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Nightingale’s beginnings

  The name of Florence Nightingale lives indelibly in the memory of the world by virtue of the gallant adventure of the Crimea where she rose to fame for nursing the sick and wounded during the Crimean War. In Nightingale’s own eyes the adventure of the Crimea was a mere incident — scarcely more than a useful stepping-stone in her career.  

It was the fulcrum with which she hoped to budge the world. The appointment of Nightingale to superintend a group of nurses was unprecedented. She immediately grasped the situation at Scutari, the principal British military hospital. Not wishing to imperil the prospect of reform by alienating the doctors, her first action was to place her nurses under the doctors’ orders and to establish a hospital laundry. In antithesis to Charles Dickens’ stereotype of the drunken ignorant nurse, before the Crimean War there was a resurgence of nursing sisterhoods, producing many au fait and moral nurses. The threat of religious controversy was probably an important factor in influencing Florence Nightingale towards secular nurse training. There were already vociferous opponents of reformed nursing within the hospitals. In the late 1860s, Florence Nightingale’s attention was drawn to the subject of education in workhouses for the poor. Her trenchant criticism of the punitive regime suffered by the paupers in residence received widespread acclaim.


  • Indelibly (adv) [in-del-ibl-ee]
  • Gallant (adj) [gal-uhnt]
  • Scarcely (adv) [skairs-lee]
  • Fulcrum (n) [fahl-kruhm]
  • Budge (v) [buhj]
  • Superintend (v) [soo-per-in-tend]
  • Unprecedented (adj) [uhn-pres-i-den-ted]
  • Grasped (v) [grahsp-ed)]
  • Imperil (v) [im-per-ihl]
  • Alienating (v) [eyl-yuh-neyt-ing]
  • Antithesis (n) [an-tith-uh-sis]
  • Au Fait (adj, French) [oh-fe]
  • Resurgence (n) [ri-sur-juhns]
  • Secular (adj) [sek-yuh-ler]
  • Vociferous (adj) [voh-sif-er-uhs]
  • Trenchant (adj) [tren-chuhnt]
  • Punitive (adj) [pyoo-ni-tiv]
  • Paupers (n) [paw-pers]
a. An increase or revival after a period of little activity, popularity, or occurrence
b. Expressing or characterised by vehement opinions
c. To get hold of mentally; comprehend; understand
d. Persons without any means of support, especially a destitute who depends on aid from public welfare funds or charity
e. The support or point of rest, on which a lever turns in moving a body
f. To change an opinion or stated position
g. Without previous instance; never before known or experienced; unexampled or unparalleled
h. The direct opposite
i. Be responsible for the management or arrangement of (an activity or organisation); oversee
j. Having experience or practical knowledge of a thing; expert; versed
k. Barely, hardly, not quite
l. Serving for, concerned with, or inflicting punishment
m. Brave, spirited, noble-minded
n. Clearly or sharply defined
o. That which cannot be eliminated, forgotten, changed
p. Of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred
q. Causing hostility or loss of friendliness
r. To put in peril or danger


1. o 2. m 3. k 4. e 5. f
6. i 7. g 8. c 9. r 10. q
11. h 12. i 13. a 14. p 15. b
11. n 12. l 13. d