Before Florence Nightingale, nursing
had a very poor reputation. She changed all that and brought a new sense of discipline
to the job.
Born in 1820, she became a nurse against her family's will, and studied in Europe and Alexandria. She became superintendent of a hospital for sick gentlewomen, but was more interested in the training of nurses and caring for the poor. When the Crimean War broke out, horror stories began to filter back about the conditions of the barracks and hospitals on the front line.
Sidney Herbert, a friend of the Nightingale family and Secretary of War requested Florence be sent to the barrack hospital in Scutari. She hand-picked 38 nurses and completely revamped the hospital. The death rate was 42% when she arrived in 1854, but only 2% in 1856.
When Florence returned, with fame, she published her book "Notes on Nursing", which became the standard textbook for generations. She raised £44,000 and set up the Nightingale School of Nursing, where she taught discipline and attention to detail. She considered nursing to be a religious vocation, and wanted nurses to remain single so they didn't have divided loyalties.