Florence Nightingale

British Nursing Pioneer and Trailblazing Statistician
May 12, 1820 - August 13, 1910

Ms. Nightingale, British nurse, statistician, and social reformer who was the foundational philosopher of modern nursing. Nightingale was put in charge of nursing British and allied soldiers in Turkey during the Crimean War. She spent many hours in the wards, and her night rounds giving personal care to the wounded established her image as the “Lady with the Lamp.” Her efforts to formalize nursing education led her to establish the first scientifically based nursing school—the Nightingale School of Nursing, at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London (opened 1860). She also was instrumental in setting up training for midwives and nurses in workhouse infirmaries. She was the first woman awarded the Order of Merit (1907). International Nurses Day, observed annually on May 12, commemorates her birth and ​celebrates the important role of nurses in health care.​

While Florence Nightingale is most known as a nursing pioneer, she was also a trailblazing statistician whose prowess for numbers literally saved lives. She even made important contributions to data visualization — if you've ever seen a Coxcomb diagram, you've seen her handiwork. ​