This Nurse Known as "the Lady with the Lamp" Revolutionized Healthcare

Who: Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing; trailblazing statistician; health hero; May 12, 1820-August 13, 1910

Why She Dazzles: Florence is famously known as the “Lady with the Lamp.” She was a compassionate, dedicated nurse who made night rounds to aid the wounded during the Crimean War and ultimately became a world-renowned healthcare warrior. As a young woman, she knew she wanted to help those suffering and eventually became a nurse, defying her wealthy parents’ desire for her to marry rich. During the Crimean War in 1854, Florence organized and led a team of nurses from England to a British base hospital in Constantinople (now Istanbul). More soldiers were dying in the hospital from disease than their battle wounds. She and her nurses transformed the hospital and made it cleaner and more sanitary, and the death toll drastically decreased. Florence was also so skilled with data and statistics that she was the first woman elected to the Royal Statistical Society.

Why You Need to Know Her Today: The coronavirus. With healthcare workers risking their own lives to save others, we should also pay homage to Florence for being the nurse responsible for making hospitals cleaner and safer. She proposed and inspired worldwide health reform that encouraged good patient care, particularly through her writings about healthcare. Her book Notes on Nursing is still in print today. FYI International Nurse Day is celebrated on her birthday in May.

What She Would Say—Because She Said It Then: “Live life when you have it. Life is a splendid gift—there is nothing small about it.”

Where She May Like to Instagram: The Florence Nightingale Museum in London, where she founded the Nightingale Training School for Nurses. Here visitors can see artifacts celebrating her life and career. Sadly, she was bedridden by her early 40s from an illness she picked up in Crimea, but she continued to train nurses, write, and improve healthcare as an authority and advocate.

What the Ladies Rocked Then: For Florence’s heroic work in Crimea, Queen Victoria gifted her with an engraved brooch that became known as the "Nightingale Jewel". The gold brooch with a red cross, diamonds, and green enamel stood as badge of royal appreciation.

How You Can Rock It Now: Victorian brooches and earrings often featured intricate gold designs, semi-precious stones in delicate designs, especially at the beginning of the 20th century when women started wearing lower necklines with upswept hair.

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Florence Nightingale: Beautiful. Bold. Brilliant.

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Florence Nightingale Foundation's White Rose Appeal