put beside patients’ beds. When patients needed a nurse, they rang their bell. Nobody had thought of this idea before.
In 1853, Britain, France, and Turkey went to war against Russia. The fighting took place in a part of Russia called the Crimean Peninsula. A newspaper story described how sick and wounded British soldiers were neglected. The British government soon acted. It sent Nightingale and 38 nurses to a military hospital in Turkey. Conditions at the hospital were filthy, and there were few medical supplies.
Nightingale organized the hospital. She got bandages and medicines, had drains cleaned, and improved the water supply. Patients were given clean sheets and healthy food. Nightingale became the soldiers’ friend. They called her “the Lady with the Lamp,” after the lantern she carried at night.
The Crimean War ended in 1856, and Nightingale returned to Britain. She was a national hero, but she disliked all the attention. She saw that many problems remained in health care.
Nightingale devoted the rest of her long life to improving public health and educating people about the importance of good hygiene. Britain’s hospitals accepted her ideas, and they became cleaner, healthier places.
In 1860, Nightingale set up a training school for nurses in London. The “Nightingale nurses,” as its graduates were called, helped spread Nightingale’s ideas around the world. Nightingale died in 1910 at the age of 90.
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