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Nightingale, Florence  

(1820-1910). Founder of modern nursing. She was born in Florence, Italy, and baptized in the Church of England on July 4, 1820. In 1849-1850 she studied the nursing system of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent dePaul at Alexandria, Egypt. She also trained for several months with the deaconesses in 1851 in Kaiserswerth in the Rhineland. In her early 30s, she became Superintendent of the Institution for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen in Distressed Circumstances in London. In this position she improved the standard of nursing care and administration. At the request of the British government, she agreed to be Superintendent of Female Nurses in Turkey to organize medical care for the British soldiers injured or ill during the Crimean War, 1854-1856. While in Crimea she became ill with Crimean Fever and was an invalid from 1858 until 1888. Today her illness is recognized as chronic brucellosis. Nightingale worked to improve the health of British soldiers and she promoted sanitation reform in England and India. She is recognized for her progressive thinking about nursing and hospital organization and serves as a model of compassion against physical suffering. Her major writing, Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not (1859), went through many editions. She is also noted for her deeply mystical and pragmatic sense of spirituality. Nightingale described nurses as "handmaidens of the Lord." She died in London. She was proposed for inclusion in the Episcopal calendar of the church year. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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