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Suggestion for a primary school assembly  

Most of you will have seen nurses. And you know that many of them work in hospitals. Perhaps you have a relative who is a nurse. Or perhaps you would like to be a nurse when you grow up. What sort of things do nurses do? (Teachers might perhaps invite children to contribute from their own experience). They may check your temperature or your pulse. They give you medicines. They make you more comfortable in bed. If you are not feeling very strong, they will help you to wash or to have a bath. They may bandage you, or put your arm or leg in plaster if it is broken. They may give you an injection. They need to know a great deal and to be very well trained.

toy nurse
toy nurse But until the middle of the last century there was very little proper training at all for nurses.

One of the first really professional training schools in the world was opened in Britain, on 24 June 1860. It was called the Nightingale Training School.

It was named after Florence Nightingale.
You might think that Florence Nighingale was very lucky because her parents were quite rich and she had no need to go out to work. But she did not want to stop at home. She wanted to do something worthwhile with her time. She started to take an interest in the care of the sick. She visited people in their homes and she visited hospitals. She travelled abroad and spent some months as a student nurse in Germany.

She was very critical of what she saw. She did not think that nursing care was very good. Sick people were often not properly fed and they were not kept in very clean conditions. Nurses seemed to spend as much time washing floors as looking after patients.

In 1854 Britain send soldiers to the Crimea to fight against Russia. Many of the soldiers were wounded. Florence Nightingale took a group of nurses to the Crimea to look after them. She organised nursing care in her own way. She became very famous and people back in Britain wanted to reward her. They raised a great deal of money - £44,000.
toy nurse
toy nurse

Florence Nightingale suggested that the money should be spent to found a training school for nurses. And this was called the Nightingale Training School.

Florence Nightingale's work had a big influence on nursing and we owe it, in part, to her that we have such high standards of nursing today.