Lady with the lamp- Florence Nightingale (1820-1910). --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

The second article in our series of inspirational women could only be one woman in the month of May, International Nurses Day is celebrated tomorrow, her birthday.

  1. Florence Nightingale was born on the 12th May 1820 in Florence Italy. The day we now celebrate International Nurses Day.
  2. She was fluent in English, French, German and Italian as well as having a decent hold on Latin and Classical Greek.
  3. She refused to get married, turning down multiple proposals over the years.
  4. She had 38 Nurses working under her during the Crimean War.
  5. Queen Victoria was a big fan
  6. She educated Americas first “trained Nurse”, Lynda Richards, who later shifted her focus toward psychiatry and working with mental health professionals.
  7. The Florence Nightingale Museum is now home to her beloved pet owl, which she had stuffed on its death. She called her Athena and taught her to bow and curtsey.
  8. Florence had a natural talent for analysing data; she discovered that accurate statistics were the key to understanding how and why things happened.
  9. She wrote a novel, Florence wrote about the lives of women of her class, which evolved into her novel Cassandra. In it, she explored the oppression of the educated and privileged women of Britain, who, if allowed to use their intellect and talents, could contribute so much to life. Instead, they were confined to petty, boring duties within their families. Marriage was the only escape – but that brought its own confines. Years later the work was rediscovered and it has become an important feminist text.
  10. A number of famous quotes are attributed to Nightingale including “I attribute my success to this-I never gave or took any excuse” and “How very little can be done under the spirit of fear”

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