Florence Nightingale: A heroic woman who transformed nursing
By Abbie Schierholt Hawknews Writer Florence Nightingale once said: “I think one's feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.” Florence lived by these words. Florence helped bring about huge changes in the field of nursing. She was known as the foundational philosopher of modern nursing. In the biography Florence Nightingale By Basil Miller, the author chronicled Florence’s life from when she was discouraged from going into the field of nursing, to when she was honored by Queen Victoria for saving many lives. This book clearly shows her passion and commitment for nursing and her story inspired my own desires to become a nurse. Florence Nightingale was born May 12, 1820, in Florence, Italy. She was named after the city she was born in. She came from a wealthy family, and her parents were well educated and cultured. She wanted to seek nursing training; however, her father wanted to keep her under his “tongue.” Despite his objections, she enrolled in a nursing school in Germany. She learned basic nursing skills and eventually became the superintendent of the Institution for Sick Gentlewomen in Distressed Circumstances. From 1884 to 1855, Florence Nightingale served during the Crimean War between the Turkish Ottoman Empire and Russia. Florence found that conditions were filthy, basic supplies were not available, and there was overcrowding. She worked to change these conditions, and reduced the death rate. Florence thought that most of the soldiers’ deaths were caused by these poor living conditions. After the war, she established her own school for nurses called the Nightingale Training School, and spent the rest of her life improving nurse training and developing simple rules of health. She is known as the modern founder of nursing. In 1910, at the age of 90 she died. Florence left many books, and notes about nursing that changed the world for the better. Florence Nightingale was one of the first “Women’s Libber.” Back then, women of Nightingale’s class didn’t go to universities and didn’t pursue careers. Women were expected to get married or have children. She was lucky because her father wanted her to be educated. She was able to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. As she once said, “ … and to devote my life to that profession, do you think that would be a dreadful thing?” The military doctors in the Crimean War got upset when Florence tried to change the way the hospitals were run. Female nurses had not served in wartime field hospitals before. They thought her ideas were insulting to their work. Most nurses were limited in what they were allowed to do. Florence proved to the male doctors that her changes such as sanitary equipment, clean bedding, and washed and warm clothes would reduce the death rate of the soldiers. She told them, “If the troops are not supplied with warm clothing, Napoleon’s Russian campaign will be repeated here.” Her courage to stand up for what she thought was right led the way for early women’s rights. Florence Nightingale had a great influence on the nursing profession, and she had a great passion for it. She once told her nurses, “… all of us shall be together nursing the sick people who shall be left behind…” Florence changed the nursing field by being cautious of germs, and making her patients as comfortable as possible. She started the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing at Kings College in London. Soldiers called her “The Lady with the Lamp” because of her dedication and care for their fellow soldiers. She would walk the hallways of the hospital late at night to check on all the patients, with a little lamp in her hands. There was no doubt she was committed to nursing the sick. What stood out the most about Florence was her faith in God. She refers to God even when she’s talking about medicine. “To understand God’s thoughts we must study statistics, for these are the measure of His purpose.” During the Crimean War, she must have had to rely on God’s protection and strength. It is said that she found great comfort in her religious beliefs. Florence felt that God called her to help prevent people from suffering. “How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.” Florence showed no fear only bravery, and love. The author, Basil Miller, did a wonderful job describing how Florence was a courageous, fearless woman who was not afraid of a challenge. There were many interesting details of her family and how they treated her. The pressure that her father and friends put her through must of been very discouraging. Unfortunately, the book included many confusing details and it was hard to stay interested. Overall, I enjoyed the book because it inspired me to keep pushing forward to become a nurse. Florence did not give up even though there were many challenging obstacles in her way. She was determined to help those in need. This book is not for entertaining. This book mainly consists of information about the famous Florence Nightingale. The biography was very detailed. Florence Nightingale by Basil Miller would be a great book if you are interested in many details about her family and the Crimean War.