• Imagining History

Florence Nightingale - Fun Facts for KS1 & KS2

Updated: Apr 22

Find out about Florence Nightingale with these easy facts for Keystage 1 & 2. If you want to learn more, check out our guide to Florence Nightingale and her Legacy.

An image of Nightingale by Kilburn
  • Florence's parents named both of their daughters after the cities they were born in. Florence was named after Florence in Italy and her sister Frances Parthenope was named after Parthenope in Greece.

  • Florence didn't go to school but was taught by her father at home. She learned maths, science and languages like Latin, French and Italian.

  • Florence rescued an owl and named her Athena. Athena loved to go everywhere with Florence and would sit on her shoulder or in her pocket.

  • Florence was asked to take a team of 38 nurses to a hospital in Scutari to help soldiers who were injured in the Crimean war.

  • When Florence first arrived in the hospital in Scutari, the Doctors working there didn't want her help. But in the end, Florence's good work reduced the hospital’s death rate by two-thirds.

  • Florence paid to make the Scutari hospital better using her own family money and gifts from people back at home in Britain. She bought things like blankets, medicine and food to help the injured soldiers.

Courtesy of Wellcome Collection gallery
  • The injured soldiers called Florence “The Lady With The Lamp” because she walked around the hospital at night holding a lamp and comforting patients.

  • Queen Victoria was so pleased with Florence's work in Scutari that she gave her a gold engraved brooch (now known as the "Nightingale Jewel") to thank her.

  • While in Scutari, Florence was infected with "Crimean Fever". This was a lifelong illness and from the age of 38 onwards she spent most of her life in bed. But she didn't let this stop her from helping people.

  • Florence was very good at maths and helped people to understand the beneficial effects of her work by showing data in clear diagrams that everyone could understand.

Florence Nightingale
  • Florence wrote over 200 books on how to be a nurse and how hospitals should be run.

  • Florence became the first woman to become a member of the Royal Statistical Society because she was so good at maths.

  • Before Florence became a nurse, the job of nursing was frowned upon. Florence's work made it a respectable career.

  • International Nurses Day is celebrated every year on Florence's birthday.


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Further Reading:

We found the following books very handy in researching this article. If you'd like to learn more about Florence Nightingale then they're well worth a look.

For Adults:

Notes on Nursing - What It Is and What It Is Not by Florence Nightingale

Why we like it:

This book is written by Florence Nightingale herself. It is one of her most famous books, and describes the curriculum that her trainee nurses learned at the Nightingale Training School at St. Thomas' Hospital.

For Children:

Fact Cat: Florence Nightingale by Izzy Howell

Why we like it:

This book is a great introduction to Florence Nightingale and her work during the Crimean War. It even comes with a fun quiz so you can practice what you've learned! Ideal for ages 5-7.

For Children:

DK Life Stories Florence Nightingale by Kitson Jazynka

Why We Like It:

This book contains a more in-depth look into Florence's life and achievements. It is a great biography spanning her entire life including fun graphics, diagrams and more. Ideal for ages 7-11.

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