• Angelo Stefanelli


Florence Nightingale was the pioneer of modern nursing. The aim of this article is to give a brief review of her character. Her Christian name derives from her birthplace, albeit her English nationality. She was trained in England, save for a brief spell in Germany. The nursing profession of her time left much to desire; competent nurses were hard to find, their preparation was poor, and so was availability. In Paris, she first encountered real issues related to nursing and sanitation, but did not tarry a moment to get to grips with them. She did not hide her organisational skills and humanitarian outlook, and the occasion to put them to good use presented itself with the Crimean War, where the opposition of army officers only aggravated the arduous process of putting local hygienic conditions under control. Invariably, Florence Nightingale was perceived by soldiers as an almost mythical mother figure, gentle and authoritative, a single firm point in moments of physical or moral decline. She did her best to help improve conditions in India, despite the odds. She died in London in 1910.

Key words: history of nursing, 19th century, Crimean War, Florence Nightingale