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Transcript of Florence Nightingale
Life of Mrs. Nightingale
Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820, in Florence, Italy. She was the youngest of the two children. Her mother, Frances Nightingale, hailed from a family of merchants. Florence's father was William Shore Nightingale, a wealthy landowner who had inherited two estates—one at Lea Hurst, Derbyshire-when Florence was 5 years old. Florence was raised on the family estate at Lea Hurst, where her father provided her with a classical education, including studies in German, French and Italian.
From a very young age, Florence Nightingale was active in philanthropy. (Love of Humanity) By the time she was 16 years old, it was clear to her that nursing was her calling. She believed it to be her "divine purpose".
When Nightingale approached her parents and told them about her ambitions to become a nurse, they were not pleased. In fact, her parents forbade her to pursue nursing. During the Victorian Era, a young lady of Nightingale's social status was expected to marry a man of means—not take up a job that was viewed as lowly menial labor by the upper social classes. When Nightingale was 17 years old, she refused a marriage proposal from Richard Monckton Milnes.
Determined to pursue her true calling despite her parents' objections, in 1844, Nightingale enrolled as a nursing student at the Lutheran Hospital of Pastor Fliedner in Kaiserwerth, Germany.
In the early 1850s, Nightingale returned to London, where she took a nursing job in a Middlesex hospital for ailing governesses. Her employer was so impressed by her performance that Nightingale was promoted to superintendant within just a year of being hired. The position proved challenging as Nightingale grappled with a cholera outbreak and unsanitary conditions conducive to the rapid spread of the disease. Nightingale made it her mission to improve hygiene practices, significantly lowering the death rate at the hospital in the process. The hard work took a toll on her health. She had just barely recovered when the biggest challenge of her nursing career presented itself.
In October of 1853, the Crimean War had just broke out. The British Empire was at war against the Russian Empire. Thousands of British soldiers were sent to the Black Sea, where their supplies quickly dwindled. By 1854, no fewer than 18,000 soldiers had been admitted into military hospitals.
At the time, there were no female nurses stationed at hospitals in the Crimea. The poor reputation of past female nurses had led the war office to avoid hiring any. But, after the Battle of Alma, England was in an uproar about the neglect of their ill and injured soldier and languished in appallingly unsanitary and inhumane conditions. Nightingale received a letter from Secretary of War Sidney Herbert, asking her to organize a corps of nurses to tend to the sick and fallen soldiers in the Crimea. Nightingale rose to the call. She quickly assembled a team of 34 nurses and sailed with them to the Crimea just a few days later.
Although they had been warned of the horrid conditions there, nothing could have prepared Nightingale and her nurses for what they saw when they arrived at the British base hospital in Constantinople. The hospital sat on top of a large cesspool, which contaminated the water and the hospital building itself. Patients lay on in their own excrement on stretchers strewn throughout the hallways. Rodents and bugs scurried past them. The most basic supplies, such as bandages and soap, grew increasingly scarce as the number of ill and wounded steadily increased. Even water needed to be rationed. More soldiers were dying from infectious diseases, like typhoid and cholera, than from injuries incurred in battle.
Bed Ridden Ailment
While over in Scutari, she contracted the "Crimean Fever" which she would never fully recover from. By the time she turned 38 years old she was bed ridden. She was fiercely independent and continued her care and work while in her bed. She didn't let her disability slow her down and continued to make great progress in the medical field.
Getting The Job done!
Florence Nightingale quickly set to work. She procured hundreds of scrub brushes and asked the least infirm patients to scrub the inside of the hospital from the floor to the ceiling. Nightingale herself spent every waking minute caring for the soldiers. In the evenings she moved through the dark hallways carrying a lamp while making her rounds, ministering to patient after patient. The soldiers, who were both moved and comforted by her endless supply of compassion, took to calling her "the Lady with the Lamp." Others simply called her "the Angel of the Crimea." Her work reduced the hospital’s death rate by two-thirds.
Honor and Awards
When she returned to England she was greeted with a hero's welcome. Though she did her best to avoid the attention she remained a humble nurse. The queen had rewarded her with an engraved brooch known now as the"Nightingale Jewel" and a prize of $250,000 that she used later to further her cause. This funded the establishment of the St. Thomas hospital and with it the Nightingale Training School for nurses. Because of her the upper-class saw nursing as an honorable profession.
Death of Florence Nightinggale
On August 1910 Nightinggale fell ill, she seemed to have recovered and was in good spirits. A week later though on August 12,1910 she devloped troubling symptoms. At 2 p.m. on August 13,1910 she died at her home in London. She was laid to rest in her family plot in Westminister Abbey.