Florence Nightingale Essay

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Historical Figures of Nursing
Jennifer Gauze R.N.
February 17, 2013
Tricia Proctor

Historical Figures of Nursing
”Florence Nightingale, a nurse who spent nights rounds giving personal care to the wounded, establishing her image as the ‘Lady with the Lamp,” (Nightingale, 2013). ‘Clara Barton was, an educator, nurse, and founder of the American Red Cross”(Barton, 2013).
Florence Nightingale, born May 12, 1820 was the younger of two children , Born and raised in Florence, Italy. Nightingale was born into the aristocratic social sphere which herself would rather shy from the center of attention. Florences’mother, Frances Nightingale took pride in socializing and often the two would butt heads on some matters. Florence being the strong- willed person that she was desired her mothers’ praise wrote on her own defense, “I tink I am got something more good-natured and complying”(Nightingale, 2013). Nightingales’ father William Shore Nightingale, was a wealthy landowner and only wanted the best for his daughter. At 16, Nightingale had been helping out in the village near the family estates, providing comfort to the sick and poor. It was clear to her at this time what her calling was to be. “ Nightingale believed it to be her divine Purpose”(Nightingale, 2013). At 17, Nightingale refused a marriage proposal from a suitable gentleman, Richard Monckton Milnes, She explained that her moral active nature requires satisfaction, and would not find it in this life” (Nightingale, 2013). Nightingale went on to enroll in the Nursing School at the Lutheran Hospital of Pastor Fliedner in Kaiserwerth, Germany in 1844. By 1850s she returned to London to work in a hospital and her work so impressive that she was promoted to superintendent. In October 1853 the Crimean War broke out and British soldiers was injured, and sent to the hospital.The supplies were dwindling fast. “Because of the poor reputation of female nurses, there were none stationed at the hospital until late 1854, Nightingale received a letter from the secretary of war Sidney Herbert, asking her to organize a corps of nurses to tend the sick and fallen soldiers” [ (Nightingale, 2013) ]. Nightingale and a team of 34 nurses headed out to the Crimean. Upon arrival at Scutari, the site was beyond what they could ever prepare themselves for. “There were more soldiers dying from infectious diseases like typhoid and cholera than from injuries from battle.” [ (Nightingale, 2013) ]. Nightingale cleaned, organized the hospital, and cared for wounded soldiers. Nightingale began scrubbing the hospital from top to bottom and caring for the sick with her endless compassion, “The soldiers began calling her, “The Lady of the Lamp” and others called her “the Angel of the Crimea” (Nightingale, 2013). “She began gathering information about morbidity and mortality on the soldiers of Scutari and had enough information gathered to argue effectively the case for reform of the entire British Army Medical System” (Chitty, 2011, p. 30). Based on what Nightingale saw at the Crimea, she wrote an 830-page report called, “Notes on Nursing: What It is, and what It Is Not” (Chitty, 2011, p. 30). This book in 1857 started a total reconstruction of the war offices’ administrative dept. including the establishment of a Royal Commission for the Health of the Army (Nightingale, 2013). Nightingale after one-year and six months of dedicating her services to the war left Scutari, and went back to her childhood home at Lea Hurst. Nightingale returned home as a hero, they gave her an engraved brooch, which is known as “Nightingales Jewel” and a prize of $250,000 from the British Government” (Nightingale, 2013). In 1860 Nightingale took her money and wanted to further her cause, and decided to fund the establishment of St. Thomas School for Nurses. Nightingale became a figure of admiration and respect. Young women aspired to be like her, even the wealthy, upper class enrolled in training school. Thanks to