Fun Facts about Flo


Florence-born Florence Nightingale (May 12, 1820 - August 13, 1910) was an accomplished nurse, writer, statistician and reformer. She came to prominence during the Crimean War (1853-1856) for her pioneering work in nursing, and was dubbed "The Lady with the Lamp" as a result of making rounds in the hospital wards after eight p.m. to tend injured soldiers. Nightingale’s lasting contribution has been her role in founding the modern nursing profession. She set an example of compassion, commitment to patient care, and diligent and thoughtful hospital administration. The annual International Nurses Day is celebrated world-wide on her birthday.

  1. At 17 years of age, Florence asked her friend, the Prussian Ambassador to England, Chevalier Bunsen, how she could “do something toward lifting the load of suffering from the helpless and miserable.” He told her about the great work of Pastor Fliedner in Germany’s prison reform movement, where he and his wife trained probationary nurses to care for the imprisoned. Nightingale visited the pastor and his wife for a three month period to learn more.
  2. The pie chart was invented by William Playfair but Florence Nightingale developed it in 1857 to disprove the medical assumptions during that time. She became a pioneer in presenting information with statistical graphics and developed a pie chart now called the polar area diagram that illustrates nursing statistics. 
  3. One of the medicines Florence kept in her wooden medicine box was powdered rhubarb, which helps the digestive system.
  4. In 1860 she set up the Nightingale Training School (for nurses) at St Thomas’s Hospital in London, England. The nurses who completed the training were known as ‘Nightingale Nurses’. 
  5. Florence hated being famous. She called it “the fuzbuzz about my name”. 
  6. Her family was wealthy. Her mother was named Fanny and her father was named William. Florence also had an older sister called Parthenope. 
  7. Helping her tend to the wounded, Florence’s own aunt, Mai Smith, worked under Nightingale at the same hospital during the Crimean War in the fall of 1854. 
  8. As a girl, Florence had a pet owl named Athena
  9. Her early writings are considered major contributions to English Feminism.  While not published until after her death, essays like Nightingale's "Cassandra" showcase her feelings about a woman's role in the world. Nightingale believed that women were often unnecessarily thought of as helpless when they were quite capable.
  10. Florence Nightingale died in 1910 at the age of 90. She is buried in a Hampshire churchyard in the southern coast of England. Her simple tombstone bears only her initials and the years in which she was born and died.