Florence Nightingale

by Ines from Jakarta

"Women never have a half-hour in all their lives that they can call their own, without fear of offending or of hurting someone."
Florence Nightingale (
Florence Nightingale (

Have you ever heard about Florence Nightingale? I bet many of you haven’t. Well, I’ll tell you then. Florence Nightingale was born in Italy on 12 May 1820. She was a beautiful girl who was loved by her family. She also had an older sister named Parthenope. Little Florence was taught at home by her father who was Cambridge University educated. Sound ordinary? The difference will be made clear just now.

Although she was born in a wealthy family, Florence grew up to be a modest girl. She usually avoided luxuries and often said that instead of using money for family parties, the spare money should be used to help poor people. Florence often visited some hospitals in the local village; she did not mind sparing her time to take care of the sick people there. And one day, Florence found her own way to help people – she decided to be a nurse.

Of course, her parents didn’t allow her to be a nurse, for in that century, it wasn’t a suitable profession for a well-educated woman. But still, a year later Florence took a three-month nursing training course which enabled her to be a nurse. In 1854, when Britain declared war on Russia, the British military hospitals didn’t have enough facilities for the wounded soldiers. As soon as she heard this news, Florence flew to the Barrack Hospital to help along with some other nurses.

Florence worked as hard as she could. She treated the wounded soldiers patiently and warmly. She often worked until midnight, treating the soldiers and comforting them so that she was known as ‘The Lady with The Lamp.’ In return, Florence got their full respect and admiration.

In her old years, Florence wrote many books about nursing and hospitals. In one of her books, Notes on Nursing, she wrote the most important thing about nursing: careful observation and sensitivity to the patient's needs. She had been successful in improving the health standards of her century. She was awarded The Royal Red Cross by Queen Victoria and many other awards. Florence died on 13 August 1910 and, as she wished, was buried in St. Margaret near her parents’ house.

I chose Florence Nightingale as my hero because she was brave. She didn’t give up when her family and society didn’t allow her to be a nurse. She also didn’t give up when she had much work to do in the military hospital. She did her best in taking care of the wounded soldiers, and most of all, she did it full-heartedly. Florence cared about other’s feelings and suffering. She wasn’t conceited, even though she was born in a wealthy family. She decided to leave the luxury of her family's background and to dedicate her life to helping other people who needed a helping hand.

Page created on 6/5/2006 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 6/5/2006 12:00:00 AM

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Related Links

Florence Nightingale - A Selection of Letters Written by Florence Nightingale