Florence Nightingale was a small factor which lead to the medical care for the British soldiers to improve, the sources which give very different perceptions of what she did and how she was portrayed, but she wasn’t the sole factor if it wasn’t for the sanitary commission and Mary Seacole then the medical care wouldn’t of improved as much as it did.
For men in the Crimean war (1853-1856) the medical situation was very poor, as the Crimean war carried on more and more men went down with cholera, scurvy, typhoid, frostbite and many more illnesses and diseases. There were few hospital tents, foods and medicines and the hospital conditions were appalling for the sick and wounded, another factor which didn’t help was that there was no transportation to move the sick from the battle fields to the hospitals. The conditions at Balaclava ( a city on the Crimean peninsula) worsened, the hospital became overcrowded, verminous and filthy and the men that were shipped to Scutari (a small town) were provided with no better conditions, Nightingale was based at Scutari and tried to improve conditions and so was a doctor (Doctor Blake), he treated 3025 cases of sickness compared to the 564 men that were treated for wounds he said ‘it was necessary to fill the few tents literally as full as they could hold,’ as there was so many men injured or sick that they had to fill the tents up as full as they could to try and treat everyone unfortunately this would have allowed sickness and illness to spread, and allow the conditions to worsen.
Florence nightingale was a nurse who had only trained for three months in Germany in the year 1851. Her influential friend; Sidney Herbert (minister of war), had appointed her as head of the nursing staff at Scutari, she set off on the 21st October with a team of 38 nurses and arrived in Scutari in November. At Scutari ‘Florence Nightingale battled as valiantly as any soldier in their field to improve conditions,’ and she ‘had a fund of £30000,’ which was given by the British government. ‘She purchased some of the necessities so badly needed.’ From Dennis Judd (a historian) the view is positive about clearing up the mess. Judd talks very highly of her work. She also had a drive to clean up the personal health and cleanliness. Florence Nightingale ensured ‘that fresh bed linen was available.’ This shows she realised that the sanitation conditions were poor and she was trying to make an improvement, however it does not say that she made a difference in any way and had only tried to make a change, also she does not have the understanding needed unlike the sanitary commission, but this could be because she had only had three months training. Furthermore you could question how reliable this source is because he wasn’t actually there (a secondary source), it was published over a century later after Florence nightingale did her work, so you could question the reliability of the source as we don’t know what information he had to rely on.
In comparison, source two does not completely disagree with source one, she tried to make improvements like ‘changing the wards’ but the Sanitary Commission ‘was an indictment of the previous management,’ this implies that Florence Nightingale’s system was bad and needed to be criticised and changed. The sanitary commission started ‘a programme of basic sanitary improvements.’ For example; ‘floors were renewed, walls painted with disinfectant.’ The sanitary commission had the proper understanding needed to improve the cleanliness, health and sanitation of the soldiers and the hospital. The historian Clive Pointing does not disagree that she was not doing what she thought was needed where as she did not change the death toll unlike the sanitary commission who made most of the improvements. You could also again question…