Famous for being the ‘Lady with the Lamp’ who organised the nursing of sick and wounded soldiers during the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale’s far-sighted ideas and reforms have influenced the very nature of modern healthcare.
Her greatest achievement was to transform nursing into a respectable profession for women and in 1860, she established the first professional training school for nurses, the Nightingale Training School at St Thomas’ Hospital. Born on May 12,1820 and died on August 13,1910.
She campaigned tirelessly to improve health standards, publishing over 200 books, reports and pamphlets on hospital planning and organisation which are still widely read and respected today, including her most famous work “Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not”. Florence’s influence on today’s nursing, ranges from her ward designs (known as Nightingale Wards) which were developed in response to her realisation that hospital buildings themselves could affect the health and recovery of patients, through to pioneering infection control measures and the championing of a healthy diet as a key factor for recovery. Florence also believed in the need for specialist midwifery nurses and established a School of Midwifery nursing at King’s College Hospital which became a model for the country.
Florence is also credited with inventing the pie chart and was the first woman to be elected to the Royal Statistical Society. She was also the first woman to be awarded the Freedom of the City of London, which she received in 1909.
She inspired the founding of the International Red Cross which still awards the Florence Nightingale Medal for nurses who have given exceptional care to the sick and wounded in war or peace.
Source: Florence Nightingale Museum