Earlier this week, students and academics from the University helped to commemorate Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
During a special service at Westminster Abbey, 20 final year nursing and midwifery students were invited to take part in the ceremony and escort a procession with her Lamp, which has become an international symbol of nursing.
Florence Nightingale was, and still is, a powerful figure in the history of nursing. When the Crimean was started in 1854, she led the introduction of women as nurses, to care for wounded soldiers in the military hospitals in Turkey.
She was a memorable, reassuring sight at night as she carried her lantern when she checked on the wounded, and so consequently she became known as ‘The Lady with the Lamp’.
Conditions were terrible in the wards and she quickly fought to introduce better sanitation and ventilation, which resulted in significant reductions in death rates among the wounded soldiers from 40 per cent to two per cent.
Her ideas, which were revolutionary at the time, changed care and her influences are still seen today.
After the war ended, she went on to make nursing a respectable profession for women and, in 1860, she established the world’s first school of nursing at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. Nightingale is also credited with founding a School of Midwifery at London’s King's College Hospital, which became a model for the country.