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.