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Nightingale, Florence (Lady with the Lamp)

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Born: 1820 AD
Died: 1910 AD, at 90 years of age.

Nationality: English
Categories: Nurses

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1820 - Florence Nightingale born on the 12th of May. Came to be known as The Lady with the Lamp, was a pioneer of modern nursing, and a noted statistician. Florence Nightingale was born into a rich, well-connected British family at the Villa Colombaia in Florence, Italy. She was named after the city of her birth, as was her older sister Parthenope (the Greek name for the city of Naples). Her parents were William Edward Nightingale and Frances ("Fanny") Nightingale née Smith. Her parents forbade her to practice nursing, and instead insisted that she engage in marriage and a family. Born in the reign of George III, `Flo` as she was known to her intimates, was the daughter of William Edward Shore whose mother, Mary Evans, was the niece of Peter Nightingale the squire of Lea Hurst under the terms of whose will Will Shore assumed the name and arms of Nightingale upon inheriting his great uncle's estates in Derbyshire.

1844 - In response to a pauper's death in a workhouse infirmary in London that became a public scandal, she became the leading advocate for improved medical care in the infirmaries and immediately engaged the support of Charles Villiers, then president of the Poor Law Board. This led to her active role in the reform of the Poor Laws, extending far beyond the provision of medical care.

1846 - She visited Kaiserswerth, Germany, and learned more of its pioneering hospital established by Theodor Fliedner and managed by an order of Lutheran deaconesses. She was profoundly impressed by the quality of care and by the commitment and practices of the deaconesses.

1851 - Nightingale's career in nursing began in earnest when she received four months' training in Germany as a deaconess of Kaiserswerth. She undertook the training over strenuous family objections concerning the risks and social implications of such activity, and the Roman Catholic foundations of the hospital. While at Kaiserswerth, she reported having her most important intense and compelling experience of her divine calling.

1853 - Took a post of superintendent at the Institute for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen in Upper Harley Street, London. Her father had given her an annual income of £500 (roughly $50,000 in present terms) that allowed her to live comfortably and to pursue her career. James Joseph Sylvester was her mentor.

1857 - Returned to Britain a heroine on the 7th of August, and, according to the BBC, was arguably the most famous Victorian after Queen Victoria herself.

1869 - She and Elizabeth Blackwell opened the Women's Medical College.

1883 - Awarded the Royal Red Cross by Queen Victoria. In 1907 she became the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit. In 1908 she was given the Honorary Freedom of the City of London.

1896 - She was bedridden. She may have had what is now known as chronic fatigue syndrome and her birthday is now celebrated as the international CFS awareness day. She died on August 13, 1910. The offer of burial in Westminster Abbey was declined by her relatives, and she is buried in the graveyard at St. Margaret Church in East Wellow, Hampshire.

1907 - Became the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit.

1908 - She was given the Honorary Freedom of the City of London.

1910 - Died on the 13th of August. The offer of burial in Westminster Abbey was declined by her relatives, and she is buried in the graveyard at St. Margaret Church in East Wellow, Hampshire.


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Page last updated: 2:15pm, 05th Mar '07

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