MANILA, Philippines - Born on May 12, 1820 in Florence, Italy, to an affluent British family, Florence Nightingale was named after the city of her birth. Inspired by what she took as a call from God in 1837, she announced her decision to enter nursing in 1844 despite her family's objection. She worked hard to educate herself in the art and science of nursing in spite of the restrictive societal code for affluent young English women. She rejected any marriage proposals believing that marriage would only interfere with her calling.
She traveled as far as Rome, Crimea, Greece, and Egypt to do her nursing mission. She wrote reports to Britain about the horrific conditions of the casualties during the Crimean War. On October 21, 1854, she and her trained staff of 38 women volunteer nurses were sent to Ottoman Empire, about 295 miles across the Black Sea from Crimea where the British camp was based. On November 29, 1855, in Crimea, Nightingale was given recognition for her work in the war which led to the establishment of the Nightingale Fund for the training of nurses.
On July 9, 1860, through the Nightingale Fund, she laid the foundations of professional nursing when she founded the Nightingale Training School which is now called the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery and is part of King's College London. The Nightingale Pledge of the new nurses was named in her honor, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birth anniversary. …