What do we really know about this truly remarkable woman and her legacy?
Born 12.5.1820, Florence Nightingale, The Lady with the Lamp, was an English Social Reformer, Statistician and the Founder of Modern Nursing, who came to prominence whilst serving as a Manager and Trainer of Nurses during the Crimea War in which she organised care for wounded soldiers in Constantinople.
Now, I have to admit, that might be all I can remember from my history lesson!
Florence was born in Florence, Italy, to a very good family who moved in all the elite social circles of the day but this life didn’t really suit the rather awkward, shy Florence and she very often clashed with her mother (oh, I wouldn’t dare!)
It was evident from as early as 16, when Florence was already caring for the poor, ill and needy, that she was destined for a life other than social climbing and marriage to a ‘suitable’ young man. In fact, Florence had already stated that looking after the ill and poor was her ‘Divine Purpose’.
And so her career began
Florence soon rose through the ranks of Nursing, beginning in Germany then onto London where she founded the St Thomas’s Hospital and the Nightingale Training School for Nurses. This building now houses the Florence Nightingale Museum.
So, we know about her Nursing but where does the Statistician part come in?
Florence really was a remarkable woman who was helped by Queen Victoria in her study of Army Morality providing data that helped the Armed Forces look at modern sanitisation as 16,000 of 18,000 deaths in the Army were not from battle but preventable diseases.
Her work was truly inspiring and also caused her downfall as at the age of 38 she contracted ‘Crimean Fever’ and was to spend the rest of her long life homebound and bed bound.
A mere mortal may have been stopped in their tracks at this point but not Florence, who continued her work, holding court to many a Prime Minister and influential men and women of the time, from her bed!
At the ripe old age of 88, King Edward bestowed the Royal red Cross, Order of Merit upon her and King George was one of the first people to congratulate her on her 90th birthday.
Florence died peacefully at her home in Mayfair, London on 13th August 1910, requesting her funeral be a ‘modest affair’ despite the whole country wanting a National Funeral. Her relatives upheld her wishes and she was buried in Hampstead.
A true heroine, inspiration and model of quiet unassuming modesty who was quite simply ‘The Angel of Crimea’
Her legacy lives on
Why a blog about Florence Nightingale?
At Virtual Racing Uk we are proud to be able to dedicate our International Nurses Day challenge to The Florence Nightingale Hospice, also a truly inspiring charitable cause, giving palliative care to patients suffering from life limiting illnesses.
How proud would Florence Nightingale feel of all those selfless people who dedicate themselves to caring for others and know that the groundwork she did enables the level of care our Nurses can give in the modern age.
Please check out the Q&A session with Julie from The Florence Nightingale Hospice on our website and continue to sign up to our May challenge (limited places now)
Thank you Team VRUK, YOU are truly AMAZING.