This is a brief biography of Florence Nightingale, who was born into a wealthy English family in the early 19th century. I vaguely knew something about her being the mother of modern nursing, but I didn’t know how truly amazing she was. Mostly because I had no idea that at the time nursing was considered a “lower-class” job, and so it was with great family opposition that she embarked upon the journey to become a nurse and care for soldiers in the Crimean War.
I was particularly struck by how her faith impacted her calling as a nurse. She was keenly aware that any of her efforts to improve conditions in the world must be fueled by a strong love for God. In addition, it was her faith that kept her going and strengthened her for the incredible difficulties she faced. I was also encouraged by what she actually DID. She went to be a nurse to soldiers, but she spent loads of her time improving the organization and structure of the hospital and care given. She increased efficiency and improved the overall conditions in which the men and nurses were kept. By improving cleanliness, food sanitation, basic hygiene, and even laundry services, she drastically changed the way care was delivered to the soldiers. And I’m telling you what- this chick had guts. She stood up to politicians and generals, fought bureaucracy and red tape, and didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
This was a great read for me, as it was encouraging to read about a Christian woman who followed a calling to improve healthcare in a way that seemed strange to many at the time but ultimately revolutionized care. Not that I am about to do anything strange or revolutionary, but still. I am encouraged and motivated by her example.