The Lady with the Lamp | Sunday Observer

The Lady with the Lamp

20 June, 2021

Today, globally everyone is talking about medical personnel and their courageous dedication in the face of the deadly Covid- 19 pandemic. Nurses are front liners in any battle against diseases and this pandemic is no different. All over the world nurses are doing a heroic job with much courage and sacrifice in the true tradition of the ‘Lady with the Lamp – the founder of the nursing profession.

Who is this ‘Lady with the lamp’? She is a very brave, selfless and kind British woman who went to the battlefields of the Crimean War ( 1853 - 1856 ) with an equally courageous band of women and cared for the wounded and the dying soldiers.

Florence Nightingale was born to a well -to- do British family in Florence, Tuscany, Italy on May 12, 1820. She was given the name of the town where she was born- Florence. When she was a young girl the Nightingale family moved back to London, UK.

Her parents wanted Florence to get married and be a housewife and a mother but she had other ideas. In 1845, she started her training to be a nurse. In addition to her training Florence worked towards better conditions for the poor of England.

She was working in Harley Street, London when the Crimean War broke out. Many reports of how poorly the sick and injured were treated at the battlefield reached Florence Nightingale and she decided to go and see for herself. She discovered that the conditions in the Istanbul hospital where the injured was sent was very poor.

She also found out that the soldiers died more from sicknesses like cholera than from injuries in the battlefield.

Florence Nightingale had a good knowledge of mathematics and statistics. In this she was coached by William Farr, a founder of medical statistics in England and was also an epidemiological statistics expert. Working with Farr, Florence Nightingale proved to the British government that providing better conditions for injured and sick soldiers would better help them to win the Crimean War. Florence was helped in her Crimean War efforts by the then Secretary of War, Sydney Herbert.

On her return to England from the battlefields of the Crimean War Florence Nightingale started a School of Nursing at St. Thomas‘

Hospital in London. She founded the modern nursing profession. She was also a great writer and wrote many books on nursing. Some she wrote in simple English so that even those who could not readwell would be able to read and understand. Her most important book is Notes on Nursing.

She was given the name the ‘Lady of the Lamp’ as she used to walk around the hospital at night holding a lamp to check on the soldiers being treated there.

In 1907, Florence Nightingale became the first woman to be given the high honour of the Order of the Merit by British King, Edward Vll.

She lived to the ripe old age of 90 years and died in 1910 in London.

There are many statues of Florence Nightingale in the UK and a Florence Nightingale Museum in London.