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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale

Today, the 12th of May, is Florence Nightingale’s birthday. As you may know, today is also the final day of National Nurses Week. As 2016’s National Nurses Week comes to a close, we thought it would be fitting to create a post dedicated to Nightingale, who is known by many to be the founder of modern nursing. To keep things interesting, here are some of the little-known facts associated with Nightingale. Without further ado, the 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about Florence Nightingale:

  1. Nightingale Was Born in Italy

Nightingale’s parents were both British, but she was actually born in Florence, Italy, which she was named after. Her family returned to England the year after her birth, where she had an upper-class upbringing. Interestingly, Nightingale’s older sister, Frances Parthenope, was also born outside of England and also named after the city of her birth.

  1. She Was a Polyglot

Florence Nightingale was a polyglot, which means she mastered several different languages. She fluently spoke English, German, French, and Italian, and she also had an understanding of both classical Greek and Latin. At an early age, her father, who was a Cambridge graduate, supervised her education and sparked her early interest in language.

  1. Her Parents Didn’t Want Her in Nursing

When Nightingale first told her parents about her interest in nursing, they were less than pleased. Of course, back in the early-to-mid 1800s, nursing wasn’t the respected profession it is today. Instead, it was seen as a low-paying job for women of low social status.

  1. The Press Loved Her

Often seen caring for wounded soldiers well into the night, Nightingale earned one of her most well-known nicknames, “The Lady with the Lamp,” when an article in the London Times covered her efforts in Crimea. After the details of Nightingale’s hard work hit the press, she became a popular figure throughout the United Kingdom.

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2 Responses to 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Florence Nightingale

  1. Molly Stokes RN

    She forbade the doctors from seeing patients on the wards until they removed their bloody gowns and washed their hands, thereby reducing the infection rate. The Minnesota Nurses Assoc. has a framed letter from her to a young woman inquiring about studies for nursing.

    • Molly Stokes RN

      I also can recite the Florence Nightingale pledge that we had to take when we were “capped.”.

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