The Nightingale Home and Training School for Nurses opened its doors to trainees in July 1860, as part of the newly built St Thomas’s Hospital in London. One of the first institutions to teach nursing and midwifery as a formal profession, the training school was dedicated to communicating the philosophy and practice of its founder and patron, Florence Nightingale.
Nightingale (1820-1910) had become a national hero in 1854 for her work running an army field hospital during the Crimean War. The famous ‘Lady with the Lamp’, so-called for her habit of patrolling the wards even at night, noticed while in Crimea that more soldiers in her care were dying from infectious diseases than were dying from wounds. She thought this was due to overcrowding and malnutrition, but her proposed solutions – better ventilation and better sanitation – were effectively the foundation of modern nursing. More generally, she believed that patient health depends on the environmental conditions in which they recover from injuries and diseases, in addition to the directly palliative care they may be receiving. She put great emphasis not just on hygiene, but on access to natural light and fresh air.
The Nightingale Home and Training School is now part of King’s College, London, and known as The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery.