Florence Nightingale Google Doodle
Florence Nightingale Google Doodle
Back in 2008 Google created a Florence Nightingale Google Doodle to celebrate what would have been the 187th birthday of the world famous nurse. The Florence Nightingale Google Doodle appeared on the 11th of May. In the Florence Nightingale Google Doodle the “L” of the Google logo was comprised of a depiction of Nightingale. In addition, the second “O” of the Florence Nightingale Google Doodle comprised a lantern which the depiction of Nightingale was holding.
Florence Nightingale was born on May 12th 1820. She was born into an incredibly wealthy upper class British family. Her place of birth was at the Villa Colombaia, which is situated near the Porta Romana in the Italian town of Bellosguardo. During her early life Nightingale underwent a number of what she believed to be “calls from God”. The first of these occurred in February 1837, this experience left her with a strong desire to dedicate her life to helping others. Her family strongly resented her wish to become a nurse. Due to this resentment Nightingale only announced her intention to take up the vocation in 1844. Her decision was revolutionary. It was a rejection of the social norms of the period which expected a woman of her standing to become a mother and a wife.
Despite the educational restrictions which society placed on well born English women, Nightingale worked hard in order to gain an education. She focused primarily on both the art and practice of nursing. Nightingale was an attractive young women and her smile was often described by observers as radiant. She enjoyed the attentions of a number of suitors. The most notable of these was Richard Monckton Milnes who was both a politician and a poet. However, after a courtship which spanned for over nine years, Nightingale rejected him as she feared marriage would hinder her ability to pursue her chosen career in nursing.
Nightingale travelled widely, in 1850 her travels took her to Greece and Egypt. Whilst traveling down the River Nile she wrote the following which demonstrates both her attitude towards life and her literary talent. “I don’t think I ever saw anything which affected me much more than this.” And, considering the temple: “Sublime in the highest style of intellectual beauty, intellect without effort, without suffering… not a feature is correct – but the whole effect is more expressive of spiritual grandeur than anything I could have imagined. It makes the impression upon one that thousands of voices do, uniting in one unanimous simultaneous feeling of enthusiasm or emotion, which is said to overcome the strongest man.”
Nightingale is most famous for the medical contributions she made during the Crimean War. The Crimean War became the focus of her life following reports which reached London of the harrowing conditions in which the wounded suffered. Due to this on the 21st October 1854 Nightingale and a female entourage were despatched to the Ottoman Empire. The entourage comprised of 38 female volunteer nurses, all of which had been trained by Florence personally and 15 Catholic nuns. They were stationed roughly 292 nautical miles across the Black Sea from Balaklava in the Crimea. This was the site of the British camp in the area.
In October 1854 Nightingale and her entourage arrived at the Selimiye Barracks which were situated in Scutari. Upon her arrival she was appalled at the lack of care which the wounded were receiving from overworked and overstretched medical staff. What appalled Nightingale the most was the level of official apathy which surrounded this state of affairs. The symptoms of this medical neglect included poor hygiene, an extremely limited supply of medicine and wide spread infections which proved to be fatal in a large number of cases.
An appeal which Nightingale wrote to the British newspaper, The Times saw action from the British Government. Following the appeal Isambard Kingdom Brunel was commissioned by the British Government to design a prefabricated hospital. The hospital was to be construction in Britain and then transported by ship to the Dardanelles. This resulted in the Renkioi Hospital which was manned by a purely civilian workforce. The hospital had patient fatalities which were less than 10% of those which occurred in Scutari.
During her time in the Crimea, The Times gave Nightingale her lasting nickname, “The Lady with the Lamp”. This nickname came from a report written about her in the same newspaper.
The extract read as follows, “She is a ‘ministering angel’ without any exaggeration in these hospitals, and as her slender form glides quietly along each corridor, every poor fellow’s face softens with gratitude at the sight of her. When all the medical officers have retired for the night and silence and darkness have settled down upon those miles of prostrate sick, she may be observed alone, with a little lamp in her hand, making her solitary rounds.”
However her time in the Crimea was to take a toll of Nightingale’s mental health. From 1857 onwards she was periodically bedridden, suffering from intolerable bouts of depression.
Some historians believe that the depression was caused by the post war discovery that she had been wrong about the cause of the heightened death rates. Nightingale had asserted that death rates were caused by poor nutrition, soldiers experiencing fatigue and a dire shortage of supplies.
The real cause of the deaths was found to be dire hygienic conditions. However other sources attribute the cause to brucellosis and associated spondylitis.
Despite her poor health Nightingale still managed impressive levels of productivity. She was a major contributing force to social reform and whilst being bedridden she managed to conduct ground breaking work in the design of field hospitals. These designs were quickly adopted in Britain and other locations across the globe.
Florence Nightingale died at the age of 90 on the 13th of August 1910. She died of natural causes whilst asleep in her room. Her room was situated at 10 South Street, in London’s prestigious Mayfair region. Her family were offered a funeral at Westminster Abbey. However her relatives declined the offer, opting instead to bury Nightingale at St Margaret Church, situated in East Wellow, Hampshire.