Which Type of Data Did Florence Nightingale Collect During the Crimean War?


Larry Thompson

Which Type of Data Did Florence Nightingale Collect During the Crimean War?

Florence Nightingale, known as the founder of modern nursing, made significant contributions during the Crimean War in the mid-19th century. Not only did she revolutionize nursing practices, but she also collected and analyzed data to bring about important changes in healthcare.


During the Crimean War (1853-1856), Florence Nightingale was sent to a military hospital in Scutari (now Istanbul) to care for wounded soldiers. Appalled by the high mortality rate and poor conditions, she initiated various reforms to improve the healthcare system.

The Collection of Data

To advocate for change effectively, Nightingale understood the power of data visualization. She collected extensive data on mortality rates, causes of death, and other health-related statistics.

Her meticulous approach involved recording information on a daily basis. She gathered data on patients’ conditions upon admission, their age and gender, and whether they were suffering from wounds or diseases.

Nightingale also documented details about deaths in the hospital. This included noting the cause of death, whether it was due to injuries sustained in battle or preventable diseases acquired during treatment.

Data Visualization Techniques

Nightingale’s true genius lay in her ability to transform complex data into easily understandable visual representations. She believed that presenting data visually would have a more significant impact on decision-makers and aid in bringing about necessary changes in healthcare practices.

Rose Diagram

One of Nightingale’s most famous visualizations is the Rose Diagram (also known as Coxcomb Diagram). This innovative chart displayed mortality rates month by month throughout the war, emphasizing preventable deaths.

The Rose Diagram consisted of a circle divided into twelve segments, each representing a month. The length of each segment corresponded to the number of deaths in that particular month. Different colors were used to represent different causes of death, such as wounds, diseases, and other preventable factors.

This visual representation effectively conveyed the impact of preventable diseases compared to battle injuries and highlighted the urgent need for improved sanitary conditions and healthcare practices.

Statistical Diagrams

In addition to the Rose Diagram, Nightingale also utilized statistical diagrams to convey her findings. She created bar charts and line graphs to showcase variations in mortality rates over time and highlight the progress made due to her reforms.

Impact and Legacy

Nightingale’s data-driven approach had a profound impact on healthcare practices during the Crimean War and beyond. Her statistical analysis provided evidence for improving hygiene, sanitation, nutrition, and overall patient care.

Her efforts led to significant changes in military hospitals, including improved ventilation systems, cleaner environments, better nutrition for patients, and more efficient organization of medical supplies and staff.

Nightingale’s pioneering work in data collection and visualization laid the foundation for modern epidemiology. Her emphasis on using data as a powerful tool for change continues to inspire researchers and healthcare professionals today.


Florence Nightingale’s contributions during the Crimean War extended far beyond nursing care. She recognized the importance of collecting accurate data, analyzing it effectively, and presenting it visually. By doing so, she was able to influence policy changes that revolutionized healthcare practices not only during her time but also in years to come.

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