During the Crimean War, British soldiers were being left to die in horrible conditions. But by then she had such a reputation that the British Secretary of War asked her to recruit and organize a group of nurses to go out to the Crimea. Once there, she not only cleaned up the hospitals (patients who were strong enough were asked to help with the cleaning), she organized laundry, library, education and dietary services, as well. The death rate was cut by two-thirds! Further, upon her return to England she wrote reports and books to disseminate the knowledge and experience she had gained. She was even consulted by the Americans during the Civil War. She funded a hospital that also included the Nightingale School for Nurses. She even effectively changed Society’s view of nursing; it had become a profession worthy of respect instead of a last-chance, shameful activity.
In that non-Internet era, with very few methods of communication other than letter-writing, word of mouth, and personal visits, her information became invaluable for families left behind, and wondering where their son/husband/brother/father was. So she opened the “Office of Correspondence with Friends of the Missing Men of the United States Army” and located over 22,000 missing men. Introduced to the International Committee of the Red Cross while in Europe, she became a fervent campaigner to get the American government to recognize the organization, and once that was accomplished (it only took 8 years!) she became the first President of the American Red Cross.
Do you think DG made the right choice in making Claire a nurse and aspiring Herbalist?
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