Florence Nightingale’s Biography & Greatest Accomplishments

How Florence Nightingale got the nickname “The Lady with the Lamp”

Florence Nightingale was also known as the Lady with the Lamp. Image: Popular lithograph reproduction of a painting of Nightingale by Henrietta Rae, 1891.

Her marvelous humanitarian efforts during the Crimean War made waves throughout the United Kingdom. News outlets picked up stories about how Nightingale and her team of women volunteer nurses eased the sufferings of thousands of British soldiers fighting in the war. One such news report in The Times described her as a “ministering angel” who put a smile on the faces of the soldiers.

The report also noted how Nightingale worked overnight, while many of her colleagues were off, to attend to injured soldiers in need. She became noted for gliding quietly through the hospital corridors while carrying a lamp. Both literally and figuratively, Nightingale introduced light to places where darkness and gloom once thrived. For that and many other reasons, the newspaper report described her as “The Lady with the Lamp”.

Quote from The Times about the magnificent work that Florence Nightingale did during the Crimean War

“The Lady with the Lamp”, that endearing nickname of hers, was also made popular by the poem “Santa Filomena” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, an American poet and writer of “Paul Revere’s Ride”.

Established a nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in London

In July 1860, Nightingale set up the Nightingale Training School at St Thomas’ Hospital. The school later became the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care within King’s College London. | Image: Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care

With almost £50,000 from donations into the Nightingale Fund, Florence Nightingale set up a nursing training school at St Thomas’ Hospital on July 9, 1860. Five years later, the first batch of trained nurses graduated and proceeded to work at the Liverpool Workhouse Infirmary and many other health facilities across the country.

The school holds the title of being the world’s first secular nursing school. For more than a century and a half, the school has been continuously connected to a fully functional hospital and medical school.

Also, since its inception in 1860, some of the notable alumni and teaching staff of the school include Alice Fisher, renowned American nurse Linda Richards, Danish nurse and trade unionist Henry Tscherning, and Sarah Elizabeth Wardroper. The latter was an English nurse and the first superintendent of the school.

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