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Here’s Why Florence Nightingale Was Called The Lady With The Lamp

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Here?s Why Florence Nightingale Was Called The Lady With The Lamp

Florence Nightingale is considered the founder of modern nursing

Florence Nightingale, the British nurse and social reformer, is considered the founder of modern nursing. She is credited with being the foundational philosopher of modern nursing and her name has become synonymous with the profession.

The icon is revered across the world as the “Lady with the Lamp.” It was Florence Nightingale’s work for wounded soldiers during the Crimean War that gained her the title. The war was fought between 1853 and 1856 and had the Russians on one side and the British, French, and Ottoman Turks on the other.

Amidst the war, in 1854, Florence Nightingale led a group of 38 officially sanctioned women and arrived at the Barrack Hospital, Scutari (now known as Uskudar in Istanbul) to treat the sick and wounded British troops. Once she arrived at the hospital, she witnessed an overwhelming number of injured soldiers, many of whom had also contracted other infections including the dreaded cholera.

In addition to procuring the required medicines and healthcare equipment, Florence Nightingale also ensured that the wards were tidied up and cleaned regularly. She also set and ensured compliance with basic healthcare standards, cleanliness, nutrition and personal hygiene levels. Additionally, she also tended to patients round-the-clock, often wandering the wards at night and caring out duties with a lamp in hand. It is, in fact, this practice that earned her the title “Lady with the Lamp.”

Following a report in The Times that described her working through the night, the image became a part of public consciousness. Then, American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow immortalised Florence Nightingale as the “Lady with the Lamp.” in his poem Santa Filomena. He wrote:

Lo! in that house of misery

A lady with a lamp I see

Pass through the glimmering of gloom

And flit from room to room.

Florence Nightingale died on August 13, 1910, at the age of 90. International Nurses Day is observed annually on May 12 in her honour.

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