- Florence Nightingale
- Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), English nurse and hospital reformer, and generally considered to be the founder of modern nursing, was born in the Italian city of Florence, for which she was named. Her parents were well-to-do, and when she declared her interest in becoming a nurse, a family upheaval occurred. During those days the only women who served as nurses were prostitutes and other women of low repute. When the Crimean War broke1 out, Nightingale was the head of a hospital in London. She and thirty-eight other nurses offered their services to the British army. In 1854, she and her associates took over a poorly run hospital at Scutari. Nightingale worked as many as twenty hours a day and became known as the Lady with the Lamp because she visited her patients every night, a pattern that is now called "making the rounds." She also set up strict standards of sanitation and care. The results of this nursing care were remarkable: she reduced the death rate from 42 percent to 2 percent.Nightingale was venerated not only by the soldiers but also by the English public, who gave her a L50,000 fund in recognition of her accomplishments. She turned the fund over to St. Thomas's Hospital, in 1860, to found a school for nurses. She was the author of the classic Notes on Nursing, and remained the chief authority of the British government on matters pertaining to public, private, and military health. In 1907, she became the first woman to receive the British Order of Merit. Other than this Nightingale refused commendations and honors. A flannel scarf with sleeves for invalids sitting up in bed was named the Nightingale. A Florence Nightingale is a ministering angel, especially a nurse. She insisted that she be treated as an ordinary citizen and that she not be buried in Westminster. Her wishes were respected. When she died at age ninety, the Lady with the Lamp was buried in the family plot in a small country churchyard in Hampshire. The only people there were the six British soldiers who carried her casket.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.