Merseyside local group meeting on Florence Nightingale

On 1 July, the RSS Merseyside Local group, along with the department of Mathematics at the University of Liverpool, hosted an event in commemoration of Florence Nightingale and in celebration of the bicentenary of her birth. The event took place online and was the first online meeting organised by the group. It was broadcast on the RSS Merseyside YouTube channel where it is available to watch. We had 125 people register for the event, of which 39 were RSS members. These came from 32 different UK academic institutions, three different government sections and four different European institutions. During the meeting, we had 146 unique viewers and it has received over 250 views to date.
The meeting began with a talk from Dr Noel-Ann Bradshaw (London Metropolitan University ) on 'Florence Nightingale: how she used data and statistics to inform decision making and save lives'. She described how Florence Nightingale was outspoken and highly critical of data collection and presentation methods at the time, using quotes from her which would have been controversial. She highlighted Florence’s use of data to create real change in the treatment of soldiers, using statistics to prove that funding was required to improve the conditions in war hospitals. It was clear from this talk that the work of Florence Nightingale was highly influential at the time, impacting on the way that data is collected and presented.
Next Ms Helen Marshall (University of Liverpool) gave a talk on Florence Nightingale’s involvement in nursing, particularly in Liverpool. Florence Nightingale had an influence in the design and construction of many of the buildings in Liverpool, some of which are now used as offices within Liverpool University. The impact that Florence Nightingale had on nursing as a profession was highlighted; she was instrumental in changing society’s view of nurses, insisting that it is a skilled job and providing proper training for nurses. Florence Nightingale also had significant impact on the district nursing service in Liverpool which was established in 1859, and it is a testament to her work that it still exists today.
Finally, Dr Rhian Davies (Jumping Rivers) spoke about data visualisation and the impact of Florence Nightingale’s work in this field. She discussed some of the most famous of Florence Nightingale’s visualisations, and demonstrated how they can be implemented in modern software. She finished up by highlighting some of her ‘modern day Florences’ – women who are using data visualisation to highlight current issues and effect change.
Whilst this meeting really highlighted the impact of Florence Nightingale’s work at the time, it also showed the extent to which the influence of her work is still evident today.
The next meeting of the RSS Merseyside local group will take place on 14 October 2020 and will include talks on Bayesian Real Time Modelling from Darren Wilkinson (Newcastle University) and Peter Neal (Lancaster University).
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