Florence Nightingale starts first secular nursing school

Florence Nightingale portrait
Florence Nightingale

“I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel.”

Florence Nightingale found her calling to be a nurse while still in her mid teens. At the time though, nursing was not a profession to aspire for for a woman of a high social class. “Nurses in those days were typically poor, unskilled and often associated with immoral behavior. And the hospitals they served held equally low reputations as unclean, disorderly, and infection breeding. They were often regarded merely as places to die.”

In the stubbornness that maybe only youthful ignorance brings, Florence rejected marriage, rejected the calls of her family to pursue a path more in line with a woman of her class and followed what she described as a calling for social reform.

When she became a nurse, her impact was felt immediately. Serving in the Crimean war, she changed procedures, attitudes, improved standards, ensured better sanitation. Maybe simply said, she worked tirelessly to make sure people cared. And change happened.

Florence continued on to start the first secular nursing school in the world. Her school trained people who would become nurses all over the world.

Looking back on her life, she said, “I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse.”

Happy International Nurses Day.

“Florence Nightingale starts first secular nursing school” sources: The Life of Florence Nightingale, Reynolds-Finley Historical Library, University of Alabama-Birmingham / Photograph taken in 1858 – The life of Florence Nightingale (1913) by Edward Cook / Wikimedia Commons.