Happy Birthday to the World's Most Famous Nurse

by tnbutterfly Admin

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Nursing has certainly come a long way since the time of Florence Nightingale. We should not forget the courage and perseverance of the Lady with the Lamp who remains the most famous nurse in history. This inspirational figure helped to transform nursing into the highly respected profession it is today.

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    Happy Birthday to the World's Most Famous Nurse

    Upon graduation from nursing school, we all probably remember reciting the Nightingale Pledge, a modified "Hippocratic Oath" composed in 1893 by Mrs. Lystra E. Gretter and a Committee for the Farrand Training School for Nurses, Detroit, Michigan. The pledge is as follows:

    I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.

    Since today is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, I thought it would be a good time to look back at the life of the woman considered to be the founder of modern nursing.

    Florence Nightingale was born on May, 12, 1820 in Italy into an affluent, upper-class, well-connected British family. Although her mother was interested in social-climbing, Florence was reportedly awkward in social situations. Florence’s father, who was a wealthy landowner, provided Florence with a classical education, including studies in German, Italian, and French.

    Florence was always interested in ministering to the ill and poor people in the village which bordered her family’s estate. It was clear to Florence when she was 16 that nursing was her calling. Despite her parent’s objections, she enrolled as a nursing student at the Lutheran Hospital of Pastor Fliedner in Kaiserwerth, Germany in 1844.

    Florence became a living legend as the “Lady with the Lamp”. Her work during the Crimean War from 1854 until 1856 was well-known as she led nurses who cared for thousands of soldiers. She and her team of nurses improved the unsanitary conditions at a British base hospital, reducing the death count by two-thirds, which helped save the British army from medical disaster. She was also a visionary health reformer, a brilliant campaigner, the most influential woman in Victorian Britain and its Empire, second only to Queen Victoria herself. Upon Florence Nightingale’s return from the Crimean War, the Queen rewarded her work by presenting her with an engraved brooch that came to be known as the "Nightingale Jewel" and by granting her a prize of $250,000 from the British government.

    Florence Nightingale’s greatest achievement was to make nursing a respectable profession for women. Her writings on hospital planning and organization had a profound effect in England and across the world. She publishied over 200 books, reports and pamphlets. Florence died at the age of 90, on 13th August 1910. She became one of the most famous and influential women of the 19th century. Her writings continue to be a resource for nurses, health managers and planners to this day.

    Nursing has certainly come a long way since the time of Florence Nightingale. We should not forget the courage and perseverance of the Lady with the Lamp who remains the most famous nurse in history. This inspirational figure helped to transform nursing into the highly respected profession it is today.

    Happy Birthday Flo!!!!!

    Here area few trivia questions for you....
    • How did Florence Nightingale get her nickname, "The Lady With the Lamp"?
    • What was her sister's name?
    • What animal did Florence Nightingale carry with her, even when doing hospital rounds?
    • Was Florence Nightingale ever married?
    • What is the name of the nursing school Florence Nightingale opened in 1860?
    • How did Florence Nightingale get her name?
    • What was the cause of death for Florence Nightingale?
    • Where is Florence Nightingale buried?
    Last edit by Joe V on May 13, '13
    Blanca R, VickyRN, Violach, and 7 others like this.
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    tnbutterfly has been in nursing for more than 30 years, with experience in med-surg, pediatrics, psychiatrics, and disaster nursing. She is currently a parish nurse.....a position which she has had for the past 15 years.

    tnbutterfly joined Jun '06 - from 'TN'. tnbutterfly has 'More than 35 years' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Parish Nsg, Disaster Nsg, Peds, Med-Surg'. Posts: 20,858 Likes: 10,163; Learn more about tnbutterfly by visiting their allnursesPage


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    21 Comments so far...

  5. 5
    I've always found it fascinating that Florence Nightingale suffered from manic depression, yet accomplished so many great deeds during the course of her career. She didn't have an easy life, nor a particularly happy one, but we all owe her an enormous debt of gratitude for elevating the profession and laying the foundation for the generations of nurses that followed her, as well as those which are yet to be born.

    Happy birthday, Miss Nightingale!
  6. 3
    Thanks for adding that detail that I was not aware of.
  7. 1
    Happy Birthday Flo! Sadly, I'd need the google to answer the trivia questions so I'll have to leave that to our more astute members or perhaps current students . . . . .
    herring_RN likes this.
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    Quote from nursel56
    Happy Birthday Flo! Sadly, I'd need the google to answer the trivia questions so I'll have to leave that to our more astute members or perhaps current students . . . . .

    It's OK to guess. It's not a test. Although extra credit will be given for creative answers. LOL

    Gotta love extra credit.......back in the dark ages when I was in school.
    nursel56, VivaLasViejas, and herring_RN like this.
  9. 2
    Off the top of one's head:

    How did Florence Nightingale get her nickname, "The Lady With the Lamp"?
    During the Crimean war Miss. Nightingale made her night rounds on the wards via oil or candle lamp. This lead to several media articles of her work in such places as the Times praising her as a ministering "angel with a lamp".

    What was her sister's name?

    What animal did Florence Nightingale carry with her, even when doing hospital rounds?

    Was Florence Nightingale ever married?
    No, Miss. Nightingale never married much to the dismay of her family. She was pushed to marry a cousin but declined/got out of it again much to the angst of her family who saw the match as a way of aligning two branches of the family. There would be other subsequent offers of marriage, but they were declined as well.


    What is the name of the nursing school Florence Nightingale opened in 1860?
    The Nightingale Training School for Nurses, St. Thomas Hospital

    How did Florence Nightingale get her name?
    She was born in Florence, Italy

    What was the cause of death for Florence Nightingale?
    Varies depending upon sources, but the most common given cause was brucellosis.

    Where is Florence Nightingale buried?
    A churchyard in Hampshire after her family declined Westminster Abbey.
    tnbutterfly and nursel56 like this.
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    Not knocking the excellent body of work produced by FN, but her movement of nursing education and governance into hospital has cast a pall over the profession that had lasting consequences.

    More than one hundred years later though hospitals no longer educate a bulk of nurses in most countries, they still exert tremendous control over the profession, especially in the United States. Indeed some wonder if nursing will ever reach autonomous professional status in any part of the Untied States at least for one reason, a large part of the profession cannot practice independent of hospitals and therefore that body still maintains a strong control.
    tnbutterfly and nursel56 like this.
  11. 0
    I've posted this before so I hope nobody minds me posting it again here but I find it just fascinating for some reason - the actual voice of Florence Nightingale in a scratchy old 1890 audio..what she says is so sweet.

    'When I am no longer even a memory, just a name, I hope my voice may perpetuate the great work of my life. God bless my dear old comrades of Balaclava and bring them safe to shore."

    Florence Nightingale 2nd rendition, 1890: greetings to the dear old comrades of Balaclava

    DGTG off the top of one's head! I'm in awe!

    OK my creative answer is that her pet was an owl! Haha no wait it really was an owl that she rescued as a baby that fell off the Parthenon in Athens.
    Last edit by nursel56 on May 12, '13 : Reason: trivia
  12. 1
    Thanks for posting that, nursel56!!

    Here is the same recording via youtube. This one includes some photos as well.

    nursel56 likes this.
  13. 1
    DoGoodThenGo.........your knowledge of Florence Nightingale is impressive!!!
    nursel56 likes this.


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