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National Nurses Week ends on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, May 12, 1820. She is known as the mother of modern nursing. Despite being part of a wealthy family, she defied expectations and pursued her passion, nursing. Even at a young age, Nightingale tended to the ill people in the village near her family’s estate.

She was nicknamed, “The Lady with the Lamp” because she was often observed alone and in the dark, lamp in hand, making rounds to administer care to soldiers during the Crimean War, where she lead a team of 38 nurses to help the wounded. Nightingale cared for as many as she could despite a short supply of medicine, neglected hygiene, and mass infections.

She also wrote Notes on Nursing, published in 1859. The book served as the cornerstone of the curriculum at the Nightingale School. In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the first secular nursing school in the world, St. Thomas Hospital Nursing School in London.

Florence Nightingale said it best, “I attribute my success to this; I never gave or took any excuse.” She was a trailblazer, setting an example of compassion and commitment to patients, and as a result, she founded the modern nursing profession.

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