Florence Nightingale
Flo­rence Nightingale

Fact #1

Flo­rence Nightin­ga­le grew up in Vic­to­ri­an Eng­land as the second child of a wealt­hy fami­ly. Howe­ver, she was born in the Tuscan city of Flo­rence (Ita­ly), after which she was also named. When she first beca­me inte­res­ted in nur­sing, this met with strong disap­pro­val from her fami­ly. Nevertheless, young Flo­rence fought back and per­se­ve­r­ed: Nightin­ga­le assis­ted Theo­dor Flied­ner in Kai­sers­werth and ulti­mate­ly ope­ned her own nur­sing school in London.

Fact #2

In the year 1854, Gre­at Bri­tain ent­e­red the Cri­me­an War against Rus­sia. Reports of ina­de­qua­te medi­cal care for woun­ded sol­di­ers cau­sed Nightin­ga­le to lea­ve for Scu­ta­ri (now: Üskü­d­ar, Tur­key), whe­re the armed for­ces kept a mili­ta­ry hos­pi­tal. Through her work the­re, medi­cal ser­vices under­went a mar­ked impro­ve­ment and she herself beca­me some­what popu­lar with the gene­ral public. In fact, the Times repor­ted how she would make her rounds of the hos­pi­tal, lamp in hand. Later, the poet Hen­ry Wads­worth Long­fel­low would immor­ta­li­se Nightin­ga­le in his poem ‘San­ta Filo­me­na’ with the nick­na­me ‘Lady with the Lamp’, which is still used today.

Fact #3

On a trip through Euro­pe, Flo­rence Nightin­ga­le dis­co­ve­r­ed a young owl in Athens which had fal­len from its nest. She nur­sed the owl back to health and brought it ever­y­whe­re with her. Having been chris­tened Athena, the owl died during the Cri­me­an War. Nightin­ga­le had her stuf­fed and the owl can be seen today in the Flo­rence Nightin­ga­le Muse­um in London.

Fact #4

Flo­rence Nightin­ga­le recei­ved a good edu­ca­ti­on from her father and stu­di­ed sta­tis­tics in gre­at detail. Later, she would app­ly the­se skills and deve­lop new types of dia­grams. Nightin­ga­le was a pioneer of sta­tis­tics in the fiel­ds of medi­ci­ne and nur­sing. In 1859, she was the first woman to be admit­ted to the Roy­al Sta­tis­ti­cal Society.

Fact #5

In 1860, Nightin­ga­le estab­lis­hed a nur­sing school at St Tho­mas’ Hos­pi­tal in Lon­don, which still exists today (though in alte­red form). Here, an orga­ni­sa­tio­nal and edu­ca­tio­nal model was deve­lo­ped, which sub­se­quent­ly ser­ved as a model for many other nur­sing sites. Her book, Notes on Nur­sing: What It is and What It is Not, released the same year, inclu­ded a first theo­ry of nur­sing and also beca­me a best­sel­ler; 15,000 copies were sold in the first two mon­ths alone.