Art Way





 Микита Полупаненко
Florence Nightingale. One of the most famous women in Britain is Florence Nightingale (she was called Florence because she was born in Florence, Italy, in 1820). She was one of the first women in West Europe to organize a women's medical service at the front. The story goes back to the middle of the 19th century. In 1853 Russia invaded Turkey. Britain and France went to Turkey's aid. This conflict became known as the Crimean War. The conditions in the hospitals were terrible. Even the best hospitals were nothing but old barracks. The floors were broken and the buildings were full of rats and mice. There were hardly any beds and men were lying on the floor, in passages, anywhere. "They were dying in thousands, not so much of their wounds as of illnesses. The only nurses were old soldiers who knew nothing of nursing and were quite unable to do the work. In England at that time the nursing was done by dirty, drunken women. In fact, when women were taken to the court, they were often given the choice of going to prison or doing hospital service. That was the terrible position when Florence wrote a letter to the Minister of War offering her services. Within a week she was ready, and with 38 women nurses went to the front. Florence was well educated in music, art, literature, Latin and Greek. She spoke Italian, French and German very well. From her childhood, Florence had nursed poor people and sick dogs, cats and horses, and she wanted very much to become a nurse. Her parents tried to make her change her mind but could not. She visited hospitals; she read books on nursing of hospitals. She spent some weeks as a sister in hospitals in Paris and 3 months in a nursin g school in Germany. When Florence Nightingale came to the front, she found conditions there even worse than she expected. The War Office had told her nothing was lacking at the front. She found that everything was lacking: beds, clothes, soap, knives, plates. There were no bandages and no material to make bandages from, almost no medicines and bad food. It was good she brought with her food and medicines. She had to buy everything with her own money. She brought shoes, socks, blankets, shirts by the thousand. Hers was a will of iron. "It can not be done", said a doctor against an order that she gave. "It must be done", she said quietly. And it was done. She often worked 24 hours a day, dressing wounds, helping doctors, comforting the dying. Every night, carrying a little lamp to her way, she walked by the beds, many miles of them. To the soldiers she was the "Lady With the Lamp", and they all loved her. But "The Lady With the Lamp" was also a practical woman. She and her nurses got down on their knees and washed floors and walls. She organized the cooking of the men's food and the washing of their clothes. Instead of badly - cooked, badly-served food she gave the men well-cooked, well-served food. She wrote angry letters to the Government of England making it do something for the wounded soldiers. As a result of her activity the number of deaths fell from sixty per thousand to three per thousand. In 1855 she was made Inspector of all hospitals at the front. It meant travelling in snow and rain and cold. She fell ill but continued her work from her bed. She did not go home until the last soldier was sent to England when the war was over. When she finally came back to England, she was an invalid for life. But she lived 54 years longer. Though she could not leave her house, often not even her bed, she worked hard. Now it was not only one hospital that needed her. It was a whole world that was sick and needed help. She changed the whole system of hospital organizations of army. She began to reform of the health service in India.


Ольга Чайкова

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