Florence Nightingale

analytical Essay
1978 words
1978 words

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820 in Florence, Italy. She came from a wealthy family. As a child she had a vivid imagination, was considered a dreamer and often dreamed of helping others. Nightingale was well educated, a benefit of her family's wealth and her fathers belief in education, even for women. She studied all of the basic subjects, such as history, math, philosophy, science, music and art. She also learned five different languages. At a very young age she discovered her passion for mathematics. This was not considered an important subject for women so Nightingale had to beg her parents to let her study mathematics.

Her desire to help others was put into practice at a young age. She started out by caring for sick animals and was soon caring for the servants in the household. Her family traveled all over the world and Nightingale took this opportunity to further educate herself. When she traveled she would secretly go out and visit hospitals. She kept extensive notes on all the hospitals. She took notes on management, hygiene, wards and doctors. She kept pursuing her desire to become a nurse even though her parents opposed the idea. Nursing in the nineteenth century was not considered a reputable career. Nurses did not have any training and hospitals were unsanitary places where the poor went to die. Her parents finally gave in and Nightingale was allowed to go to Kaiserswerth, a nursing school in Germany.

During the Victorian era (1837-1901) true womanhood was greatly valued by society. "True womanhood was defined as being virtuous, pious, tender, dependent and understanding to the male authority';

(Aguirre, 1). Motherhood was the ultimate goal for every woman. Women were supposed to be concerned with feminine characteristics, roles and functions of family life. The ideal women in Victorian society were obedient, submissive and dependent on their husbands. Women who were not married were viewed as societal outcasts and not feminine.

Nightingale did not fit society's image of womanhood. She was ambitious and sought a career rather than marriage in an era where it was desirable for women to be subservient to her "husband and avoid occupational ambitions'; (Olson, 1). Nightingale had many marriage opportunities. She was wealthy and beautiful but her beliefs prevented any form of long term ...

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... and very deserving of the revered status she enjoys today, many years after her death. Nightingale serves as a role model for the modern day woman and the nursing profession.


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Cambridge, 1985.

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Florence Nightingale, Timeline, Part 2: 1850-1910. (Online) Available

Huxley, Elspeth. Florence Nightingale. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson,


Lipsey, Sally. Mathematical Education in the Life of

Florence Nightingale. (Online) Available Feb., 1998.

Olson, Christopher. Internurse Historical Nursing

Leader: Florence Nightingale. (Online) Available http//

Strachey, Lytton. Eminent Victorians. New York: Capricorn Books,


In this essay, the author

  • Describes how florence nightingale used statistical analysis to plot the incidents of preventable deaths in the military during the crimean war.
  • Explains that nightingale set out the principles for nursing education and practice. she opened the nightingales school, a formal nursing program, out of st. thomas hospital in london in 1860.
  • Explains that nightingale's beliefs and theoretical models profoundly influenced her school. she believed that all people, regardless of belief, individual station or circumstance, were entitled to medical and nursing care.
  • Explains that florence nightingale was born in florence, italy. she was well-educated, studied history, math, philosophy, science, music, and art.
  • Analyzes how nightingale's work in nursing and the promotion of wellness formed the basis for public health nursing today.
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