Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 274

Florence Nightingale


Hello Everyone       



Bob had a bit of an accident at the beginning of this week.  He fell down the stairs and hurt his knee. He said it was really bad luck because he had hurt that knee only a few weeks ago too when he had tumbled over and grazed it.


He was in Auntie Alice’s garden at the time and managed to hobble into the kitchen for some first aid.


Auntie Alice washed his knee to make sure there was no grit in it.


Emily put a large sticking plaster over the wound.


Auntie Alice said that Emily was a regular little Florence Nightingale.


The children did not know who that was and because Auntie Alice had been to the Florence Nightingale Museum in London she knew all about her.


She decided to tell them the story while they all sat down and had a cup of hot chocolate. 


And after all, Bob needed to sit down for a while and rest his hurting knee.


And here is her story…


Florence Nightingale was born in 1820, which of course is a long time ago.


She was named after the ltalian city in which she was born.  Her parents were quite rich.  Florence had an older sister called Frances, but everybody called her Pop.


Florence was very clever, and she was also very lucky because her father believed that it was important for girls to have a good education and not everyone thought that way at the time.


He made sure that both his daughters had a good education.


Because the family were wealthy they had two houses in England and servants to look after them.


Most rich girls of the time would grow up to become wives and mothers and run big households.  They might have helped charities with their work but otherwise they would not have gone out to do a job.  This is certainly what Florence’s mother and sister expected of Florence.


Florence was very religious and from a young age held a belief that God wanted her to do something very important to help the world.


When she was 22, a young politician and writer asked her to marry him. 


She couldn’t make up her mind for several years and then eventually said no.  She probably thought that marriage would get in the way of her ambitions.


Florence had a comfortable life.  She was able to travel as well and went to Egypt in 1849 to see interesting things and sail along the Nile.


But what Florence really wanted to do was become a nurse.


She told her parents and they were horrified.


At the time, hospitals were dirty, nasty places.  The floors were strewn with straw to soak up the blood.  Operations were done without anaesthetic. 


lf rich people were ill, they were very often looked after in their own bedrooms by their family and servants and paid for a doctor to come and visit them.  Most people who went to hospital did not come out alive.


Being a nurse was not a respectable profession.  They weren’t even properly trained to do their job.  The nurses were usually servants and widows who could not get any other kind of job to earn money to keep themselves.


So Florence’s parents sent her back to ltaly in the hope that she would forget all about the idea.


There she met a young Englishman, Sidney Herbert, who had ideas about how rich people should help poor people and consequently she became even more determined to fulfil her ambition.  Florence became life-long friends with Sidney and his wife.


Florence went off to Germany in 1851 to train in a Christian nursing school for women.  She spent four months learning all the modern skills that they could teach her.  She loved learning to be a nurse.


Then in 1853, Florence was offered a wonderful opportunity.  A friend of hers asked her to run a hospital in Harley Street, London that looked after ‘lnvalid Gentlewomen’.  This was not a paid position but her father helped her out with money, paying her a very adequate annual income.


Florence did a really good job and made a lot of improvements in the hospital.


Later, when her father and sister became ill she went to nurse them too.


Then something happened that was going to make Florence become famous.


War broke out.


ln 1854, the Crimean War began.  Britain fought with France and Turkey against Russia in a place called Crimea.  This is a peninsular in the Black Sea.  This peninsular is a bit like an island but is attached to the mainland at its northern point.


The soldiers suffered terribly in the war.  There were newspaper reports of them dying from cold and hunger and lack of proper medical care.


After battle, the hospitals were filled with wounded soldiers and not enough nurses to look after them.  There were more men dying in the hospitals than fighting on the battlefield.  Ten times as many men were dying from diseases like typhus, typhoid, cholera and dysentery than their wounds.  These are the kind of diseases you get from living in dirty conditions.


Do you remember Sidney Herbert, the man Florence had met in ltaly? 


Well, as fate would have it, he had become Minister for War.


He asked Florence to take a team of nurses out to the Crimea and start sorting out the problem.


Florence knew that this was her chance to do ‘the something important’ that she had been waiting for and agreed to go.


All her training and experience could now really be put to good use in a very big way.


Florence took 38 nurses with her to Turkey in November 1854.  Amongst the group of ladies were her aunt, Mai Smith, and 15 Catholic nuns.


At first, the doctors would have nothing to do with Florence.  They would not take her seriously and did not consider her or her companions to be proper medical personnel.  But Florence would not give up.  She knew she could help and make an important difference.


Eventually, the doctors gave in to her and let her begin work in the army hospital at Scutari in lstanbul.  lstanbul is a city in Turkey – and actually the hospital still exists today.


What she found there was truly horrible.


The hospital was overcrowded with injured soldiers.  There were not enough beds for them and some had to lie on the floor.


But the worst thing was the filthy living conditions.


There were no proper toilets and the drains were blocked.  The men were unwashed and there were rats running everywhere.


There was poor ventilation and the stench was unbearable.


The food was disgusting and almost inedible.


Even the bread was green with mould.


lt was not surprising that so many men were dying of disease.


The medical staff that were already there were trying their best.  But there was too much work for them to cope with, not enough supplies and they were getting no support from the officials that employed them.


Florence had a momentous task on her hands but she set to work straight away.


She said that without clean water, clean beds and wound dressings the men would never have a chance of getting better.


She worked 20 hours a day and started to get things organized.


She bought fresh food from the local shops.  She set up clean kitchens with cooking equipment and employed a French chef called Alexis Soyer to cook nice meals.


She paid to get the drains unblocked.


She organised the wards and cleaned the whole hospital.  She told all medical staff that they must wash their hands before and after dealing with patients.  All these measures had a huge effect.


lt took months of tireless work to achieve success.


Florence sat with dying men so that they would not die alone.  She wrote letters home to their families for them if they were not able to write themselves.  She walked the wards at night to make sure the men were comfortable.


She carried a lantern with her as she walked around the wards so that she could see where she was walking in the darkness and check on the patients as she went.


The soldiers called her ‘The Lady with the Lamp’.


She seemed like an angel of mercy to them.


With her knowledge and organizational skills, hard work and determination she reduced the death rate in the hospital from 42% to 2%.


She wrote to The Times newspaper in London telling them that the bad situation she was dealing with needed a government solution and the government responded by asking Brunel (Blog Post 264) to design a prefabricated hospital. 


This was like a building made in kit form. 


lt was shipped out to the Dardanelles.  This new hospital had a death rate that was only one tenth of that of Scutari.


People in Britain heard of Florence’s work and sent money to help her. 


When she returned home in 1856, she was hailed as a heroine.  She had completely changed the situation of wounded soldiers and also the reputation of nurses. 


But Florence did not want any fuss and went back home to her parents’ house in Derbyshire on the train calling herself Miss Smith so as not to draw attention to herself.


Queen Victoria sent her a letter of thanks and a brooch and The Sultan of Turkey sent her a diamond bracelet.


But Florence did not stop her work of trying to modernize health care.  She had made a huge impact on military hospitals in the Crimean War and when she returned, started to make differences in British hospitals too.


Later, she would act as an advisor to the Union Government.  She gave advice for nurses looking after soldiers in the American Civil War.


She met with Queen Victoria and told her about how army hospitals should be improved.  She continued to visit army camps and hospitals around the country and wrote letters to influential people to get them to make improvements.  She was putting her fame to good use.


And changes were made.


The army started training doctors so that they would know how to look after battle wounds properly.  Hospitals got much cleaner and soldiers were given better food and clothes.


ln 1860, with £45,000, Florence opened her Nightingale Training School for nurses at St Thomas’s Hospital in London.  The hospital is next to the River Thames.  lt was the first secular nursing school in the world.  That means that it was not run by the church. 


Florence’s own note books were used to help train the nurses.  These books were really written for those people nursing members of their family at home.  They talked about things like how important hygiene (keeping things clean) could be – but they applied to anyone looking after patients.


St Thomas’s Hospital is still there, and the museum of her life is nearby.  Florence’s school is now part of King’s College London.


Less than a year later, Florence’s first trained nurses started working at the Liverpool Workhouse lnfirmary.  One of Florence’s students, Linda Richards went on to train nurses in the United States and Japan with her newly-found skills.


Florence worked so hard that she spent the last 40 years of her life mostly in bed because she became ill.  There, she continued to write letters to people, trying to get medical care improved.


Since her time, countless nurses have been trained and she is known as the founder of modern nursing.  New nurses take the ‘Nightingale Pledge’ before they start working as a nurse and the Florence Nightingale Medal is the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve.


Florence was given many honours.  ln 1907, she was the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit.


She died in 1907.


There were offers to bury her in Westminster Abbey, but her family chose to lay her to rest in Hampshire.  A memorial was erected to her in Florence.


Florence was born rich and was well-educated and these things gave her self-confidence.  She also had access to people in high places.  Her father tutored her and supported her when she was young.  She had a strong character and was stubborn, determined and forthright.


All these things contributed to her success and many people owed her a great debt of gratitude.


There is a museum dedicated to her in her sister’s home, Claydon House and another in lstanbul.


Four hospitals in lstanbul are named after her.


And that was the end of Auntie Alice’s story, which really took Bob’s mind off his injury at the time.  But Florence Nightingale’s legacy lives on because of the way she set up the way that nurses are taught to take care of patients.


The long wards that you sometimes see in hospitals today with beds lined up each side along the long walls are called Nightingale wards.


At the end of March 2020, the government announced that they were to set up a field (temporary) hospital in a large exhibition centre called the ExCel Centre in the docklands of East London.  lt would be needed to look after up to 4,000 Covid-19 Virus patients in two very large wards.


lt was to be called NHS Nightingale Hospital. There were more to follow in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Harrogate, Exeter and Washington.


lnternational Nurses Day is celebrated each year on Florence Nightingale’s birthday; 12th May.


And what of Bob?  Well he is on the mend now you will be glad to hear.  His graze has got to the itchy stage which means that the skin is healing.  lf you have ever had a ‘playground knee’, you will know exactly what l mean.


Bill keeps teasing him by saying that as Emily had put his plaster on then he can rip it off – and he isn’t going to be doing it very gently either!


l told him not to worry.  He can soak it off gently in a hot bath.


But Bill is still telling him to be afraid – very afraid!


That isn’t brotherly love, is it?



Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!


lf you like my blog, please support it by telling all your friends and followers about it.


Thank you!


And see you again next Fun Friday!


Love and kisses



Salty Sam





Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke


Bob:  Did you hear that Uncle Ned is retiring?


Bill:  Oh, really?


Bob:  He says that all the time he was working he never had one day off sick.


Bill:  Oh?


Bob:  Yes, whenever he was ill, he always took a whole week off!



Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

Links may be used to


wheelPicture Gallery


Florence Nightingale


Florence Nightingale set up wards for the soldiers

By William Simpson

(Artist, 1823–1899) E. Walker


South Street, Mayfair, London


The Nightingale Pledge 


Statue of Florence Nightingale in Waterloo Place, London


Florence Nightingale remembered on a £10 note








Well, I could do no better this week than to give the news desk over to Bill and Bob because they were just itching to tell you some of their doctor jokes.

Take it away boys!


Doctor, doctor, just lately I have been feeling a bit like a yoyo.

So how are you feeling today?

Oh, a bit up and down.


Doctor, doctor, everyone thinks I am a joke.

Don’t make me laugh!


Doctor, doctor, everyone thinks I am a liar.

I find that hard to believe!


Doctor, doctor, sometimes I feel so rough I think I must be a cookie.

I think your crackers!


Doctor, doctor, can I have a bottle of aspirin and a bottle of glue?

Why do you need a bottle of aspirin and a bottle of glue?

Because I’ve got a splitting headache!


Doctor, doctor, what is good for biting fingernails?

Very sharp teeth!


Doctor, doctor, I need a second opinion.

Of course, come back tomorrow.


Doctor, doctor, you have to help me out!

That’s easily done.  Which way did you come in?


Doctor, doctor, I have got a terrible cold.  What should I do?

Go home and take a hot bath and then stand outside with no clothes on.

But if I do that, I’ll get pneumonia!

That’s the idea.  I can treat pneumonia but I can’t cure a cold.








Quick Quiz


Can you fill in the missing letters to find people who work together?


  1. N _ r _ e _       d _ c _ o _ s
  2. P _ l _ t _       f _ i _ h _t   a _ t _ n _ a _ t _
  3. C _ e _ s       w _ i _ e _ s
  4. J _ u _ n _ l _ s _ s       p _ o _ o _ r _ p _ e _ s
  5. T _ l _ v _ s _ o _   p _ e _ e _ t _ r _       c _ m _ r _ m _ n








lt’s the Weekend!




Do you ever play doctors and nurses?

This is a lovely box to keep your toy medical kit in.

It will be big enough for some pots of cream, plasters and bandages.  You might find some sweets to use as tablets – but remember real medicines are never for playing with!

Ask your mum or grandma to save the little pots she gets eye cream in if she has any.  Otherwise you could use plastic bottle tops.



You will need white, red and green dk yarn – you can make the cross on the top green if you like, because a lot of medical kits have green crosses on them.


You will need 2 sheets of 7 mesh 10.5 by 13.5 inches/26.7 by 34.3cm



First cut the following panels:-


Outer base bottom             31 x 31 holes     1 piece

Outer base sides               31 x 12 holes     4 pieces


Cover the sides with green and white stripes 2 holes wide using tent stitch

Cover the base with white tent stitches


Inner base bottom               29 x 29 holes     1 piece

Inner base sides                29 x 11 holes     4 pieces


Sew the side panels to the larger panel using white yarn but don’t sew up the corners


Outer lid top                     33 x 33 holes            1 piece

Outer lid sides                  33 x 6 holes             4 pieces


Work a red cross into the centre of the lid – put a square 6 by 6 in the centre and extend the wings of the cross out by 4 stitches

Work a stripe of green then 1 of white then 1 of green around the outside

Fill in the rest of the lid panels with white tent stitch


Inner lid top                     31 x 31 holes            1 piece

Inner lid sides                  31 x 5 holes             4 pieces


Sew the side panels to the larger panel using white yarn but don’t sew up the corners



  1. Sew the sides of the outer lid to the outer lid top with red yarn, then sew up the corners with red yarn
  2. Sew the sides of the outer base to the bottom of the outer base with red yarn, then sew up the corners with red yarn
  3. Sew the inner lid to the outer lid with red yarn along the rim – sew just into the outer skin for just 1 hole at each end because you have 2 more holes on the outer panel than the inner
  4. Sew the inner base to the outer base using red yarn along the rim – sew just into the outer skin for just 1 hole at each end because you have 2 more holes on the outer panel than the inner


Look at the photographs to see the pattern of stitches.


The box top


The box sides




Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand



Quick Quiz Answers


  1. Nurses   doctors
  2. Pilots   flight attendants
  3. Chefs   waiters
  4. Journalists   photographers
  5. Television presenters   cameramen




If you would like to hear Florence Nightingale’s voice, click on the link…

When I am no longer even a memory, just a name, I hope my voice may perpetuate the great work of my life. God bless my dear old comrades of Balaclava and bring them safe to shore.

Florence Nightingale.


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  • Georgia says:

    Inspiring story there. What occurred after?

    • Salty Sam says:

      Well Georgia, Bill did not rip Bob’s plaster off in the end. Bob took it off himself some days later after his graze was healed. He is all better now.

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