Nightingale

Nightingale's 'Coxcombs'

Nightingale's coxcombsThrough her work as a nurse in the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale was a pioneer in establishing the importance of sanitation in hospitals. She meticulously gathered data on relating death tolls in hospitals to cleanliness, and, because of her novel methods of communicating this data, she was also a pioneer in applied statistics. We explore the work of Nightingale, and in particular focus on her use of certain graphs which, following misreading of her work, are now commonly known as 'coxcombs'.

Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War

On 28 March 1854 Britain and France declared war on Russia, and for the next two years British, French, Sardinian, and Turkish troops fought against Russians in the Crimean War. The loss of life in the war was colossal; of 1 650 000 soldiers who began the war (of all nations), 900 000 died. The majority of those who perished did not die from wounds; rather they died from diseases brought about by the terrible living conditions which they suffered. In these notes we review the Crimean War, and the role Florence Nightingale had in highlighting the plight of the soldiers.

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