Sunday, July 1, 2012

Florence Nightengale A Life of Passion

 We have all heard the stories about Florence Nightingale. She was a young woman that  was born in Florence, Italy, on May 12, 1820.  She spent most of her childhood in England and although she didn't attend school, her father taught her well.
  At an early age she began to study  elementary nursing techniques and in 1852 she was given the position of superintendent of the Institution for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen in London.  
 During the Crimean war in 1854 she  volunteered as a nurse with a group of other women. The conditions of the nurising facilities were inadequate an she brought about changes that  would improve the sanitary conditions of the patients care. Florence would check on and comfort the patients at night, walking the halls with a lamp. It was because of this that the soldiers gave her the nickname, "The Lady with the Lamp."
In 1856, she became widely known as superintendent of the Female Nursing Establishment of the Military Hospitals.  After meeting with Queen Victoria
she was promised a royal commission and the Royal Commission on the Health of the Army, was created in 1857, and this commission also formed an Army Medical School in 1857 as well. Another royal commission was created as well in 1859, and this commission established a Sanitary Department in 1868.
In 1860, Florence created the Nightingale School for Nurses at St. Thomas' Hospital. This was the first of its kind, and Florence reformed the workhouses and trained the midwives and nurses herself. However, her health began to fail her and in 1901, she became completely blind. Florence died in London, England, on August 13, 1910.

  Although this gives one a brief  overview of her life, I cannot help but wonder about her personal life. After all she was  a real woman and I am sure felt the fear, fatigue and emotions that we all do as we move through the different stages of life.  There must have been times when she was angry and frustrated and longed for some peace and quiet. Or maybe she found her true calling and it remained her passion throughout her life.  How many of us live our lives waiting  and dreaming about what we really want to do but push it aside to deal with the real issues of  our busy lives. How many of us fear our dreams because reaching towards them just feels painful and impossible. Sound familiar? What a shame to limit our own possibilities with a smaller life.

How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.
                                             Florence Nightengale

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