Florence Nightingale, the nurse who wanted to change the world

International Nursing Day is celebrated every May 12, thus commemorating the date of the birth of Florence Nightingale (May 12, 1820, London), the pioneer of modern Nursing.

During this event, different enclaves and emblematic monuments of different Spanish cities will light up in blue, in tribute to the extraordinary work of the more than 307,000 male and female nurses in Spain.

But, Who Was Florence Nightingale? Hers is a peculiar case: she is one of the few women who was already recognized in her time and for her work, as a promoter of modern nursing. So, it’s a feminist symbol. In May it will be 200 years since his birth.

They named her the city where she was born, Florence, but she was the daughter of a wealthy and liberal English family for what was the time. Her maternal grandfather, William Smith, He was a dissident Christian MP, slavery abolitionist and supporter of the French Revolution, and his granddaughter seems to have inherited his revolutionary spirit and social reformism.

She was educated more than many ladies of her time and, unlike most of them, she refused to marry and dedicate herself to a family. Only 17 years old, he said he had lived “a call from God to do good”, but he did not enter a convent. I wanted to work as a nurse or educator for the poor or criminals.

She was a British nurse, writer, and statistician, considered the forerunner of modern professional nursing and the creator of the first conceptual nursing model. From a young age he excelled in mathematics, and completed his studies and applied his statistical knowledge to epidemiology and health statistics. She was the first woman admitted to the British Royal Statistical Society, and an honorary member of the American Statistical Association.

He laid the foundations for the professionalization of nursing with the establishment, in 1860, of his nursing school at Saint Thomas Hospital in London, now an integral part of King’s College London and the NHS. It was the first lay nursing school in the world.

Several nurses celebrate the anniversary of Florence Nightingale

Inspiration for the Red Cross

His work was the source of inspiration for Henri Dunant, founder of the Red Cross and author of the humanitarian proposals adopted by the Geneva convention.

In Anglican faith, she believed that God had inspired her to be a nurse. She became world famous for her pioneering nursing work in assisting the wounded during the Crimean War. From that moment on, she was known as “the lady with the lamp”, due to her habit of making night rounds with a lamp to attend to her patients.

In 1883, Queen Victoria awarded her the Royal Red Cross, and in 1907 she became the first woman to receive the United Kingdom Order of Merit In 1908, she was awarded the Keys to the City of London.

The Nightingale oath taken by nurses upon graduation was created in his honor in 1893. International Nursing Day is celebrated on his birthday.

London pays tribute to Florence Nightingale
London pays tribute to Florence Nightingale

Improvement of the social situation of women

Although her work resulted in an improvement in the social status of women, she preferred friendship with influential men, often referring to herself in masculine terms, such as “a man of action” and a “man business ».

However, he made several important friendships with women. He had a long correspondence with an Irish nun, Sister Mary Clare Moore, with whom he had worked in the Crimea, and his most beloved confidant was Mary Clarke, a British woman whom he met in 1837 and with whom he maintained contact throughout his life.

The grave of Florence Nightingale at St. Margaret’s Church Cemetery, East Wellow, Hampshire.

Some researchers claim that she remained chaste throughout her life, either because she felt an almost religious duty to her career, or because she lived in times when rigid Victorian sexual morality prevailed.

Death at 90

On August 13, 1910, at age 90, he passed away while sleeping in his room at 10 South Street, Park Lane. The offer of burial at Westminster Abbey was rejected by family members, and she was buried in St. Margaret’s Church Cemetery in East Wellow, Hampshire.