Florence Nightingale

Mother of Modern Nursing and 1st Female member of the Royal Statistical Society

Who is Florence Nightingale?


Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), alias “The Lady With the Lamp,” was an English nurse, social reformer, and statistician. She was one of the first to use statistical data format to measure the mortality rates and analyze patient care that helped improve the sanitation standards for soldiers and civilians in military camps during the Crimean War. Her efforts greatly influenced the quality of care in hospital practices in the 19 and 20 centuries which earned her the title “Mother of Modern Nursing”. 

Her Early Life and Education

Florence was born on May 12, 1820, in Florence, Italy. She came from a wealthy family and she has been described as “a rebel from her earliest days”. Her father took particular interest in her education, guiding her through history, philosophy, and literature. She excelled in mathematics and languages and was able to read and write in multiple languages at an early age. She preferred to read the great philosophers and engage in serious political and social discourse with her father. 

Florence Nightingale’s Contributions to Science

as a true pioneer in the graphical representation of statistics, Florence was famous for using the polar area diagram, also called the Nightingale rose diagram to illustrate the seasonal sources of patient mortality in the military field hospital. She was elected the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society in 1859 and became an honorary member of the American Statistical Association in 1874. Her contributions have been recognized with statues, stamps, coins, and currency notes featuring her image. There is a Florence Nightingale Museum that houses more than 2000 artifacts commemorating the life and career of the “Angel of the Crimea.”

Learn more about the Nightingale Museum

keywords: Florence Nightingale, Nursing, Crimean War, Statistician, Social Reformer, Royal Statistical Society, Pie chart, Histogram, women of STEM.