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Happy Birthday,
Florence Nightingale

(1820 - 1910)

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Sources: Florence Nightingale Museum, Encyclopedia Britannica
On May 12, the final day of National Nurses Week, we celebrate the 199th birthday of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.
Affectionately known as “the lady with the lamp,” Nightingale remains a role model for nurses in the 21st century. Her care of soldiers during the Crimean War is legendary, and her thoughts on nursing, ethics and various other topics still resonate today in her published works and letters. Here’s a look at some of the most memorable moments in Nightingale’s life — and some of her most memorable quotes.
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Florence Nightingale is born at Villa La Colombaia in Florence, Italy, to a wealthy British family. The family moves to Lea Hurst estate in Derbyshire, England. Florence has one older sister, Parthenope.
May 12, 1820
Nightingale experiences a “Christian calling” to become a nurse while living at Embley Park in Wellow, England.
Feb. 7, 1837
Nightingale begins to visit hospitals.
1844
Nightingale becomes the leading advocate for improved medical care in the infirmaries through the reform of the so-called Poor Laws.
December 1844
Nightingale declares her intention to become a nurse. She visits St. Vincent de Paul Sisters of Charity convent, where she learns nursing theory.
1845
Nightingale makes her first visit to Protestant Deaconess at Kaiserwerth, which cared for the poor and later became a training school for nurses and teachers.
1850
Nightingale spends three months training as a sick nurse at Kaiserwerth.
1851
Nightingale accepts a job as post of superintendent at the Institute for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen in Upper Harley Street, London.
Aug. 22, 1853
Nightingale arrives in Turkey with 38 nurses and is stationed at Selimiye Barracks in Scutari (Istanbul).
1854
Nightingale nurses British soldiers through outbreaks of cholera and typhus fever.
1855
A public meeting to give recognition to Nightingale for her work during the war leads to the establishment of the Nightingale Fund for the training of nurses.
Nov. 29, 1855
After every patient had returned to Britain, Nightingale follows. She meets with Queen Victoria at Balmoral and tells her about the defects in military hospitals and needed nursing reforms. Nightingale plays a central role in the establishment of the Royal Commission on the Health of the Army.
Aug. 7, 1856
After collapsing, Nightingale is sent to Malvern, a healthcare resort, where she is put on bed rest for exhaustion.
August 1857
In her report “Notes on Matters Affecting the Health of the British Army,” Nightingale creates statistical charts to show the number of men who died from the conditions in the hospitals compared with those who died from their wounds.
1858
Nightingale is elected the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society and becomes an honorary member of the American Statistical Association. Nightingale’s 136-page introduction to nursing titled “Notes on Nursing” is published.
1860
Nightingale’s attention turns to the mortality and sickness rates of British troops and citizens in India. She gathers statistics and recommends sanitation procedures.
1860
The Nightingale Fund is used to set up the Nightingale Training School at St. Thomas’ Hospital.
July 9, 1860
The first trained Nightingale nurses begin work at the Liverpool Workhouse Infirmary.
May 16, 1865
Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell and Nightingale open the Women’s Medical College.
1869
Queen Victoria honors Nightingale with the Royal Red Cross.
1883
With the help of the County Council Technical Instruction Committee, Nightingale organizes a health crusade in Buckinghamshire.
1892
Nightingale is bedridden again, but continues to work on hospital plans.
1896
Nightingale becomes the first woman to receive the Order of Merit from King Edward VII.
1907
Nightingale passes away at age 90 in London. She is buried in the graveyard at St. Margaret Church in East Wellow, Hampshire, England.
Aug. 13, 1910
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Happy Birthday, Nightingale
A special timeline illustrates quite an extraordinary life.
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