Our Nurse of the Month is the individual who’s 200th Birthday sparked the World Health Organization to name 2020 The Year of the Nurse!
Nurse Nightingale was born in 1820 to a wealthy family who expected her to marry but Florence was a smart, stubborn girl who had other aspirations. At the time, there was no such thing as “Nursing” but she taught herself what would become the basics of the profession while offering instrumental help during a local cholera outbreak. The British Foreign Ministry recognized her work and called upon her to help during the Crimean War where British Soldiers in a wartime hospital were dying from poor conditions, mostly infections. Ms. Nightingale was sent there with a group of volunteer nuns to help, mostly through improving sanitation. As a result, she received the first Royal Red Heart for her work during the Crimean War and spent the rest of her life promoting and organizing the nursing profession. She founded the Nightingale Training School which is now called the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing, part of King’s College London. She authored “Notes on Nursing” which is considered the classic introduction to modern Nursing.
Florence dedicated her life to nursing and hospital care. Although, she continued to make significant contributions after her service in the Crimean War, such as data visualization, use of info graphics and statistical data, I believe her most important legacy that is so relevant at this moment in time was the discovery of HAND WASHING as a way to help prevent transmission of disease and her pleas to the Sanitation Commission to wash sewers. By implementing these basic hygiene measures in the war hospital in which she worked some claim she reduced the solders’ death rate from 42% down to 2% as a result of her work.
Florence Nightingale was a hero 200 years ago and she remains one today.