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Florence Nightingale (1820 - 1910)

By Lexie Van Den Heuvel

The altar of murdered men

National History Day Documentary--Junior Level (Middle School)

Gold Medal winner

Produced by Lexie Van Den Heuvel

University School of Milwaukee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

June 14, 2012

This strong documentary examines a vital but little known achievement of the legendary Florence Nightingale: her innovative use of health statistics to drive hospital reform. Wisconsin middle schooler Lexie Van Den Heuvel's 2012 National History Day entry focuses on Nightingale's invention of the polar area graph, which helped her show the terrible toll of preventable diseases on British soldiers during the Crimean War and on wider populations after the war. Nightingale's painstaking research and statistical graphing, combined with her fierce advocacy, sparked critical reforms in hospital design and sanitation practice. Of course, almost anything that promotes understanding of Nightingale's work is likely to help nursing, since she is so widely recognized as the founder of the modern profession. See the entire piece on our blog here.

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