…where would we be with out them?
Today is the birth date of Florence Nightingale, and nurses world wide celebrate today as International Nurses Day.
Born in the Grand Duchy of Florence, she was the child of privilege. Her family was a well heeled UPper crust British lot, and Florence was expected as to the code of the day to marry well, have children, and run a wonderful household.
She had other plans.
Answering a “call from God”, Florence decided to become a nurse.
Her mother and her sister were fuming mad about it. Well bred young ladies in 19th century England did no such thing. After all, they might see things they weren’t sUPposed to see.
She became famous during the Crimean War, and due to her night time rounds, she was called the “Lady with the lamp.”
Nightingale worked hard to educate herself in the art and science of nursing – there were no schools for women at that time. In spite of constant carping bitching pissing and moaning opposition from her family and society around her, she made a go of it.
Nightingale was courted by politician and poet Richard Milnes, 1st Baron Houghton, and could have taken an easier road, but she rejected him. Convinced that marriage would interfere with her ability to follow her calling to nursing, she gave him the big shove off and sent him packing.
Mummy was steamed!
A deeply devout Anglican, her writings are full of references to God, His works, His wonders and His call to her.
She exhibited a gift for mathematics from an early age (oh how I hope my nerdy nephews are reading this!) and was tutored by her father.
Again, Mummy – steam – etc.
Later, Nightingale became a pioneer in the visual presentation of information and statistical graphics. She actually used pie charts!
Mummy would rather she be making pies.
Pie charts may bore us now, but back then they were very new, having come onto the scene around 1801.
She is most well known for her, rather novel at the time, insistance on cleanliness and sanitation. Much of the medical attitude towards sterilization and such are a result of Florence’s ideals.
Mummy was however, pleased that she washed her hands.
Her greatest achievement was the first official nurses’ training program, the Nightingale School for Nurses. There were none at the time, and it opened in 1860. The mission of the school was to train nurses to work in hospitals, work with the poor, and to teach.
Her main thought was that students would care for people in their homes. Hospitals were pretty horrific back then.
Florence’s lasting contribution has been her role in founding the modern nursing profession. She set an example of compassion, commitment to patient care, and diligent and thoughtful hospital administration.
She lived to be 90. She became a legend in her own time, changed the course of medicine and all of England wanted to bury her in Westminster Abbey, but the family said no.
So, to all the nurses out there, and especially to my very favorite Florence Nightingale, my sweet, sweet, Shelby, “Happy Nurses Day”!