With the health care debate raging all around us, it seemed like a good idea to mention Florence Nightingale, arguably the most famous nurse of all time. Her experiences in the military hospitals in the Crimea were first published in Notes on Matters Affecting the Health, Efficiency, and hospital Administration of the British Army, Founded Chiefly on the Experience of the Late War (London: Harrison and Sons, 1858) in which she graphically illustrates that the chief cause of death during the war was not military action, but rather preventable disease. In the chart shown here, the blue represents death by disease, red is death by wounds, and black all other causes as recorded from April 1854 to March 1855.
Nightingale's observations formed the basis for her seminal work Notes on Nursing: What it is, and What it is Not (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1860). This was the first book of its kind and in it, she advocates for simple, modern rules of nursing and health care for both professionals and the lay person.