Florence Nightingale was named after the place of her birth in Italy. She trained as a nurse at Kaiserswerth (1851) and Paris and in 1853 became superintendent of a hospital for invalid women in London. In the Crimean War she volunteered for duty and took 38 nurses to Scutari in 1854. She organized the barracks hospital after the Battle of Inkerman (5 November) and by imposing strict discipline and standards of sanitation reduced the hospital mortality rate drastically. She returned to England in 1856 and a fund of £50,000 was subscribed to enable her to form an institution for the training of nurses at St Thomas's and at King's College Hospital.
She devoted many years to the question of army sanitary reform, to the improvement of nursing and to public health in India. Her main work, Notes on Nursing (1859), went through many editions.