Florence Nightingale is remembered throughout the world for her heroic, almost superhuman labors in the field of nursing. Florence Nightingale was born in Italy in 1820 and was named Florence after her birthplace. A brilliant child, Florence attained outstanding academic achievement in her years attending school. Florence grew up to be a lively and attractive young woman, admired in her families elite social circle and was expected to make a good marriage, but Florence had other concerns.
In 1837, Florence was called by God to do his work. However, Florence did not hear voices or see visions. God called her by making her think for herself. She did not think that she out to do what her family and all of society expected of herto either get married or look after her married relatives. She wanted to have a career, and this was very unusual of a woman in this time. Florence knew she wanted to help others on her own, but had no idea what she could do.
Florence refused to marry several suitors, and at the age of twenty-five told her parents that she wanted to become a nurse. Her parents were appalled at this decision because the idea of nursing was associate with working class women and it was not considered a suitable profession for well-educated women.
While the family conflicts over Florences future remained unsolved it was decided that Florence would tour Europe. In her travels, Florence undertook months of nursing training, unbeknownst to her family.
Florence returned home, still with the dream to become a working nurse, and again voiced this idea to her parents. Her parrients finally agreed and Florence was allowed to become a nurse.
Florence, now thirty-one went to work at Kaserworth Hospital in Germany, and was later promoted and moved to a hospital in London.
In 1854 Britain, France and Turkey declared war on Russia, marking the begging of the Crimean War. The allies had the upper hand in the war but there were vast criticisms of the medical felicities for the wounded soldiers.
In response, Florence asked and was granted permission to take a group of thirty-eight women nurses to look after the British soldiers fighting in the war.
Nightingale found the conditions of the hospitals appalling. The men were kept in rooms without blankets or decent food. Unwashed, they were still wearing their army uniforms, still with dirt and gore. In these conditions, Florence was not surprised that war wounds accounted for one out of every six deaths in the war. Diseases such at typhus, chorea, and dysentery ran rampant among the wounded soldiers.
Military officers and doctors objected to Nightingales view of reforming military hospitals. They interpreted her comments as an attack and she was made to feel unwelcome. Nightingale received very little help from the military until she used a contact from the London Times to report the details of the way that the British Army treated its wounded soldiers. Nightingale was given the task of organizing the barracks and by improving the quality of sanitation she was able to dramatically reduce the death rate of her patients.
Florence gained respect, and was well known amongst the soldiers. The lady in Chief, as Nightingale was called, wrote home on behalf of the solders. She acted as a banker, sending the mens wages home to their families, and introduced reading rooms to the hospital. Nightengale was also known as the land with the lamp because she roamed the halls of the hospital, late at night, when the doctors were fast asleep, caring for the sick and wounded.
The introduction of female nurses to the military hospitals was an outstanding success, and to show the nations gratitude for Miss Nightingales hard work a charity was organized to support her work. The money collected was to enable Florence Nightingale to continue her reform of nursing in the civil hospitals of Britain.
In 1856, Nightingale returned to England as a national heroine. She had been deeply shocked by the lack of hygiene and elementary care that the men received in the British Army. Nightingale therefore decided to begin a campaign to improve the quality of nursing in military hospitals. Her work resulted in the formation of the Army Medical College
To spread her opinions on reform, Nightingale published two books, Notes on Hospital, and Notes on Nursing. Notes on Nursing became a widely popular book, which laid down the principals of nursing: careful observation and sensitivity to patients needs, it was translated into eleven different languages and is still in print today.With the support of wealthy friends and The London Times Florence was able to raise one million dollars, a terrific amount of money in those days, to improve the quality of nursing. In 1860, she used this money to found the Nightingale School and Home for Nurses at Saint Thomas Hospital. She also became involved in the training of nurses for work in the workhouses.
In later life Florence Nightingale suffered from poor health and in 1895 she went blind, and soon afterwards and then became bedridden due to illness contracted when she was a nurse in the war. Bedridden, Florence still campaigned tirelessly to improve heath standards, publishing over 200 books, reports and pamphlets.
In recognition of her hard work Queen Victoria awarded Florence the Royal Red Cross in 1883. In her old age she received many honors, including the Order of Merit, becoming the first woman to receive it.
Florence Nightingale died at home at the age of 90 in August 13, 1910.
Florence Nightingale was more than a nurse. She was an outstanding, courageous woman. Her reforms have influenced the nature of modern heath care and her writing continue to be a resource for doctors, nurses, and many others worldwide. Her long life of continuous effort, marked by achievements of truly amazing character which have lived, grown and spread to the ends of the earth. Her reforms were fundamental and searching. They struck at the root of things, dealing with hospitals, the heath of the British Soldiers, the heath of the working people, and the rights of women.
Florence was outstanding, extraordinary, and loving. She did not ignore, the invalid, the deaf, the mute, the blind, she saw people and loved and nurtured them. She was a miracle brought to life.
When I am no longer even a memory, just a name, I hope my voice may perpetuate the great work of my life.
Honestly, Florence Nightingale was just a name to me before I wrote this speech. But as I sat in Mrs. Mross class, wondering whom I should write my speech on, I turned around and there she was a heroic woman, Florence Nightingale.