Location: Waterloo Place, London
Artist: Sir Arthur George Walker
Also known as 'The Lady with the Lamp", Florence Nightingale was a kind, caring nurse and a powerful leader. In addition to writing over 150 books, pamphlets and health related reports, she is also credited to creating one of the first versions of the pie-chart. However, she is mostly known for making hospitals a cleaner and safer environment. Florence was raised in a wealthy family and was homeschooled by her father, she was expected to be married at a young age to create a family but when she was a teenager, she received a message from divine source, you might say a "calling" to help the poor and the sick.
Nursing was not a celebrated profession at the time and her parents did not approve of her decision to become a nurse and refusing the position to get married and start a family. Eventually, her Father allowed her to go to Germany for three months to study at Pastor Theodore Fliedrer's hospital and school for Lutheran Deconesses. After Germany, Nightingale went to Paris for extra training with the Sisters of Mercy. By the time she was 33, Nightingale already had a name for herself in the nursing community.
When the Crimean war began, the British were unprepared to deal with the amount of sick and injured soldiers. The lack of medical supplies, overcrowding and unsanitary conditions caused many people to complain. The Secretary of War, asked Nightingale to manage a group of nurses that would go to treat the wounded soldiers. The nurses brought supplies, nutritious food, cleanliness and sanitation to the military hospital. Within 6 months, Nightingale had transformed the hospital. The death rate went from 40 to 2 percent because of their work.
When Nightingale returned from war, she continued to improve the conditions of hospitals. She presented her ideas and data to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1856, this data was the reason that they formed a Royal Commission to improve the health of the British army. Nightingale was so skilled with data and numbers that in 1856 she was also elected as the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society. Nightingale continued to spread information about healthier medical practices, safe hospital standards and good patient care.
Florence died on August 13th, 1910. She is the most celebrated nurse in our history and her legacy continues on.
The statue was designed by Sir Arthur George Walker and unveiled in 1915 in Waterloo Place, London.
It is a bronze standing portrait of Nightingale, holding a lamp in her right hand. She stands on a granite pedestal which has bronze plaques showing scenes of her at work - interviewing officers, attending a meeting of nurses and arranging transport for the wounded. The sculptor reflects the decisive contribution Nightingale made at the time and subsequently in civilian life.