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Florence Nightingale


She is tall; very straight and willowy in figure; thick and shortish red brown hair; very delicate complexion, grey eyes, and perfect teeth. She is elegant, rather than beautiful, her countenance mobile and expressive.


Birth Date: May 12, 1820
Birth Location: Florence, Italy
Death Date: Aug 13, 1910
Cause of Death: old age
Languages: Greek, Latin, French, German, Italian, English
Occupation(s): nurse, hospital administrator, social reformer


Florence was educated by her father, who taught her several languages (see below) as well as history, philosophy, and mathematics. She later studied public health and hospitals systems.

Important life events

She left home at age 31 to join a nursing home, much against her parents wishes. Just a few years later she made history by taking 38 nurses with her to join the British army in the Crimean war. In only a few months she had completely reorganized the army hospital system. After the war, she returned quietly to England, and became sick, spending the rest of her years as a bed-ridden invalid. Yet she refused to rest and waste away, spending the next half century slowly shaping England's War Office Medical Department, and eventually all facets of England's health care system. She is best known for starting the first College of Nursing, and elevating nursing to a higher standard. She died somewhat bitter, after watching her friends pass on before her one by one.

Important Relationships

Florence spurned her parents at an early age because they disapproved of her desire to be more in life than a 'noble lady'. She had only one love affair as a youth, but decided to forsake him to avoid entrapment in the Victorian bonds of marriage. Her most important relationship in life was that with Sidney Herbert, Head of Britain's War Department and later Lord of Lea. Purely a platanic relationship, she and he were motivated by the same desire to serve the people and improve the lot of the British soldiers, and later, the poor and impoverished. Unfortunately, in her last years, she felt betrayed by Sidney when, suffering from pleurisy, he retired from work to rest. Her sharp criticism of this move prompted him to return to work; shortly thereafter he died.

Drives and motivations

Florence was driven by strong Unitarian values, a head-strong willingness to _do_ and _serve_, and most of all a strong rebellion against the social attitudes that shackled women into a stereotypic role in life. She felt early in life that her mission was to help improve the lot of the miserable. She was happiest when she was working hard. Refusing to be denied, she would take on the highest authority if they stood in her way, although always, she worked within the rules.


She is full of energy and pleasant in conversation. However, she forms and holds strong her opinions, and can become quite angry with those who cross her. But however angry she gets, she is always ladylike, outwardly calm, persuasive in her argument. She would much rather be working than not, and will always rise to the defense of those in need. She has a strong sense of Christian moral standards, and will not tolerate rude talk or immorality.


Florence is skilled, of course, in nursing and healing. However, her greatest skills are as an administrator and as a social system planner. She is very well read, and very well spoken. She wrote well and voluminously.

Personality Questions

Would your character prefer a game of chess or a game of football?
Florence would have preference for neither chess nor football - she would much rather spend time working or corresponding. However, her preference between the two would be to play chess, since this would be an opportunity to learn how her opponent thinks.
If your character found a wallet in the street, would they return it?
Definitely she would return it.
Would your character be more likely to be the life of the party or to quietly observe the goings-on?
Florence would not be the life of the party in the usual sense - she would not spend time entertaining, but instead earnestly discussing those matters important to her (the social condition of the people) with those to whom it mattered and to whom could make a difference.
Would your character be found on the top of a pyramid of people or on the bottom?
Florence would rise to the top of the pyramid - she was used to the company of those who run things, and used to manipulating them into doing what she felt was needed.
Pretending to be your character, rank the following statements in order of truth. Leave out statements that are false about your character.
a. Other people listen to what I say
e. I love to read
f. I always tell the truth
d. I notice my surroundings