New University of Alabama Birmingham Exhibit Showcases Letters of Florence Nightingale

NightingaleThe University of Alabama at Birmingham has debuted an exhibit of its archives of letters written by Florence Nightingale, considered the founder of modern nursing. The letters, written between 1853 and 1893, cover a wide range of topics. They were donated to the university in 1958. The letters have been digitized and are available on iPads in an exhibit on the first floor of the university’s School of Nursing.

“These wonderful letters are a tremendous asset to UAB, Birmingham and Alabama,” said Doreen Harper dean of the university’s School of Nursing. “Any time you have primary resource material of a person as prominent in the history of health care as Florence Nightingale, you have something unique to be treasured and shared.

“Through this new exhibit we are fulfilling our responsibility to share the content with the rest of the world. In fact, Nightingale was a prominent force in the creation of global health care and global nursing, and these letters offer countless leadership lessons relevant to the future of nursing and health care,” Dr. Harper said.

Nightingale was born to a wealthy British family in 1820. She trained as a nurse despite her parents’ objections and became an advocate for improving care for the poor. During the Crimean War she was hailed as a heroine for introducing nursing into British military hospitals in Turkey, improving sanitary conditions and helping save soldiers’ lives. After the war she opened a training school for nurses, wrote instructional books and modernized hospital planning. She died in 1910.

Below is a video on the new exhibit.

Filed Under: Women's Studies

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