Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale               

In 1860, the first formal training school for nurses was established in London England.

It was called the “Nightingale Training School”.

Soon after, a special school for midwifery was established at Kings College in London England.

Pie charts had to begin somewhere. Why not the Royal Statistical Society, where Florence Nightingale was the first female member and is credited for the pie charts inception?

Hospital’s still follow principles of design called “Nightingale Wards”.

Yes, we are talking about Florence Nightingale.

These are but a few of the milestone achievements and works of compassion demonstrated by this woman who lived to be 90 years of age.

Named after her birth city of Florence Italy, Florence Nightingale never married.

Her parents, “WEN” and “Fanny”, enjoyed a lifestyle free from poverty and want. This is what made Florence’s chosen profession of nursing so very difficult for her family, especially mom, to accept. Nurses most always came from the lower classes where even the prostitutes resided. But social standing was not to restrict or discourage Florence from her duty and calling. She wrote,

“God has spoken to me and called me to His service.” 

As demonstration of such a calling, when she agreed to take the position of Superintendent of Nurses at the Institution for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen in Distressed Circumstances in London, it would be under the requirement that the patients preference of religion could have no bearing on their admittance. Previously, one had to belong to the Church of England.

Despite her parent’s ongoing objections, they provided her with annual income amounting to 60,000 in today’s dollars. This freed her to work without pay and to volunteer her services. It is also how two parents shared in the unselfish adventures of a daughter who refused the expected high society life-style and chose instead a path of servitude and humility that shunned recognition’s and the accolades of man. Their financial support for her, though not without hesitance, allowed their daughter to become a timely force of good in this world.

Florence brought common sense to medicine. She noted that opiates, arsenic and blood-letting were killing more patients than helping. Instead, she established a sanitary environment, insisted on good sleep and a healthy diet,  all as standard protocol for recovery. Such priorities would cut the death rates in the Crimean War by two-thirds.

It was during her years serving as nurse to the soldiers that she earned the nickname, “Lady with the lamp”.

It was also during this time that Florence herself became ill with an often-deadly bacterium. Though she recovered, her health was never the same. Even this did not slow down her persistent efforts at improving both nursing and hospital care. While continuing her writing and studies, she visited and cared for the sick well into her “retirement” years.

Her published notes are read even today and remind us all of what unselfish servitude to God and fellow man means to all people in the world. May 12, 1820—a very special public servant was born.

“Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires as exclusive a devotion, as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or cold marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said the finest of the Fine Arts.” FN

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