Florence Nightingale born on 12th May 1820 in Italy was the founder of modern nursing. She became prominent when she assisted as a supervisor of nurses in the course of the Crimean war. She trained the nurses herself and gave nursing a high reputation. She became an icon and an ideal personality for nurses. In 1860 she put the groundwork of her foremost nursing school at St. Thomas Hospital in London. Her nursing institute was the first Profane nursing institute in the world and it is now a part of Kings College in London (Egenes, 2017). In her honor “the Nightingale pledge” which is practiced by new nurses and the “Florence Nightingale Medal” which is the utmost global distinction a nurse can achieve are recognition of her hard work. International Nurses Day is celebrated on her birthday.
She was not only a dedicated nurse but worked extensively for making improvements in all sectors of healthcare systems of British. She also toiled and advocated for hunger relief in India. She worked hard for female participation in the workforce and for ending prostitution laws that were very severe to women (Selanders & Crane, 2012). She was a writer and a mathematician, she is the pioneer of the graphical representation of statistic data. She used this method to plot graphs about patient’s disease and deaths. This was a unique method originated by her. Her writing skills helped her in worldwide health care reforms. Summarizing the personality of Florence Nightingale it can be said that she was a person who worked not only for the injured soldiers but also for the whole mankind, especially for women. She was an ideal personality for many women at that time. Her passion towards mankind made her a hero during the Crimean war.
The Crimean war was fought between Russia, Britain, France and Ottoman Empire from October 1853 to February 1856. The war was clashed largely on the Crimean peninsula. The Crimean war was poorly managed and controlled. In this war, thousands of soldiers died. Apart from war casualties outbreak of diseases such as cholera, typhus and typhoid increased the number of deaths dramatically. The wounded and sick soldiers fighting in the Crimean peninsula were transported through the black sea to the health stations in Turkey. Because of these war conditions a British nurse Mary Seacole after many failed attempts managed to establish a place in Balaklava where she treated the wounded and sick of the battlefield. This was the time when Florence Nightingale under the appreciation of Sidney Herbert, the secretary of war came with a crew of 38 nurses to look after the sick and the wounded soldiers of Crimean war. The sanitary conditions of the military hospital were abject and horrifying. There was a shortage of medicines and other essentials. The walls and floors were dirty, drains were blocked. Mice were living under the beds. There were no bath towel or cleanser. The wounds of the soldiers were exposed to dirt and flies. There was no proper disposal system of waste materials. The diet given to the wounded and sick was unhealthy and insufficient. Nightingale held that the key hitches were dirt, food, and drains (Fee & Garofalo, 2010). With her toil and introduction of new measures, the death rates were dramatically reduced.
History of Crimean war is incomplete without the mention of Florence Nightingale who looked after the sick and wounded soldiers with full dedication. She was hailed as a legend because of her work. She left a huge impact during the Crimean war because this was the moment when she proved herself as a philanthropist. She showed herself to be momentously resourceful and her proficiency and bounteousness were reported back in Great Britain. She was given the title “the lady with the lamp” as she used to roam about in the hospital with a lamp in her hand looking after the sick. She made improvements in the field hospital and contribute towards the revolution of the treatment system of the wounded soldiers. Later she made developments in the battlefield medicine. It can be concluded that without the efforts of Florence Nightingale the world would be a different place, the work of Florence Nightingale during the war gave her reputation, she used to keep careful records of the number of deaths and causes of deaths, so that she could validate the need for refining conditions in hospitals (McDonald, 2010). She was appreciated by the British crown and the queen rewarded her work by presenting her with a prize of $250,000 which she used to further her cause. Her fight for better living environments for the army resulted in the formation of the royal commission on the health of the army. Florence Nightingale was admired by all and she became a public figure. Because of her fame, many women from middle and upper class started enrolling in the training schools for nursing. She raised the status of nursing and because of the occupation was discouraged by people from the upper class. She improved the educational standard for nurses and improved health care standards overall. She also gave the world a message of gender equality as she fought with the army personals who she considered incompetent. Because of these reasons she was provided a platform through which she made significant changes in the history of medicine.
Egenes, K. J. (2017). History of nursing. Issues and Trends in Nursing: Essential Knowledge for Today and Tomorrow, 1–26.
Fee, E., & Garofalo, M. E. (2010). Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War. American Journal of Public Health, 100(9), 1591.
McDonald, L. (2010). Florence Nightingale: The Crimean War: Collected works of Florence Nightingale (Vol. 14). Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press.
Selanders, L., & Crane, P. (2012). The voice of Florence Nightingale on advocacy. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(1).