Diary of a Nightingale Nurse


Nightingale Nurse diary


  • Intro

    In 1860, Florence Nightingale set up the Nightingale Training School at St Thomas’ Hospital in London (now called the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, part of King’s College London). She insisted on thorough cleanliness, open balconies and airy wards, to counteract any hospital-generated ‘bad smells’, which she believed to cause disease. Whilst in training, her nurses were required to write diaries, recording their daily tasks. This is a page from one such diary - notice how much cleaning takes place.


    Florence Nightingale (1820–1910) became a legend in England for her two years nursing soldiers during the Crimean War starting in late 1854. Her tender care for the soldiers earned her the name the Lady of the Lamp. But her major achievement was to raise nursing to the level of a respectable profession for women.


    Shelfmark: MS 45814

  • Transcript

    Diary of a Nightingale Nurse

    E. Knight


    Entered June 26 1896

    Children’s Ward, Victoria


    Commenced at 7am by washing 15 and 16, two little girls, one suffering from hip disease who has an extension, the other from abscess on back, washed and combed their heads with dust-comb, dressed them, made their beds and took temperatures. Then went over to other side of the ward and washed 5, a boy with hip disease who leg has an extension on. Went to table for prayers. Washed and dressed 6, a boy who is now convalescent after operation on cleft palate and is allowed to get up and run about, and 9, a boy with tubercular elbow, which is supported in a sling, washed and combed heads, took temperatures and made their beds. Filled a hotwater bottle for one of the babies, finishing by 8.30.


    Dusted down both sides of the ward and small ward. Cleaned the bathroom, polishing taps, washing and drying basins, oiling slabs and wiping down window ledges, and tidied up generally. Scrubbed 3 sheet mackinstoshes and 6 or 7 small ones. Changed the stone-cloths and gave bedpans to the children all down night nurse’s side of ward, finishing by 10.15.

Find out more about the Nightingale Nurse diary Here

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