Nightingale was born in Italy on the 12th May. Her father was a rich banker, who moved from England to Italy with his wife. As you may have already noticed, Florence is a place in Italy, which is what she was named after.
She had a sister, Frances Parthenope, who was also born in Italy. They both had lessons from their father, in which Florence realized she was very much into history and math, probably not having any idea she would be part of something she cared so much about, history.
Due to Victorian Britain needing so much help, poor women would help by working as servants or in factories, while rich girls like Florence were expected to marry, look after a home, or do charity work. Even though this was the case, Florence decided not to marry due to the fact she was extremely religious, and believed God wanted her to do important things in life. Little did she know she ended up having a huge impact on medical history!
When it came to marriage, a young writer actually asked her to marry him, but after seven years of deciding, she said no.
In the Crimea on November 29th 1855, the Nightingale Fund was established for the training of nurses during a public meeting to recognize Nightingale for her work in the war. There was an outpouring of generous donations. Sidney Herbert served as honorary secretary of the fund and the Duke of Cambridge was chairman. Nightingale was considered a pioneer in the concept of medical tourism as well, based on her 1856 letters describing spas in the Ottoman Empire. She detailed the health conditions, physical descriptions, dietary information, and other vital details of patients whom she directed there. The treatment there was significantly less expensive than in Switzerland.
Nightingale had upwards of £45,000 at her disposal from the Nightingale Fund to set up the Nightingale Training School at St. Thomas’ Hospital on July 9th 1860. The first trained Nightingale nurses began work on May 16th of 1865 at the Liverpool Workhouse Infirmary. Now called the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, the school is part of King’s College London. She also campaigned and raised funds for the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital in Aylesbury near her sister’s home, Claydon House.
Some of her most notable achievements:
Being the first female to be elected into the Royal Statistical Society
Pioneered the use of pie charts in statistics (not gonna lie – typing that made me laugh)
Used statistics to convince the military to have sanitary reform and improved the death rate for a solder from 69/1,000 to 18/1,000
Wrote an 829 page 3 volume work that she printed privately but has never been published in it’s entirety
And as mentioned earlier, founded modern Nursing
Her legacy was not left to be forgotten, because alone with her history, she’s also had four hospitals named after her, statues built, and a phonograph of her voice saved.
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