Florence Nightingale, 1820-1910

Florence Nightingale, 1820-1910

Book - 1952
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This edition of Florence Nightingale reproduces Cecil Woodham-Smith's biography as published in the United States of America, where it was a monthly choice of the Literary Guild. Florence Nightingale was born into an English aristocratic family. Against her family's wishes she went into nursing, then an activity mostly practiced by prostitutes and drunkards. She trained in a Protestant institution in Germany, a Catholic one in France, and then directed a London home for distressed gentlewomen. In 1851 she went to the Crimea where she became the famous and romanticized "lady of the lamp". When she returned from the Crimea she continued to work, building on her discoveries of gross inefficiency in the administration of the army hospitals. She toiled at the task of reorganizing delivery of health care in the British army. She directed efforts to improve sanitation in India, and for several decades was the expert on questions of health in India, although she never actually left England again. She was an ongoing consultant on hospital construction. She established a nursing school. In middle age she declared herself to be an individual and rarely left her bedroom. Nevertheless she continued her (almost) Sisyphean labors and wrote many books and reports on matters of public health and nursing. She was in no sense the sweet, gentle person that people imagined the "lady of the lamp" to be. She was bad tempered and dictatorial. She was deeply attached to morality and authority. Although she did much to make nursing a profession, she was not interested in women's rights and opposed the idea of female suffrage. She never accepted the germ theory (a new idea in the 1870's), although she was always a supporter of ventilation (even when it was not helpful, as in India). Nevertheless, she had the intellectual flexibility to understand quickly the enormous importance of statistics to public health. She may have been the first person to use pictorial descriptions of statistics. She established, using statistics again, the connection between high volumes of births and maternal mortality.
Publisher: London : Reprint Society, 1952
Characteristics: 450 p., [2] leaves of plates : ill. ; 19 cm


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