THE LADY WITH THE LAMP
BORN – 12 May 1820
DIED -13 August 1910
Florence Nightingale was best known for her contributions to nursing as well as statistics. She was a gallant woman who glorified the role of women nurses. She came to light during the Crimean War in which she aided the wounded soldiers. Florence changed the concept of the profession of nursing from untrained to highly skilled and relevant to the field of medicine. In 1860, Florence also established St. Thomas’ Hospital and the Nightingale School for Nurses.
Early Life and Her Determination
Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820, into a wealthy and upper-class British family. She was the daughter of William Edward Nightingale and Frances Nightingale nee Smith. William’s mother was the niece of Peter Nightingale upon whose terms William took up his estate as well as the name of Nightingale. They moved back to London in 1821. Florence, named after her place of birth (Florence, Tuscany, Italy) inherited a humanitarian nature. She was educated by her father. He once took her on a trip to Europe and there she met a Parisian Hostess named Mary Clarke who never gave any thought to upper-class British women and thought them inconsequential but she bonded with Florence and the latter was immensely influenced by Clarke’s ideas of how women could be equal to men which roused in her a new spark of resistance and determination to work.
Nightingale first had a strong desire to devote her life in service of others at Embley Park in 1837 where she was certain to have received calls from God. In her days of youth, Florence did respect her family’s opposition to her working but in 1844, she finally entered the working field despite her family’s opposition and rebelling against the society’s notion of what was to become of a cultured and accomplished young woman. She went ahead and educated herself in the art and science of nursing.
Florence was said to be a graceful lady and despite her hard demeanor she was said to behold a charming personality. Her most prominent relationship was said to be with a politician and a poet Richard Monckton Mines, a nine yearlong courtship that she ended because she felt it would interfere with her purpose of social service. She further traveled to Greece and Egypt and many more places and wrote voraciously. Her writings of Egypt are a symbol of her philosophy of life. She visited various temples in the Nile as well as Thebes where she again felt God be calling for her and wrote in her diary “God called me in the morning and asked me would I do good for him alone without a reputation”. When she visited the Lutheran religious community and watched Pastor Theodor Fliedner working for the good of sick and deprived. She termed it as a turning point in her life upon which she joined The Institute of Kaiserswerth where she underwent four months of medical training and wrote a book named The Institute of Kaiserswerth on the Rhine. In 1853, she joined the Institute for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen as a superintendent in London which she retained as long as 1854. The annual income of $65,000 given to her by her father allowed her to live comfortably.