Florence Nightingale

The Lady with the Lamp

Florence Nightingale   (/ˈnaɪtɪŋɡeɪl/; 12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910) was an English social reformer, statistician and the founder of modern nursing.

Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, in which she organized care for wounded soldiers at Constantinople.

She significantly reduced death rates by improving hygiene and living standards. Nightingale gave nursing a favorable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture,

Born on 12 May 1820 into a wealthy and well-connected British family at the Villa Colombaia,  in Florence, Tuscany, Italy, was named after the city of her birth

Florence's older sister Frances Parthenope had similarly been named after her place of birth, Parthenope, a Greek settlement now part of the city of Naples.

The family moved back to England in 1821, with Nightingale being brought up in the family's homes at Embley Hampshire, and Lea Hurst, Derbyshire.  She inherited a liberal-humanitarian outlook 

Her parents were William Edward Nightingale, born William Edward Shore (1794–1874) and Frances ("Fanny") Nightingale (née Smith; 1788–1880).

William's mother Mary (née Evans) was the niece of Peter Nightingale, under the terms of whose will William inherited his estate at Lea Hurst, and assumed the name and arms of Nightingale.

Fanny's father (Florence's maternal grandfather) was the abolitionist and Unitarian William Smith.  Nightingale's father educated her.

A BBC documentary reported that "Florence and her older sister Parthenope benefited from their father's advanced ideas about women's education.

They studied history, mathematics, Italian, classical literature, and philosophy,

The persona of "The Lady with the Lamp" making rounds of wounded soldiers at night

From an early age Florence, who was the more academic of the two girls, displayed an extraordinary ability for collecting and analyzing data which she would use to great effect in later life."

In 1838, her father took the family on a tour in Europe where she was introduced to the English-born Parisian hostess Mary Clarke, with whom Florence bonded.

She recorded that "Clarkey" was a stimulating hostess who did not care for her appearance, and while her ideas did not always agree with those of her guests, "she was incapable of boring anyone."

Her behavior was said to be exasperating and eccentric and she had little respect for upper-class British women, whom she regarded generally as inconsequential.

She said that if given the choice between being a woman or a galley slave, then she would choose the freedom of the galleys, generally rejected female company, spent her time with male intellectuals

Clarke made an exception, however, in the case of the Nightingale family and Florence in particular. She and Florence were to remain close friends for 40 years despite their 27-year age difference.

She was respectful of her family's opposition to her working as a nurse, only announcing her decision to enter the field in 1844.

Nightingale underwent the first of several experiences that she believed were calls from God in Feb 1837 while at Embley Park, prompting a strong desire to devote her life to the service of others

Nightingale's Crimean War achievements were exaggerated by the media at the time, but critics agree on the importance of her later work in professionalizing nursing roles for women.

In 1860, she laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London. It was the first secular nursing school in the world

In recognition of her pioneering work in nursing, the Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses, and the Florence Nightingale Medal,

the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve, were named in her honor, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated on her birthday.

Her social reforms included improving healthcare for all sections of British society, advocating better hunger relief in India, helping to abolish prostitution laws that were harsh for women,

The acceptable forms of female participation in the workforce. Nightingale was a pioneer in statistics; she represented her analysis in graphical forms to ease drawing conclusions & actionables 

She is famous for usage of the polar area diagram, also called the Nightingale rose diagram, equivalent to a modern circular histogram. This diagram is still regularly used in data visualization.

Nightingale was a prodigious and versatile writer. In her lifetime, much of her published work was concerned with spreading medical knowledge.

Some of her tracts were written in simple English so that they could easily be understood by those with poor literacy skills.

She was also a pioneer in data visualization with the use of infographics, using graphical presentations of statistical data in an effective way.

using graphical presentations of statistical data in an effective way.  Much of her writing, including her extensive work on religion and mysticism, has only been published posthumously.