Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Lady With the Lamp

Seems one of the ways to get Callum to pay an interest in some things is by reading his blog entries so I'm trying out a new idea. Yesterday we got home a table of his schools Summer Term lessons plan, there is the usual English and Maths etc but there was also History and this term they will be covering Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole. Now Florence Nightingale I know about but I'd not really heard about Mary Seacole. Having had a brief look this morning I now understand where they are going to go on this, first learning about Florence Nightingale and then about Mary Seacole and the differences between these two amazing women and how one of them became a heroine and the other sadly not mentioned about much. I like it.

So seeing as how Florence is going to be talked about first I thought I'd start off in that order too and write a bit down here and hopefully it'll make Callum want to read and learn about these two inspiring women.

Florence Nightingale was born 12th May 1820 in Florence, Italy and was thus named after her place of birth. She came from a wealthy background and was what was considered in those days to be a rich girl who spent her summers living in Derbyshire and her winters living in Hampshire (that's what the rich did in the olden days). Rich girls were also expected to do almost nothing, something Florence found boring but she was lucky in the fact that even though at this time in History girls did not receive any form of education her father believed all women should receive an education and so he taught Florence and her sister a variety of subjects ranging from Science and Maths to History and Philosophy.

While growing up Florence developed an interest in helping others and cared for the sick pets and servants when the time allowed her to do so. Then aged 17 years old Florence believed she was called into service by God to become a Nurse "to do something toward lifting the load of suffering from the helpless and miserable." Her parents at first refused to allow her to become a Nurse as it was not considered to be a suitable job for a well educated woman but Florence did not give up and eventually her father gave permission and allowed Florence to do so and she went to Germany to train to become a Nurse.

In 1853 the Crimean War Broke Out and Florence who had studied and become a Superintendent of the Hospital for Gentlewomen in London was asked in to go to Turkey to manage the nursing of the British soldiers wounded and ill. She travelled to Scutari where the soldiers were being taken care of and was shocked to see the poor condition of the hospital with many wounded and ill unwashed and sleeping in over-crowded and dirty conditions with no blankets and decent food. These conditions made diseases (typhus, cholera and dysentery) spread quickly and there was a high death rate (only 1 in 6 died from their wounds where 5 in 6 died from infection and diseases).

Florence and her nurses changed this. They set up a kitchen and fed the wounded from their own supplies, they dug a latrine for sanitation (that's kind of a toilet Callum) and enlisted the help of the wounded soldiers wives. Now they could properly care for the ill and wounded and not so many died. Because of her dedication to her job and how she would often visit soldiers at night when everyone else was asleep to make sure they were alright and because she hardly slept herself Florence earned the name Lady With The Lamp. She was a true heroine to the soldiers and everyone back home in England and she changed the face of nursing from an untrained professional to a highly skilled and well respected medical profession with important responsibilities.

Florence died in 1910 aged 90 years old.