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Facts About Florence Nightingale for Children

Florence Nightingale   

On the 12th of May 1820 in Florence, Italy, a baby girl was born and she was named Florence Nightingale, she was the daughter of a wealthy landowner in Derbyshire and this is where she was brought up spending all of her summers there.  In the winter months, Florence would be taken to Hampshire so her time would be spent there. 

It was for Florence very hard being the daughter of a wealthy landowner because nothing was expected of her apart than to simply sit around and be a lady of leisure.  This infuriated Florence as she wanted to do something and the boredom was becoming unbearable. 

In the late 1820’s when Florence was born, there were many young girls who were less fortunate therefore they never received any education and for most as a child they experienced a lot of hardship in their lives.  Florence was very fortunate having a wealthy father and never experienced any of this.

Florence’s father William Nightingale was in the belief that all women should have the right to receive an education; it was William himself that was to teach Florence and her sister a variety of subjects.  The subjects he taught them ranged from philosophy, history, science, and mathematics.

As Florence was growing up she was developing an interest in helping others, it was never surprising to those who knew her that quite often she would be found caring for sick pets and also any servants who were poorly.  At seventeen years of age, she had a strong belief that God was calling her to help the poor and sick.

Much to Florence’s dismay her parents at the beginning would not allow her to go into nursing, their opinion was that it wasn’t a suitable profession for someone with her education.  Florence though was a very determined young lady and would not give up and it was much later in 1851 that Florence was given permission by her father to train as a nurse in Germany.

In 1854 the Crimean war broke out and it was later that Florence Nightingale was to go to Turkey, she had been asked to manage the nursing of wounded British Soldiers in the Crimean war (1854-1856).  Scutari is where Florence travelled to as this was the location for all wounded and ill soldiers of the war.

The conditions she found at the hospital were in a very poor state, she found many of the wounded had not been washed and the rooms where they slept were overcrowded and dirty, with no blankets and the food unbearable.  It was to no surprise that diseases quickly spread like cholera, typhus and dysentery as a result of this the death rate was high losing many of the wounded soldiers from these infections and diseases.  The death rate was higher for those dying from disease and infection than their war wounds.

It was due to Florence and her nurses that conditions soon started to change, they set up their own kitchen, and the wounded were fed from their own supplies, latrines were dug for sanitation and they even asked the wives of the wounded to help.  It was because of all this hard work and dedication that the death rate among the soldiers began to fall.

It was because of Florence’s love and dedication to her job that it was not unknown for her to visit the soldiers at night checking that everyone was alright.  It was because of this that many referred to her as “The Lady of the Lamp” because she hardly slept herself always thinking of the sick and wounded first.  Florence Nightingale was to many a true hero especially to the soldiers and for everyone back in her homeland of England she was a truly remarkable young woman.         

This is an original news article © The Kids Window

Visit the Florence Nightingale Museum web site for further information, or visit the BBC web site for more information for children and teachers. 


One in a series of articles about Famous People written for children.
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