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Famous King's People

Florence Nightingale

florence nightingaleFlorence Nightingale (1820-1910) founded the world's first professional school of nursing at St Thomas' Hospital in 1860 - the direct ancestor of the current Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery at King's.

Life and work

Born into a wealthy family, Nightingale was determined to enter nursing despite its low status at this time. She gained nursing experience in Germany and France and ran a nursing home for gentlewomen in Harley Street, London.

In 1854 she left for the Crimea with 38 nurses and sisters. Her major achievement in the Crimea was to organise the barracks hospital at Scutari, introducing proper discipline among the nurses and better sanitation. She became known as 'the lady of the lamp'.

A new nursing school

In 1855 a public subscription was launched and raised over £50,000 (over £2.6 million today). Nightingale decided to use this to found a nursing school. Due to ill-health, she was unable to run the school, but oversaw its in the new St Thomas' Hospital building and gave instructions for every aspect of training. From the beginning, her aim was that Nightingale nurses should go on to found training schools in Britain and throughout the world.
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