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Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale (May 12, 1820 - August 13, 1910) was the pioneer of modern nursing.

She was born into an upper-class family in Britain, but rebelled against the expected role for a woman of her status, which was to become an obedient wife. Instead she chose nursing, a career with a poor reputation and filled mostly by poorer women. Nightingale persisted against her family's wishes and received what training was available. Her most famous contribution was during the Crimean War, when reports came back to Britain about the horrific conditions for the wounded. A public project was founded to address the problem, and Florence Nightingale and a staff of volunteers were sent to the Crimea.

There they found wounded soldiers being badly cared for by overworked medical staff in the face of official indifference. Medicines were in short supply, hygiene was being neglected, and mass infections were common, many of them fatal. Nightingale and her crew began by thoroughly cleaning the hospital and equipment, and reorganizing patient care. Although she met resistance from the doctors, her changes vastly improved conditions for the wounded and fewer soldiers died. She is remembered today because of the administrative skills that she introduced to hospitals and to patient care.

Nightingale returned to Britain a hero, and spent the rest of her life promoting the nursing profession and organizing it into its modern form.

It has been suggested that Florence Nightingale may have suffered from bipolar disorder.

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