Florence lived from 1820 to 1910 in an era where not much was expected from middle class women, besides being a good wife and raising a family. In her early years she sensed a "calling" from God, and since that day she knew she was destined for something greater than a house wife. She was very academic growing up, very religious, and had a growing belief that nursing was her calling. However, paid nursing had a reputation as a job for the poor, old, and drunkenness. Her parents thought that it was't a good career choice but ended up letting her go to nursing school. When Florence was 33 years of age she became superintendent at a hospital for "gentlewomen" in London.
In March 1854, there weren't enough nurses to serve due to the soldiers fighting in the Crimean war. Florence was invited to oversee the introduction of female nurses in Turkey, and was named "Lady of the Lamp" for her calming sight of checking that everything was good at night time.