Biography of Florence Nightingale

Published: 2023-01-15
Biography of Florence Nightingale
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Nursing care Social change
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1159 words
10 min read

Florence Nightingale was born on May 12th, 1820. She has an intelligent and wealthy father who believed that a woman also deserved to be educated. Florence and her sisters received education in Latin, Greek, History, Mathematics, and Italian. Nightingale studied all of the basic subjects such as math, history, philosophy, music, and art. She discovered her passion for mathematics at a tender age and had a desire to help others achieve results. Florence was active in philanthropy and always ministered to the poor in the village that neighbored her family estate. She believed nursing to be her ultimate purpose. In the Victorian era, a woman like Nightingale was supposed to get married. Her parents were not pleased when she told them about her passion for nursing. Resolute to pursue her career, Nightingale registered as a nursing student in Lutheran Hospital, Germany, in 1844 (Smith 203). The reputation of nursing in the early nineteenth century was deplorable, with most nurses being untrained; getting paid low income that was far much lower than that of the factory workers. Most nurses were paid with gin and stayed in the wards and were always drunk. A few nurses were trusted by surgeons to attend to patients and administer medication. The sick lay in plank beds on chaff mattresses, which were three inches thick, and the mentally ill patients shared wards with the regular sane patients. Florence Nightingale was a well-educated nurse who was recruited alongside thirty-eight other nurses to work in a hospital called Scutari, at the time of the war in 1854. Her nursing approaches yielded significant results. She has a responsibility of making essential transformations in the hospital protocol by introducing a new perception of the potentials and capabilities of women. Nightingale created a model that was used as a standard that could be used by all future nurses. Many people knew Florence Nightingale as the lady of the lamp, an angel of mercy whose contributions in the field of medicine are still seen today.

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In Scutari hospital, Nightingale managed to make tremendous changes. The hospital had been on a reduced state before she arrived; covered with filth and highly overcrowded (Gill, Christopher and Gillian 1799). There were less medical equipment and a few beds to be used by patients. Nightingale ensured that upon arrival at Scutari, the hospital was wiped clean and all rubbish was stacked and removed in wheelbarrows. The hospital windows were opened to enable fresh air. She had facilities, kitchens, and plumbing set up alongside other recreational rooms that would assist with convalescence. During that time, death rates were high among soldiers in Scutari hospitals. She reduced the numbers from forty-two percent to two percent, through a continuous and persistent effort. Upon the end of the Crimean war, Florence had been appointed as the overall super-intendant of the Female Nursing Establishment of the army. Most soldiers were dying from sicknesses such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and typhus, instead of the normal wounds obtained in battle. In 1855, the Sanitary Commission had been channeled by the British government to check out the Scutari hospital on lack of proper ventilation and defective sewers (Gill, Christopher and Gillian 1780). Florence gathered evidence about the death of the army and concluded that poor hygiene was a major cause. He contributions made by Nightingale were very rebellious at that time when the nursing profession was considered a poor job, and because she was from a wealthy family. Training to be a nurse was a flawed plan because most people died from illnesses that could be cured. Florence is known to be the founder of modern medicine. The Nightingale Pledge, which is taken by all new nurses, is named in her honor, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated on her birthday.

Florence Nightingale believed that she would serve humankind through her medical profession. Regardless of her family's disapproval, she persevered and became a nurse supervisor within a few years into her nursing career. She provided evidence on the significant improvements that needed to be done in healthcare practices throughout the world and helped in shaping the modern epidemiology with her skills in meticulous record keeping (Bostridge 89). The process she followed in data collection and presentation was thorough, and indisputable, showing the real power of epidemiology and statistics. The care provided by Florence exceeded that was supposed to be given to patients, affecting patient care in the entire population. While most work done by Florence was for a broader demographic, she also got involved in direct patient care. She was one of the few people that were allowed to care for patients in the army, and would willingly take upon patients that other medics were avoiding. Through Nightingale, the nursing profession was changed from a lowly position to one that was able to improve lives. The women during the time of Nightingale lacked power, and yet, she changed that. The nurses were not allowed to treat the dying men in the beginning but only clean the hospital. Florence introduced a highly trained team of disciplined nurses who wore uniforms and attended to wounded soldiers (Bostridge 92). After the war, Florence was especially very famous and continued to work for the improvement of medical conditions. She wrote to powerful people inspiring them to promote good hygiene and health standards in hospitals. She founded a training college for nurses at St Thomas Hospital, London. Her scientific methods of dealing with hospital treatments assisted in improving standards and quality of care. Miss Nightingale died at her home in London on a Friday afternoon. She died on August 15th, 1910. It is believed that she died of heart failure.

Since the time of Florence Nightingale, the purpose of nursing remains unaffected in the 21st century. The services offered by Florence Nightingale were a comprehensive blend of art and science, and a promotion of healthcare to humanity. Nightingale is a pioneering figure in the history of nursing who made the field and admirable profession for women. Her contributions and dedication were a significant influence on the whole world. It was her demonstration of exceptional skills and advocacy that gave birth to the advanced developments in the profession. Nightingale outlined excellent managerial skills and scripted many books that related to nursing, featuring essentials in the nursing practice that are still used as guiding principles even today. The efforts of Florence Nightingale were dimensioned to the vastness of the event; the cleansing adjustment of the hospital, creation of laundries, and sick-diet kitchens, the organization of a regular system of nursing and staff for nurses and the supply of all kinds of necessities. Many of those who were incompetent had to be dismissed, a plan that was carried out under the constant pressure of a continuous race with death.

Works Cited

Bostridge, Mark. Florence Nightingale: the woman and her legend. Penguin UK, 2015.

Gill, Christopher J., and Gillian C. Gill. "Nightingale in Scutari: her legacy reexamined." Clinical infectious diseases 40.12 (2005): 1799-1805.

Smith, Cecil Woodham. Florence Nightingale, 1820-1910. Vol. 2. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1951.

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Biography of Florence Nightingale. (2023, Jan 15). Retrieved from

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