Florence Nightingale’s Biography & Greatest Accomplishments

Nightingale was the founder of modern nursing

Achievements of Florence Nightingale | Image: Florence Nightingale (middle) in 1886 with her graduating class of nurses from St Thomas’ outside Claydon House, Buckinghamshire

She is recognized as the founder of modern nursing because of the enormous amount of work she put into making nursing a professional discipline. Nightingale toured the country, promoting not just sanitary practices but also instilling in nurses the ethics of the nursing. She continued those initiatives for the rest of her active life.

Once those nurses were trained, Nightingale helped introduce them into Britain’s workhouse system. Previously the care workers in those workhouses were inhabitants themselves who knew next to nothing about proper nursing.

By making the nursing field more professional, she was able to gradually remove amateur nurses, often widows or servants, who were only in the profession simply because they had no other job to do. Those kinds of nurses lacked the necessary ethics and skills to be in the profession as they often proved to be drunks, negligent and corrupt, according to Charles Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit.

Following her services in the Crimean War, she returned and put to good use her network of powerful individuals. Only then could she roll out those reforms in nursing. In some cases, she was described as a very tenacious and opinionated social reformer who stopped at nothing to get those reforms instituted.

The nursing training school that Nightingale set up is known as the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery. The school is part of King’s College London.

Florence Nightingale mentored American nurse Linda Richards

Known today as “America’s first trained nurse”, Linda Richards (1841-1930) is famous in America for established a number of nursing schools and numerous training programs. Much of that had to do with the mentoring training she received from Florence Nightingale. Passionate about the nursing profession, the New York-born went to England in 1877. Richards goal was to receive training under Nightingale, someone she had a strong admiration for. For seven months, Nightingale introduced the latest developments in the profession to Linda Richards who was a resident at St Thomas’ Hospital and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

It is worth noting that Nightingale’s mentee Linda Richards also founded and superintended nursing schools in Japan. She is credited with founding the first nursing training schools in Japan.

Florence Nightingale mentored numerous nurses, including American nurse Linda Richards, the founder and superintended of some of the first nursing training schools in the United States and Japan. Richards is also famous for introducing system for keeping individual medical records for patients

She inspired health workers during the American Civil War

On the back of such acclaimed reputation in Britain, Florence Nightingale was sought after by the leaders of the Union government during the American Civil War (1861 – 1865). Not only did she serve as as inspiring figure for nurses that were tending to the wounds of injured soldiers during the Civil War, but she also advised leaders in Washington concerning the field of nursing in general. Some of volunteer nurses in the American Civil War took cues from her and established the United States Sanitary Commission.

First person to be honored with the Royal Red Cross (RRC)

Florence Nightingale received the badge of the Royal Red Cross in 1883

Florence Nightingale was the first person to receive the Royal Red Cross. She was honored in 1883. The honor, which was established by Queen Victoria on April 23, 1883, is awarded to persons who have displayed exceptional devotion in performing nursing duties on a consistent basis. Recipients could come from the UK and other Commonwealth nations.

Read More: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Queen Victoria

Many of her books played a big part in the curriculum of nursing schools around the world

Notes on Nursing: What Nursing Is, What Nursing is Not (1859), a book by Florence Nightingale, displayed to the whole world her passion for the nursing profession and commitment to patient care and sound hospital administrative practices.

It has been estimated that Florence Nightingale penned down about 200 books, academic articles and pamphlets. As her goal was to disseminate medical knowledge, she used simple English in order to make her works easily comprehensible to sections of the society with inadequate literacy skills.

Of all the books that she wrote, Notes on Nursing (1859) is perhaps her most successful and most impactful. The book was seen as the standard in nursing schools around the world for many years. The book did very well, as it was picked up by not only nurses but by the general public.

Hailed as the first of its kind, the Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing basically provides a firm introduction to nursing. It contains insightful paragraphs on how to minimize infection rates, offering Victorian era the basic tenets of hygiene both at home and in medical facilities.

Other famous works by Florence Nightingale include: Letters from Egypt: A Journey on the Nile (1850), Cassandra (1852), The Institution of Kaiserwerth on the Rhine, for the Practical Training of Deaconesses, etc. (1851), and Workhouse nursing (1867).

Did you know: The Nightingale Pledge is a modified version of the Hippocratic Oath that nurses recite at the end of their training?

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