Florence Nightingale
1820 1910

Florence Nightingale was born in Italy in May of 1820 to wealthy parents. Florence was raised in Derbyshire England most of her life. Florence was the youngest of two girls. Their father taught both girls at home. Florence was always considered an academic child and did well on her lessons. She was expected to make a good marriage, but she had other plans. Florence was more concerned with social issues and wanted to become a nurse. Her parents did not agree and sent her to tour Europe with two family friends. While she was traveling she visited hospitals. These visits reaffirmed her desire to become a nurse.

One year later Florence attended three months of training and became a nurse. Florence worked many years as a nurse. She did the majority of her work during wartime. She was known as "Lady in Chief" because she took great care of the soldiers by sending their wages home to their families and she also wrote letters home on their behalf. Miss Nightingale began reforming the hospitals because she saw a need for cleanliness and better hygiene. She gained support for her reforms by showing the statistics of hospitals death rates comparing reformed hospitals to unreformed hospitals. She showed by using charts that the death rates in clean hospitals dropped dramatically. Florence also used statistics to show that disease caused more deaths during battle than actual injuries from battle.

Florence worked many years for her causes. She even worked while bedridden from an illness she caught in Crimea. Florence received many awards for her work including the Royal Red Cross given to her by Queen Victoria. Florence died in August of 1910, she was 90 years old.

By improving hygiene she was able to substantially lower the death rate of soldiers. Florence Nightingale is a prime example that math is used in most jobs. She used statistics and applied them to real life situations to help her causes and to improve the working conditions of hospitals.

Contributed by DeAnn Nelson



  1. www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/
  2. www.scottian.edu/madie/women/mgni_educ.mm
  3. www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/sman.mm
  4. www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/FN%20Biography,mm

Home  |  Women  |  Men  |  Topics  |  Activities