Florence Nightingale – The Lady With The Lamp

By | May 15, 2019

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Florence Nightingale. Source: (nationalarchives.gov.uk)

Referred to as “the lady with the lamp,” Florence Nightingale was like an angel to the sick and dying that were in Turkey during the Crimean War. This war was during 1854-1856 when Britain and Russia were at war with each other. She worked tirelessly to minister to the sick and dying. It was said that she could be seen well after the others had retired for the night, checking on them with her lamp in her hand.

Born in 1820 and named after the city of her birth (Florence, Italy), Florence Nightingale grew up in a wealthy and prestigious family. Being wealthy and refined did not satisfy her. She felt a deep calling within her that she must fulfill although at first, she did not know what that was. It was not until later as she got older that she realized what it was.  She wanted to become a nurse. When she told her parents about this calling, they were not so thrilled with the idea. As far as they were concerned, nursing was not fitting for someone in her social status, but Florence was very headstrong and determined. Finally, her father gave in and allowed her to go to a hospital in Germany to receive nursing experience. She became manager of a hospital in London when she returned.

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Florence Nightingale. Source: (commons.wikimedia.org)

A two-year war broke out that took the government by surprise. They were not expecting it to last that long so they were totally unprepared for the vast number of wounded soldiers that showed up at the war hospitals. When the reports came in from a reporter for the Times newspaper about the conditions of the hospitals, the Britain people were in an uproar and wanted to see something done about it. There were literally hundreds of injured soldiers in very primitive hospitals with terrible food and very little medicine. As Florence began hearing the reports about the conditions, she felt an overwhelming burden to help these wounded soldiers.

Sidney Herbert, who had become a good friend of Florence’s, was the Minister for War and was aware of Florence’s nursing and managerial skills. When he asked her about gathering a group of qualified nurses and bringing them to the war hospitals to help out, she was more than willing.