International Nurses Day: 5 reasons why the world still remembers Florence Nightingale

New DelhiEdited By: C KrishnasaiUpdated: May 12, 2022, 12:18 AM IST
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Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820. Every year, her birth anniversary is celebrated as International Nurses Day.

Florence Nightingale, a British nurse and social reformer, is regarded as the founder of modern nursing.

Revered as “The Lady with the Lamp”, she is credited with giving nursing a favourable reputation for tending to wounded soldiers at night.

Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820. Every year, her birth anniversary is celebrated as International Nurses Day.

She passed away on August 13, 1910, at the age of 90. The celebrated English statistician was awarded with the order of merit in 1907 and became the first woman to receive this honour.

She opened the first scientifically based nursing school, the Nightingale School of Nursing, in London. It was opened in 1860.

These are the five reasons why the world still embers the founder of modern nursing.

Lady with the Lamp

There is a reason why Florence Nightingale is fondly remembered as the ‘Lady with the Lamp’.

In 1854, Florence Nightingale led a group of 38 officially sanctioned women and arrived at the Barrack Hospital, Scutari (now known as Uskudar in Istanbul) to treat the sick and wounded British troops during the Crimean war that was fought between 1853 and 1856.

In this war, the Russians were on the one side and the British, French, and Ottoman Turks on the other.

Once she arrived at the hospital, she witnessed an overwhelming number of injured soldiers, many of whom had also contracted other infections.

She used to tend to patients round-the-clock, often wandering the wards at night and caring out duties with a lamp in hand. It is because of this practice, she earned the title “Lady with the Lamp.”

Florence Nightingale chose to pursue nursing at a young age, despite her parents’ objections

In the 183’'s, nursing was considered a profession of low social status, who would earn petty wages. Nurses were also subjected to frquent alcohol abuse.

When 16-year-old Nightingale announced that she felt "called" to become a nurse, her parents weren’t thrilled. But their determined daughter’s mind was made up and, in 1850, she finally started learning the skills.

Three years later, Nightingale became the superintendent of a London-based women’s hospital.

Florence Nightingale refused to get married.

She turned down multiple proposals, including one made by a cousin named Henry Nicholson.

Florence Nightingale frequently wrote letters on behalf of dying or dead soldiers to their kins

Nightingale wrote to soldiers' families to tell them of their loved ones' deaths.

In a letter sent in 1856, she wrote, "It is with very sincere sorrow that I am obliged to confirm the fears of the father of the Late Howell Evans about his poor son … I have never in my life had so painful & unsatisfactory a letter to write."

Florence Nightingale popularised pie chart

Though the first true pie chart was drawn in 1801, 19 years before Nightingale was born, the concept was popularised under her and hence she is also regarded as great statistician.

Among the known pie chart used by her is called ‘coxcomb’. She designed it with the help of William Farr—the British epidemiologist who is regarded as one of the founders of medical statistics.

It highlights the number of unnecessary deaths during the Crimean War as a result of preventable infections. It has become Nightingale’s most well-known statistical illustration.

(With inputs from agencies)