Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale developed an interest for math and science at an early age. She was born to wealthy parents in Italy and after her birth, they moved back to England. Her parents were world travelers and wanted her daughter to do the same when she was old enough. However, Florence Nightingale had other ideas. When she was old enough, she told her parents that she wanted to be a nurse and her parents were less than enthused about her decision. They made her travel Europe for a year with some family friends. They had hoped that this would make her forget about nursing. It didn’t.

Florence Nightingale was finally able to sway her parents into letting her study at a hospital in Germany. In 1853, she was hired as Superintendent at the Establishment for Gentlewomen During Temporary Illness, (say that three times fast), in London. She worked there until 1854 when the Secretary of War asked for her help with the Crimean War. She and twenty-eight other nurses were sent to Turkey. As she was there, Florence became very upset about all of the death she saw there, due to unsanitary conditions. She then implemented a sanitary plan of action and the death rate dropped from 42% to 2%. It was around this time that she created the polar area chart. The polar area chart is essentially a pie chart that showed which deaths occurred for whatever reason.

In 1859, Florence Nightingale created a nursing school in London and part of the education had to do with sanitary conditions. During the Civil War, Florence Nightingale was asked to come help at a field hospital. Her help with the sanitary conditions led to the formation of the United States Sanitary Commission. She also worked with several doctors and nurses, training them in her sanitary methods.

In 1869, Florence Nightingale partnered with Elizabeth Blackwell to open the Women’s Medical College. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. There will be an article coming soon about her as well. Later Florence worked with Linda Richards. Linda Richards would go on to be known as America’s First Trained Nurse.

In 1883, Queen Victoria awarded Florence Nightingale the Royal Red Cross for her war and nursing efforts. Sadly, in 1896, Florence became ill and was bed-ridden. She used this time to write about hospital planning and she finally succumbed in 1910.

Florence Nightingale was definitely a woman who helped shape this world for the better.

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