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Who Was Florence Nightingale and What Did She Do?

Updated on December 10, 2011
Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale

Many people have heard of the name Florence Nightingale, and they know that she is a historic figure.

However, there are not a lot of people who know exactly who she was, or how she left her mark on future generations.

Most people who know her name realize that she was a nurse, but they cannot state any other facts about this historic heroine.

Some people even believe that she is a myth.

Her gifts to women's history, and human history overall are legendary indeed, but alas. . . she is not a myth.

Florence Nightingale was a living, breathing person whose contributions continue to save the lives of millions of people

Artists Rendition of Florence Nightingale Nursing Sick Soldiers
Artists Rendition of Florence Nightingale Nursing Sick Soldiers

Florence Nightingale was a 19th Century nurse who first gained recognition for her medical contributions to wounded soldiers during the Crimean War (October 1853 - February 1856).

This was no small task because conditions for soldiers during the Crimean War are known to have been exceedingly gruesome.

Upon voluntary arrival to the Ottoman Empire during the war, Nightingale and her personally trained staff of nearly 40 nurses noticed the unsanitary conditions under which wounded soldiers were kept.

She and her staff cared for the soldiers, and made sanitary changes that resulted in a dramatic reduction to the mass infections that ravaged the wounded.

Her ideals about proper sanitation were documented and eventually instituted into normal medical practice.

Today, we know that proper hygiene and sanitation are key elements to proper health care, but it was Florence Nightingale who first made the world aware of the issue.

Among other key accomplishments, Florence Nightingale was a prolific writer, and a mathematician, both of which were highly unusual endeavors for affluent women during the period of time in which she lived.

Additionally, Nightingale is sometimes coined as “the mother of nursing” because she established one of the first official training programs for the profession.

Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820, in the city of Florence, Italy to wealthy British parents. She died on August 13, 1910, at 90 years of age.


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    • rebelogilbert profile image

      Gilbert Arevalo 

      3 years ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      Rachel, very nice summary on the historical significance credited to Florence Nightingale. You helped sharpen my history knowledge.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      5 years ago from UpstateWestern,New York

      Rachel....Very interesting. In your 2nd paragraph, I will assume you meant to include the word "DON'T"......exactly know who she was.... And in my case, you would be partially correct.

      I knew she was a Nurse and that she tended to soldiers at a time in History. I appreciate the additional information you have provided via this educational hub. Good read. Up+++

    • profile image


      6 years ago


    • stars439 profile image


      7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Dear Rachelle : Noticed this hub about Florence Nightingale. I thought she might have been and elegant government agent for the British, or U.S. government. Thank you for the knowledge that she was a wonderful nurse that brought about the creation of Hygiene among the ill. God Bless You.

    • Rachelle Williams profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachelle Williams 

      8 years ago from Tempe, AZ

      @ Admiral_Joraxx - Ahhh...a singer, I actually never thought about that one. Thanks for the vote up

    • Admiral_Joraxx profile image


      8 years ago from Philippines

      So, she was the mother of nursing? Her name likely suggest that she was a singer. I thought before. Thanks for sharing this information. 1 vote up for this.

    • Rachelle Williams profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachelle Williams 

      8 years ago from Tempe, AZ

      @ ronhi - She is an inspiration to me as well.

      @ romari - This is why I created this hub, now you know that she is not a bird! :)

    • romari profile image

      Rose Maria Rica D. Fuentes 

      8 years ago from Heaven

      I thought florence nightingale is a

    • ronhi profile image


      8 years ago from Kenya

      Very informative. She is indeed an icon and even though am not a medic, she is still an inspiration to me. Thanks for sharing this useful information. Voted up, awesome, useful, interesting


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