- Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy, on May 12, 1820, to Frances and William Shore Nightingale. She was the younger of two sisters and brothers. The wealthy British family of Florence Nightingale belonged to the upper crust of society. Frances, her mother, came from a merchant family and took pride in mingling with individuals of high social standing.
- Florence was apparently uneasy in social situations, despite her mother’s desire for social climbing. She tried to stay out of the spotlight whenever possible. Florence was a strong-willed woman who frequently clashed with her mother, whom she saw as being unduly domineering. Nonetheless, she was eager to please her mother, as are many daughters. “I think I am got something more good-natured and complying,” Florence wrote in her own defense, concerning the mother-daughter relationship.
- Florence’s father, William Shore Nightingale, was a wealthy landowner who inherited two estates when Florence was five years old: one in Derbyshire, Lea Hurst, and the other in Hampshire, Embley Park. Florence grew up on the family estate at Lea Hurst, where her father gave her a classical education that included German, French, and Italian studies.
- Florence Nightingale was a philanthropist from an early age, tending to the sick and poor in the village next to her family’s land. She knew she wanted to be a nurse by the time she was sixteen years old. It was her divine mission, she believed.
- Nightingale returned to London in the early 1850s, taking a job as a nurse in a Middlesex hospital for unwell governesses. Nightingale’s work impressed her boss so much that she was elevated to superintendent after only a year on the job.
- Nightingale’s job was difficult since she was dealing with a cholera outbreak and unclean surroundings that aided the disease’s rapid spread. Nightingale made it her mission to enhance sanitary methods, resulting in a dramatic reduction in the hospital’s death rate. Her health suffered as a result of her hard work. When the hardest obstacle of her nursing career presented itself, she had hardly recovered.
The Influence of Florence Nightingale on Nursing
- The money was put to good use by Nightingale, who opted to utilize it to advance her mission. She helped fund the establishment of St. Thomas’ Hospital in 1860, as well as the Nightingale Training School for Nurses within it.
- Nightingale became a public figure of adoration. In honor of the heroine, poems, songs, and plays were composed and dedicated. She was idolized by young women who wished to be like her.
- Even wealthy upper-class ladies began enrolling at the training school, eager to follow in her footsteps. Nursing was no longer frowned upon by the upper classes thanks to Nightingale; in fact, it had grown to be seen as a respectable profession.