Sunday March 29, 2015
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01-123 Florence Nightingale

Sunday Mar 29, 2015

Lead: When Florence Nightingale and her fellow nurses arrived to care for British and Allied soldiers in the Crimean War, the military hospital was a mess.

Intro: A Moment In Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: From Constantinople the military hospital and Turkish barracks appeared as magnificent as a sultan's palace. Up close it was filthy and dilapidated. Food and drugs were running short and the facility was almost without decent medical equipment. Each week the sick arriving increased.

Florence Nightingale had friends highly placed in the British government. As a result, she was allowed to bring a team of female nurses to Turkey to help. For the most part, however, the male army doctors at Scutari, the army hospital just across the Bosphorus Strait from Constantinople, resented her presence and that of her band of nurses. Though she brought with her an enormous amount of money to lend to the task, the medical team, with one exception, drew together in a defensive posture. To accept her help was to admit their need for help.

Florence realized that before she could accomplish anything, she had to win the confidence of the doctors; therefore, she held the nurses back. No nurse was to enter a ward except at the invitation of a doctor. Weeks of this useless standoff passed and then the situation changed dramatically. On November 9, 1854, a flood of wounded began to come in from the Crimea. Prejudice and resentments were set aside as it gradually dawned on the doctors that there was one person in Scutari who had the money and was willing to spend it and who had the nurses and was willing to use them. Whatever was wanted, from milk pudding to bandages, they asked Nightingale and she would go over to Constantinople and buy it. When word came that 500 more wounded were on the way to a hospital already filled, Florence hired 200 workers and cleaned and repaired a burned out wing of the hospital.

Florence Nightingale and her nurses faced continual opposition, but through it they demonstrated patience and enormous courage. She worked tirelessly to relieve the conditions of the soldiers. She demonstrated the invaluable role of nursing as a part of medical service.

The Producer of A Moment In Time is Steve Clark. At the University of Richmondís School of Professional and Continuing Studies, Iím Dan Roberts.


Boyd, Nancy. Three Victorian Women Who Changed Their World: Josephine Butler, Octavia Hill, Florence Nightingale. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.

Smith, F.B. Florence Nightingale: Reputation and Power. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1982.

Woodham-Smith, Cecil Blanche Fitzgerald. Florence Nightingale, 1820-1910. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1951.

Copyright 2015 by Dan Roberts Enterprises, Inc.


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