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International Nurses Day is celebrated on Florence Nightingale's birth anniversary. Here's why

Born on May 12, 1820, Florence Nightingale was a British nurse and social reformer and is revered as “The Lady with the Lamp”. She is responsible for giving nursing a favourable reputation after tending to wounded soldiers...

May 12, 2022 / 10:31 AM IST
Florence Nightingale was the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit. (Image credit: Wikipedia)

Florence Nightingale was the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit. (Image credit: Wikipedia)


International Nurses Day is observed on May 12 to honour nurses and appreciate their extraordinary contribution. Nurses play an important role in the medical sector and have been crucial Covid warriors, fighting at the forefront of the pandemic since 2020.

May 12 was chosen as the day to commemorate nurses' contribution because of the splendid work carried out by Florence Nightingale -- the founder of modern nursing.

Born on May 12, 1820, Florence Nightingale was a British nurse and social reformer and is revered as “The Lady with the Lamp”. She is responsible for giving nursing a favourable reputation after tending to wounded soldiers because at that time nursing was considered a profession of low social status, who would earn petty wages. Nurses were also subjected to frequent alcohol abuse.

She also opened the first scientifically based nursing school, the Nightingale School of Nursing, in London. It was opened in 1860.

She began to be known ‘Lady with the Lamp’ because she used to tend to patients all day, often wandering the wards at night with a lamp in hand.

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Nightingale rose in prominence during the Crimean War between Russia and Britain in the 1850s. With her team of 38 women, she looked after British soldiers who were experiencing horrible sanitation facilities apart from battling Russian forces.
According to historical accounts shared by CNBCTV18, the wounded soldiers had dirty bandages covering rotting wounds. And to make matters worse, a dead horse was left to rot in their water supply.


Nightingale realised that she couldn't wait for help to arrive from Britain. Risking her life, she went out to Constantinople and fresh food and supplies for the soldiers.


She died on August 13, 1910, at 90. She was also a celebrated English statistician was awarded with the Order of Merit in 1907.  Florence Nightingale was the first woman to receive this honour.



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