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Why Is Florence Nightingale Famous?

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Florence Nightingale is famous for changing the way nurses were perceived during her time, raising the standards for nursing, and educating nurses.

First of all, when she arrived in Turkey in 1854 during the Crimean War, she found the conditions in the hospital to be horrid. Wounded soldiers were lying in filth which included dirty clothes and bloodied bandages. Most were dying from the spread of disease rather than their wounds. The first thing she did with her team of nurses was scrub the hospital from top to bottom, provide clean clothing, and make conditions, overall, sanitary.

Secondly, prior to Nightingale, nursing was thought of as a lowly profession, much like that of a servant. She fought to raise the standards of nursing, highlighting sanitary conditions, educating patients so they could care for themselves, and assessing patients' conditions around the clock. When she made her way to check on the patients during the night, she carried a lamp with her. For this she was named "The Lady with the Lamp." Her patient assessment is now known as "making the rounds" in today's modern hospitals. Because of her dedication, nursing became an honored profession.

Lastly, she was recognized by Queen Victoria, who gave her a jeweled brooch. Also, she was the first woman to be given honorary membership in the Royal Statistical Society. Nightingale also published a book on nursing. She is famous for these remarkable feats.

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Florence Nightingale is famous for two things, both related to nursing.  First, she is famous for her actions (which some say were exaggerated, in the Crimean War).  Second, she is famous for essentially founding the modern discipline of nursing in the years after the war.

Nightingale became famous because of her work in the Crimean War.  She became famous because of the fact that she went to the Crimea and worked to help wounded and sick soldiers.  She was lionized in the press as a heroine for the efforts that she put in on behalf of the soldiers.

Even during the war, Nightingale had been pushing the government to make reforms that would improve the health of the soldiers.  After the war, she continued as a social reformer who was pushing for reforms that would improve the health of all people in British society.  As part of these reforms, she helped to found the profession of nursing.  She was the main mover in creating an educational system that would turn out nurses who had professional qualifications and could be very helpful in the healthcare system.

Because of these actions to improve health in Britain, Nightingale remains famous today.

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Historians recognize English hospital reformer Florence Nightingale (1820–1910) as the founder of modern nursing. Against the conventions of her day, she studied nursing—which was then considered a lowly vocation—in Germany. Although she then headed a hospital for women in London, England, she knew that her talents were being wasted. In 1853 the Crimean War (1853–56) broke out. The armies of Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey), and Sardinia (present-day Italy) were battling the Russians in what is now southeastern Ukraine. Nightingale was appalled by the stories of more soldiers dying in unsanitary hospitals than on the battlefield. Nightingale led a corps of thirty-eight nurses to the military hospital at Scutari, near Istanbul, Turkey, where she instituted cleaning and sanitation methods that reduced infections. Germ-killing chemicals were just being discovered and were not yet widely used, so Nightingale's methods were new and controversial. She also set schedules for round-the-clock patient care. She herself visited patients at night, becoming known as the "Lady with the Lamp." When her efforts proved successful at Scutari, she inspected all of the allied military hospitals in the Crimea, suggesting improvements. By the end of the war, however, Nightingale was exhausted and ill with Crimean fever.

Although she was a semi-invalid for the rest of her life, Nightingale organized a group of dedicated friends to carry on her cause. She continued to improve British military nursing, and the improvements spread to civilian hospitals as well. In 1860 she founded a nurses training school, which later became the model for nursing programs in the United States, giving the job of nursing a new professionalism. Nightingale also published such works as Notes Affecting the Health, Efficiency, and Hospital Administration of the British Army, Notes on Nursing, and Notes on Hospitals.

fact-finder | Student

Historians recognize English hospital reformer Florence Nightingale (1820–1910) as the founder of modern nursing. Against the conventions of her day, she studied nursing—which was then considered a lowly vocation—in Germany. Although she then headed a hospital for women in London, England, she knew that her talents were being wasted. In 1853 the Crimean War (1853–56) broke out. The armies of Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey), and Sardinia (present-day Italy) were battling the Russians in what is now southeastern Ukraine. Nightingale was appalled by the stories of more soldiers dying in unsanitary hospitals than on the battlefield. Nightingale led a corps of thirty-eight nurses to the military hospital at Scutari, near Istanbul, Turkey, where she instituted cleaning and sanitation methods that reduced infections. Germ-killing chemicals were just being discovered and were not yet widely used, so Nightingale's methods were new and controversial. She also set schedules for round-the-clock patient care. She herself visited patients at night, becoming known as the "Lady with the Lamp." When her efforts proved successful at Scutari, she inspected all of the allied military hospitals in the Crimea, suggesting improvements. By the end of the war, however, Nightingale was exhausted and ill with Crimean fever.

Although she was a semi-invalid for the rest of her life, Nightingale organized a group of dedicated friends to carry on her cause. She continued to improve British military nursing, and the improvements spread to civilian hospitals as well. In 1860 she founded a nurses training school, which later became the model for nursing programs in the United States, giving the job of nursing a new professionalism. Nightingale also published such works as Notes Affecting the Health, Efficiency, and Hospital Administration of the British Army, Notes on Nursing, and Notes on Hospitals.

Further Information: Florence Nightingale Museum. [Online] Available http://www.florence-nightingale. co.uk/, November 6, 2000; Garza, Hedda. Women in Medicine. New York: Franklin Watts, 1994; Shore, Donna. Florence Nightingale. Englewood Cliffs, N.J,: Silver Burdett, 1990; Siegel, Beatrice. Faithful Friend: The Story of Florence Nightingale. New York: Scholastic, 1991.