Statistics & Evidence Based Healthcare

Hospital-Acquired Infections

Display No. 5

Hospital-acquired infections are illnesses that patients contract while receiving treatment for another condition in a health-care setting. Nightingale was passionate about reducing rates of infections such as pneumonia. Today, x-ray technology enables us to see how pneumonia damages the lungs: the lung on the left appears cloudy because it has filled with fluid.

Nightingale was one of the first infection prevention and control advocates, through her promotion of sterilisation, hand-washing and cleanliness. On sterilisation, Nightingale joked that procedures could be briefly stated: boil “yourself and everything within your reach, including the surgeon”.

X Ray with Pneumnia

Chest x-ray: staphylococcal pneumonia. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY-NC 4.0

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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!