THE SUCCESS STORY OF TWO FAME-WORTHY NURSES WHO CHANGED THE WORLD
If there is one nurse trailblazer, whose name is notable among regular citizens and not just those in healthcare, is Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), “the Lady with the Lamp”. In fact, the WHO ordained that 2020 will be celebrated as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife – which happens to be the 200th anniversary of Nightingale’s birth. Born in Italy, raised by British parents and her opulent up-keeping meant that she would be married at a young age and become a lady of stature, but Nightingale had a different mental impression. She was keen towards aiding the unwell and needy in the villages surrounding her family’s sizeable territory and as soon as she turned 16, she told her parents that nursing was her calling from God. Later, she repudiated a marriage proposal and set her sights on nursing school. The year was 1844 when Nightingale put her name down in a German nursing school, despite her parents’ objections and then returned to London after taking extra training from Paris and France to begin her career at a hospital for gentlewomen. It was the time of the cholera outbreak and Nightingale exerted herself to meliorate hygiene practices, which significantly curtailed the death rate. When the Crimean War broke out in late 1853, Britain sent thousands of soldiers to the Black Sea. Supplies were low and military hospitals there became overrun with tens of thousands of soldiers. Subsequently, in 1854, the Secretary of War, who had learned of Nightingale’s successes in her London hospital, asked her to arrange a unit of nurses and bring them to care for the slain comrades in the Crimea. When she and her recruited nurses reached Constantinople, they were petrified by the situation—contaminated water in the hospital, a lack of even basic supplies, and most soldiers dying from infectious diseases like cholera and typhoid. Nightingale was tireless in her efforts to improve the hospital’s conditions. She also engaged well patients to help clean the hospital thoroughly and spent her days and nights tending to the soldiers. She used to carry a lamp while making her rounds, which led her to earn the name, “the Lady with the Lamp.” When the war terminated and Nightingale came back to England in 1856, she has lauded a hero and presented with numerous accolades, including a reward of $250,000 from the government of Britain. She then utilized her funds for healthcare cause and laid the foundation of St. Thomas’ Hospital and its Nightingale Training School for Nurses.