Florence the Woman

Florence Nightingale Medal awarded to Dame Sarah Swift, 1929

Display No. 143

The Florence Nightingale Medal, awarded by the Red Cross, is the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve. This award was given to Dame Sarah Swift for her distinguished contribution to international nursing in 1929.

Dame Sarah Swift founded the Royal College of Nursing in 1916 and played a crucial role in the introduction of registration for nurses. Nightingale strongly opposed registration, but this has become an essential part of modern-day nursing worldwide.

The Royal College of Nursing Library and Archive

Exhibits from ‘Florence the Woman’

Discover the 200 Exhibits

Nightingale is respected worldwide for her pioneering role in developing the nursing profession, her statistical work, and her evidence-based approach to healthcare. In honour of her bicentenary the World Health Organisation have named 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

In our special exhibition, you will find out about objects, people and places which tell interesting stories about Florence’s life and legacy. You’ll discover artefacts from her life, people she both inspired and challenged, and places she helped to shape. There’s many more insights too!

Please click on the different sections of her famous coxcomb diagram to explore various aspects of her life and legacy. We hope you enjoy exploring!