Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)
Florence Nightingale is credited with laying the foundations for professional nursing with the establishment of the first school of nursing at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, and she is celebrated for her invaluable work throughout the Crimean War (1853-1856).
Though born to an affluent family, Nightingale was dedicated to improving health care for all sections of British society throughout her career. This is reflected in her efforts to establish training for nurses of the poor in Liverpool, and her influential work in the Association for Improving Workhouse Infirmaries. Nightingale’s talent for organisation was recognised during a cholera outbreak in 1854 at Middlesex Hospital, and this led Sidney Herbert, Secretary for War, to enable Nightingale and 38 other professional qualified nurses to travel to Crimea. Nightingale’s work during the Crimean War inspired her to petition for a royal commission on the Army Medical Service.