History's HEROES? Dated 12/05/1820 - 13/08/1910

Florence Nightingale

Created by

Verity F


She healed wounded soldiers in the Crimean War


  • Healed wounded soldiers in the Crimean war
  • Invented the pie chart


  • Brave / Courageous
  • A good and strong leader
  • Clever
  • Single minded / Focused (has a purpose)
  • Inspiring / Charismatic
  • Determined
  • Wise
  • Honest
  • Kind and compassionate

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A famous English nurse who healed wounded soldiers

Florence Nightingale, nicknamed Lady of the Lamp, was a famous English nurse in the Crimean war which was held in Russia.

Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing establishing, in 1860, of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London, the first secular nursing school in the world. The Nightingale Pledge, taken by new nurses, was named in her honour, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday.

Florence Nightingale's most famous contribution came during the Crimean War, which became her focus when reports came back to Britain about the terrible conditions for the wounded. On 21 October 1854, she and a staff of 38 women volunteer nurses, trained by Nightingale and including her aunt Mai Smith, were sent to the Ottoman Empire, across the Black Sea from Balaklava in the Crimea, where the main British camp was based.

Nightingale arrived early in November 1854 at Selimiye Barracks in Scutari. She and her nurses found wounded soldiers being badly cared for by overworked medical staff. Medicines were in short supply, hygiene was neglected, and mass infections were common, many of them fatal. There was no equipment to process food for the patients.

However, death rates did not drop: they began to rise. The death count was the highest of all hospitals in the region. During her first winter at Scutari, 4,077 soldiers died there. Ten times more soldiers died from illnesses such as typhus, typhoid, cholera and dysentery than from battle wounds. Conditions at the temporary barracks hospital were so fatal to the patients because of overcrowding and the hospital's poor sewers and lack of ventilation.

A Sanitary Commission was sent out by the British government to Scutari in March 1855, almost six months after Florence Nightingale had arrived, and flushed out the sewers and improved the ventilation. Death rates were sharply reduced. During the war she did not recognise hygiene as the main cause of death, and she never claimed credit for helping to reduce the death rate.

Nightingale believed the death rates were due to poor food and supplies and overworking of the soldiers. It was not until after she returned to Britain and began collecting evidence for the Royal Commission on the Health of the Army, that she came to believe that most of the soldiers at the hospital were killed by poor living conditions.

This experience influenced her later career, when she advocated cleanliness as of great importance. Consequently, she reduced deaths in the army during peacetime and turned attention to the sanitary design of hospitals.

Life in Florence Nightingale's world

The Victorian era of the United Kingdom was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The reign was a long period of prosperity for the British people, as profits gained from the overseas British Empire, as well as from industrial improvements at home. Some scholars extend the beginning of the period "as defined by a variety of sensibilities and political games that have come to be associated with the Victorians" back five years to the passage of the Reform Act 1832.

Was Florence Nightingale a Hero?

  • She invented the pie chart
  • She healed the wounded soldiers

Things you might not know about Florence Nightingale

She invented the pie chart.


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