Florence Nightingale the founder of modern nursing. Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale

, 1820-1910, an English nurse is remembered for her work during the Crimean War, as well as the founder of modern nursing. She predated the wellness movement. Nightingale is, also, known for her ideas on building hygiene, holistic nursing, and natural healing.
Florence Nightingale

She was born in Florence, Italy to a very wealthy family. The Nightingale family returned to England in 1821. Religion played an important part in Nightingale's life. In 1837, she reportedly received a divine calling from God. Inspired, she soon developed an interest in both nursing, a career then with a bad reputation, and in helping the poor. Despite initial opposition from her parents, she eventually trained to be a nurse.

Florence Nightingale the Nurse

In 1854 the Crimean War started. She soon led a group of several dozen nurses to serve in British military hospitals in Constantinople. The following year, Nightingale came down with Crimean Fever. Florence Nightingale was called The Lady With the Lamp for her compassionate nursing of British soldiers, even during the night. "Nightingale transformed the poorly ventilated, vermin-infested Barrack Hospital in Scutari[, Turkey] into a clean, well-managed facility, and within six months the death rate fell from 40 to 2 percent."[3]

Her outspoken Notes on Matters Affecting the Health, Efficiency and Hospital Administration of the British Army, and Notes on Hospitals helped create significant hygienic reform that resulted in overall better treatment of patients. But, in 1859, Nightingale published her most famous book: Notes on Nursing. She founded the Nightingale Training School for nurses in 1860. Due to the founding of her nursing school Nightingale had managed to transform nursing from its disreputable past into a respectable profession for women. A tireless campaigner for hospital reform Nightingale used statistical analysis to prove that most soldiers had died during the Crimean War from poor living conditions. As a result, Nightingale was also known for being an excellent statistician.

Nursing Past & Present

Florence Nightingale lived a long life of 90 years, but much of it at the end was bed ridden.

Who was Florence Nightengale?

"Florence Nightingale recognized the importance of caring for the whole person and encouraged interventions that enhanced individuals' abilities to draw upon their own healing powers. She considered touch, light, aromatics, empathetic listening, music, quiet reflection, and similar healing measures as essential ingredients to good nursing care."[2]

Books Written by Florence Nightingale

  • 1858 Notes on Matters Affecting the Health, Efficiency, and Hospital Administration of the British Army
  • 1859 Notes on Nursing
  • 1859 A Contribution to the the Sanitary History of the British Army During the Late War with Russia
  • 1859 Notes on Hospitals
  • 1873 Life or Death in India (paper)
  • 1876 On Trained Nurses for the Sick Poor
  • 1894 Rural Hygiene (pamphlet)

Organizations that are carrying on the work started by Florence Nightengale

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Florence Nightingale Comments:


  1. Hugh Small, Florence Nightingale, Avenging Angel, London, Constable, 1998.
  2. American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA), Position Statements, 2004.
  3. Nursing, University of Toledo Libraries

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