Florence Nightingale was a legend in her lifetime and was one of the greatest pioneer's in nursing. She lived ninety years and accomplished many great things for the field of nursing. Her descriptions of nursing, health, environment, and humankind are remarkable and still true to this day. Nightingale reformed nursing and changed the way nursing was viewed. Some of the issues during Nightingale's time, the 1800's, we still face today. Nightingale not only impacted nursing in the 1800's, but also still has an effect on nursing today. We do not need a new role model and icon for nursing because Nightingale changed the nursing profession for the better and that should never be forgotten.
Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820 in Florence, Italy; thereby being named after the city where she was born. Her family was from England, and lived during the Victorian era. While touring Europe on their two-year long honeymoon, Nightingale was born. Her parents William Edward Nightingale and Frances Smith Nightingale were a very wealthy couple. Nightingale had a sister named Parthenope who was about a year older (Davis, 1999).
William Nightingale was well educated, at Cambridge University in England and he taught his daughters at home. William Nightingale taught his daughters to speak Italian, Latin, and, Greek. He also taught them history, philosophy, and math; math was one of Florence's favorite subjects to study (Audian, 1999). Florence's father gave her the education equivalent to an upper class boy during her era. Parthenope rejected her education and joined her mother in domestic activities, whereas Florence loved learning. William Nightingale was Florence's main companion; Florence found the life of a Victorian lady boring and depressing (Holliday & Parker, 1997).
At about the age of sixteen Nightingale received what she called "her calling." She believed she heard the voice of God calling her to do his work, but she had no idea what this work would be (Fotos, 1997). Nightingale developed an interest in visiting the homes of the sick. She also began to investigate hospitals and nursing. At first, her parents refused to let her become a nurse because they said it was unsuitable for a woman of her education, but they eventually ceded. Nightingale went to Kiaserswerth and sustained a three-month training program. She later went on to be a nurse in the Crimean War where she began her reformation of the nursing profession (Holliday and Parker, 1997).
Selanders (1998) explains how Nightingale describes nursing, environment, humankind, and health. Selanders begins with nursing; giving an explanation why nursing is a calling, an art, a science,...