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1. Florence Nightingale is named after the city of her birth: She was born May 12th, 1820 in the city of Florence, Italy to British parents Frances Nightingale and William Shore Nightingale.

2. Florence Nightingale chose to pursue nursing at a young age: Florence would tend to the sick and poor villages that lived close to the family estate and by the age of 16 knew that nursing was her life calling and believed God was calling her into his service.

‘God spoke to me and called me to His Service. What form this service was to take the voice did not say.’

3. Florence’s parents forbade her from becoming a nurse: At the age of 16 Florence shared her ambitions of becoming a nurse with her parents, but they objected because they claimed that women of her social class should not work but marry a man of modest means. Florence went on to refuse several marriage proposals and finally began learning the craft of nursing in 1850.

4. She was sent to Crimea to aid those in the war: November 4th, 1854, Florence arrived in Turkey with her team of 38 other nurses to aid in the Crimea war.

5. During the Crimean war Florence became known as ‘The lady with the lamp’: Florence and her team of nurses worked tirelessly to improve the hospitals conditions and ensure their patients survival. During her night-time walks visiting her patients, she would carry a small lamp to light her way, earning her the nickname ‘the lady with the lamp’. 

6. Florence pushed an inquiry that exposed shocking statistics about disease: After returning from the war Florence with the support of Queen Victoria,  persuaded the government to set up a Royal Commission to explore the health of the army. They uncovered some shocking statistics – that 16,000 out of 18,000 deaths were due to diseases, not battle wounds.

7. Florence worked with the government to enact sanitation laws: Florence used her influence and experience to bring about change within sanitation, and the results speak for themselves; by 1935, Britain’s national life expectancy had increased by 20 years. These improvements went on to be the foundations for modern nursing.

8. In 1860 the Nightingale School of Nursing at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, opened: The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery is still operational and is part of King’s College London.

9. In 1907, Florence became the first women to be inducted into the order of merit: The order was founded by Edward VII on the 23rd of June 1902, to reward those who had provided “exceptionally meritorious service in Our Crown Services or towards the advancement of Arts, Learning, Literature, and Science.”

10. On the anniversary of Florence’s birth, we also celebrate International Nurses Day: Each year on the 12th of May we thank and honour all nurses from around the world for their hard work and dedication.