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Florence Nightingale’s Birthday

May 5th 2021| Michael Mountford

Florence Nightingale’s Birthday

Florence Nightingale was born on the 12th of May 1820 and died on the 13th of August 1910 and helped to make hospitals more sanitary places and even wrote books on how to succeed at being a good nurse.

Much of what we know about clean, organised hospital conditions today is thanks to Florence’s hard work and research. She began her nursing career during the Crimean War and campaigned for better hospital conditions for the wounded soldiers there.

She is considered the founder of modern nursing. She was also a welleducated statistician who introduced a more analytical approach to medical care.

The life and work of Florence Nightingale | BBC Teach

Florence Nightingale tells the story of her life and work and shows how she grew up to become a nurse during the Crimean War. The story is told in the first person and brought to life with a mix of drama, movement, music and animation.

Did You Know Facts

  • Florence Nightingale’s very first patient was a dog! She nursed Cap the sheepdog back to health after his leg was badly bruised, much to the thanks and appreciation of his owner, Roger.
  • Before Florence left for Turkey, she had a baby pet owl called Athena who she’d carry in her pocket.
  • Florence didn’t like having her picture taken or painted, so there aren’t many photos or paintings of her around today.
  • Florence is credited with inventing/popularising the pie chart!
  • Florence mentored Linda Richards, who is the first professionally trained nurse in the United States of America.
  • The 12th of May, Florence’s birthday, isn’t only International Nurses Day; it is also International Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Day as some people think she may have had the disease herself.

All About This Base | Horrible Histories

Paper Nightingale Lamp

Lesson Ideas


Find pictures and information about hospitals before Florence Nightingale changed them. What changes did she put into place? What was the Crimean War? Imagine you are Florence Nightingale, write a guide for fellow nurses to guide them on the methods you want them to use.


Hospitals have continued to change as new data about disease and infection is discovered. What do hospitals do to stop the spread of infection from visitors and staff during operations?

Can you design a poster to put up in hospital wards, places of work, schools and public places to show people of all ages the importance of being hygienic? Maybe you could design a character who will feature on the poster?


Imagine you are a soldier in the Crimean War who has been treated by Florence Nightingale. Write a letter thanking her for her care, recounting your thoughts and feelings about the experience of being injured in battle and being in hospital.

Alternatively, you could imagine you are a nurse today. Write a letter to Florence Nightingale describing to her the similarities and differences between nursing then and now. How have her changes affected modern nursing?


Florence was nicknamed Lady with the Lamp. Can you design lamps that could have been carried around the corridors, thinking about the material, handles and patterns to show the light flickering through; maybe in interesting ways for the soldiers to see.

Food Tech

Can you find any natural anti-bacterial ingredients that could be used to improve hygiene?

Florence Nightingale changed hospital meals. Research food that she made be served in meals. Can you design a menu or even cook a meal from her hospitals?


Florence Nightingale was awarded a jewel by Queen Victoria for her services to the soldiers in the war. Can you design something that could be given to modern-day NHS staff for their services?

Florence Nightingale was also awarded the Order of Merit for her contribution to nursing and hospitals. Have the children design their own Order of Merit certificate and then be encouraged to present it to someone in their family or community that they feel deserves to be honoured?


Teacher’s Pet already has some amazing resources all to do with Florence Nightingale. Click here to see all of our Florence Nightingale Resources.

Below I have picked out a handful of resources in order to help you get started.

Have a great day!

We hope these ideas have given you some inspiration for how to teach about Florence Nightingale.

If you have any great teaching ideas for this topic, feel free to comment them below and they might even get added into the topic calendar!

View all posts by: Michael Mountford
Categories: Topic Calendar
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