The founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, was born on May 12, 1820, so it is only fitting that we end Nurses Week on her birthday. Despite her wealthy parents’ wishes to live a conventional upper class life, Nightingale desired to serve others and entered into nursing by studying in Germany in 1851. By 1853, she became the superintendent at a hospital for gentlewomen.
In 1854, the Crimean War started and Nightingale traveled to Turkey to head a team of nurses in the British military hospitals. During the war, she witnessed the horrible sanitary conditions while overseeing 38 nurses at Scutari. Using statistical data analysis, she was able to lower medical facilities’ mortality rates, and she pushed for reform in all British military hospitals.
She founded the Nightingale Training School for nurses at St. Thomas' Hospital in London in 1860. Using her Environment Theory, otherwise called the "Nightingale Model," she trained nurses and then sent them to work in facilities all over Britain. Her nursing theories were published in Notes on Nursing in 1860.
Nightingale received the title of Lady of Grace of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and became the first woman to receive the Order of Merit. After her death in 1910, her family declined a state funeral and burial in Westminster Abbey and buried her in the family plot in St. Margaret’s Church in East Wellow, Hampshire.