Florence Nightingale belonged to the elite social circle of the British family. Being a daughter of the wealthy landowner who had inherited two estates, Florence avoid being the center of attention whenever possible. Florence was raised on the family estate at Lea Hurst, where her father provided her with a classical education, including studies in German, French and Italian.
From a very young age, Florence Nightingale was active in philanthropy, ministering to the ill and poor people in the village neighboring her family’s estate. By the time she was 16 years old, it was clear to her that nursing was her calling. She believed it to be her divine purpose. When Nightingale approached her parents and told them about her ambitions to become a nurse, they were not pleased. In fact, her parents forbade her to pursue nursing. She even denied her marriage proposal and was adamant to pursue her passion. In 1844, Nightingale enrolled as a nursing student at the Lutheran Hospital of Pastor Fliedner in Germany.
In October 1853, when the Crimean war broke out and thousands of British soldiers were in a pathetic condition, Nightingale rose for help. She assembled a team of 34 nurses from a variety of religious orders, and sailed with them to the Crimea. Soldiers were lying on the bloodstained floors because there were not enough beds. There was a shortage of everything including bandages, medicine, blankets, even soap and the wards were rat-infested—there was filth everywhere.
Once again Florence Nightingale could make good use of her administrative talents. Together with her team she set to work. Her nurses scrubbed the wards, corridors and lavatories. She reorganized the kitchens and set up a laundry. For months she worked up to twenty hours a day, ending each day by visiting the wounded soldiers, carrying a lamp in her hand. She achieved something very close to a miracle. Within six months the death rate among her patients had fallen from 420 in every thousand to only 22.
Florence was highly dedicated to her service and considered the soldiers as her own family. At night she would often visit the soldiers while every one was asleep just to make sure they were okay and dint need any thing. Therefore she was referred as “The Lady with the Lamp” who was dedicated towards her job and hardly took time off to sleep.
Florence Nightingale became one of the most admired and respected women of her time. Queen Victoria offered her a reward for the work she had done. Instead Florence Nightingale asked people to give money to set up schools to train nurses. In 1908, at the age of 88, she was conferred the merit of honor by King Edward.
The ‘Lady with the lamp’ –Florence Nightingale surrendered her life for the service of others and is still broadly acknowledged and revered as the pioneer of modern nursing.