Born on 12 May 1820 in Florence, Italy, to William Nightingale and Feeney, Florence Nightingale grew up in England. Florence Nightingale is known as the father of modern nursing. International Nurses Day is celebrated on the special occasion of her birthday. Florence, of a wealthy family, had realized at the age of 16 that she had been born to serve. Florence wanted to become a nurse and study mathematics, science and history. She wanted to help patients, the poor and the victims.
Wealthy father William was against this desire of Florence, as nursing was not considered a respected profession at the time. Hospitals were also dirty and dying of the sick seemed like horror. Florence got her insistence on service and in the year 1851 she started studying nursing. In 1853 she opened a women’s hospital in London.
When the Crimea War took place in 1854, British troops were sent to fight in Crimea in the south of Russia. Britain, France and Turkey fought with Russia. When news of soldiers being injured and dying came from the war, Florence arrived there with nurses. There were very bad circumstances. Dirt, odor, lack of equipment, beds, drinking water, etc., among many inconveniences, spread the disease very fast and soldiers died due to infection. Florence improved the condition of the hospital and paid attention to the bathing, eating, dressing of wounds, etc. of the patients. The condition of the soldiers improved considerably.
In the war period, Florence Nightingale united day and night under the care of wounded and sick soldiers. At night, when everyone was sleeping, she went to the soldiers to see if they had any problem. She used to stay in service to enable the soldiers to sleep comfortably. Florence letters were also sent by soldiers to their family members. She used to go to see patients at night with a lantern in her hand and for this reason soldiers respectfully and lovingly called her ‘Lady with Lamp’. When she returned after the war in 1856, her name became famous.
Florence Nightingale died on August 13, 1919. Her birthday began to be celebrated as Nurses Day in honor of Florence Nightingale. On this special occasion, nurses who have made significant contributions in the field of nursing are also honored with the Florence Nightingale Award.