Florence Nightingale, the Lady with the Lamp

Florence Nightingale, the Lady with the Lamp

Florence Nightingale is recognized as one of the founders of modern nursing. Was born May 12, 1820 in Florence, Italy. Your parents were William Edward Nightingale and Frances Smith. During her childhood she grew up in the country with her family, moving to Hampshire when she was 5 years old.

At first, she took care of both her education and that of her sister a governess, but his father became attached to them not having had male children and he took charge of educating them himself, since he had studied at Cambridge. This one taught them the classics, like those of Aristotle, and even political currents.

When he turned 20 he asked his parents for power to study math. However, both his mother and father refused, as they considered that it was not appropriate for a woman. Instead, after a long time insisting, he managed to would agree. He had as a tutor Sylvester, who had developed the theory of invariants together with Cayley. She became one of the most outstanding students and reached teach children. One of the areas that interested him most was being able to apply the statistical methods to other areas like the social sciences, something developed by the scientist Quetelet.

However, his fate was marked when a few years earlier, on February 7, 1837, he believed he had heard God's call when he was walking through the garden of his house, although he did not know how to interpret it.

Thus he developed an interest in the social sciences of his time, to the point of becoming interested in the work carried out in hospitals in 1845. But his family opposed this interest, since the infirmary it was not a suitable job for a well-educated woman from a good family. This was because the professionals of those years they barely had preparation, they lacked knowledge and it was said that they were of bad life.

In 1849 he undertook a trip through Europe and Egypt with some friends, which allowed him contrast hospital systems of the places he visited. The following year, he decided start studying to become a nurseat the St. Vincent de Paul Institute in Alexandria, a Catholic hospital. That same year she traveled to Kaiserwerth to visit Pastor Theodor Fliedner's hospital, returning the following year to study nursing for three months at the Institute for Protestant Deaconesses. Shortly after he went to a hospital near Paris, the St. Germain.

In 1853 she traveled to London, where she was appointed superintendent of the Establishment for ladies during illnesses, unpaid work. The following year the known as Crimean War. On September 20, 1854, the Russians were defeated in the Battle of the Alma River, a fact that used various means to criticize the British medical facilities, which they left much to be desired.

In response, Britain's Secretary of War Sidney Herbert wrote to Nightingale to be appointed superintendent of the Nursing System of the English General Hospitals in Turkey and supervise the inclusion of new nurses in hospitals. On November 4, 1854, she arrived accompanied by 38 nurses to the Turkish capital.

Little by little it was changing and reforming the hospital system. The conditions in which the soldiers arrived were completely unsanitary, even when carrying out operations in unsuitable conditions. Contagious diseases were rampant, so that the soldiers had more likely to die in hospital than on the battlefield itself.

During the time he was in Turkey, he decided to try to establish the system he had studied in mathematics doing statistics. He began to collect data, creating a system to be able to have a registry about patients. Thanks to this data that he had collected, he began to compile statistics starting with calculate death rate of the sick, showing that if sanitary methods were improved many deaths could be avoided.

At the beginning of the following year, the death rate it had dropped from 60 to 42%. He began to improve the hospital facilities, installing a source of drinking water, buying food and medical equipment. All this made the mortality rate continued gradually descending.

With all the data he had obtained, he created the so-called Polar Area Diagram, where the mortality figures throughout the war were represented. They were diagrams formed by colored wedges, in which the outer blue part represents the deaths caused by contagious diseases. Thus he was able to verify that most of the deaths were produced by diseasesand not because of the injuries caused during the fighting.

In August 1856, after the signing of the peace agreement, returned to london. There he discovered that young soldiers had a death rate twice as high as that of the civilian population. With the data obtained, he showed the need to carry out a sanitary reform in military hospitals. In his endeavor, he caught the attention of the very queen Victoria and the Prime Minister, Lord Palmeston.

In 1857 he was granted a permit to organize an investigation which led to the establishment of the Royal Commission for Army Health. Nightgale withdrew from public life and began to worry again about the troops, especially the ones in india. The following year it became the first female partner elected of the Royal Statistical Society thanks to his research.

During the time spent in Crimea, it had been created the Nightingale Fund. Thanks to the money he owned, in 1860 he managed to open the Nightingale Training School and Home for Nurses at St. Thomas Hospital in London. There the nurses could acquire practical experience in hospitals and they also learned to live properly, with a way of living disciplined.

The opening of this school made the profession of nursing become a respectable profession for women. In addition, he advised the British army stationed in Canada on medical care and even He was consulted by the United States government on the health of the participants in the Civil War.

The rest of his life he spent bedridden, since she had contracted a disease in Crimea that prevented her from continuing to dedicate herself to nursing. However, he kept doing campaign to improve health, publishing large amount of books and information. Highlights Notes on Nursing, the first book used to teach nursing.

The awards that were granted to him were numerous. In 1874 it was named honorary member of the American Statistical Association. In 1883 he was awarded the Royal Red Cross for her work by Queen Victoria herself. Furthermore, it was the first woman who received the Order of Merit from Edward VII in 1907. She was nicknamed the Lady with the Lamp due to numerous rounds I did at night among patients during her years as a nurse. He died on August 13, 1910 in London, being buried in St. Margaret.

Images: Public domain

Graduated in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, since I was little I have been attracted to the world of information and audiovisual production. Passion for informing and being informed of what is happening in every corner of the planet. Likewise, I am pleased to be part of the creation of an audiovisual product that will later entertain or inform people. My interests include cinema, photography, the environment and, above all, history. I consider it essential to know the origin of things to know where we come from and where we are going. Special interest in curiosities, mysteries and anecdotal events in our history.

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