The school is ranked as the number one faculty for nursing in London and in the United Kingdom whilst third in the world rankings and belongs to one of the leading universities in health services, policy and research in the world. A
freedom-of-information request in 2015 disclosed that the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery had one of the lowest admission offer rates of 14% to its applicants.
The faculty specialises in the following areas: child and adolescent nursing; midwifery and women's health; adult nursing; mental health nursing; and postgraduate research, with programmes catering to the needs of a wider range of individuals and healthcare professionals continuing their professional development.
Florence Nightingale and her nurses' work during the
Crimean War, a fund was set up in 1855 by members of the public to raise money for her work. By June 1856,
£44,039 (equivalent to over £4.26 million in 2016) was raised. Nightingale decided to use the money to set up a training school at
St Thomas' Hospital. The first nurses began their training on 9 July 1860. Graduates of the school used to be called 'Nightingales'.
When Nightingale's school for nurses was initially set up, under the direction of
Mrs Wardroper, the hospital matron, the students had a typical training period lasting a year. Students normally lived in-house; whilst having their own private rooms, a common room for lounge or socials was provided in the hospital's special area. The students attended their classes/patients at St. Thomas' Hospital. Around twenty to thirty students were accepted in a year, whose probationary period fall under two classifications. A common class woman who serves as student, upon completion, would receive a certain small amount of money plus a placement in a home or institution. An upper-class woman or 'Lady', on the other hand, would have completed some education and would be given the opportunity to assist in the school. Uniforms were provided at any case, and they would be under the charge of a matron (and an assistant). Upon graduation, they would be given a chance to visit Florence Nightingale in her South Street apartment, a momentous occasion for few people to meet her in person, especially since Nightingale's profile has been made well-known nationwide after the Crimean War. Nightingale kept extensive notes on all the students in the school, including their 'character'. She placed particular importance upon character; should there be any issue about 'character', the 'certification' of a nurse would be opposed.
Between 1860 and 1903 the school certified 1,907 nurses as having had one year's training. Many of the trainees went on to be matrons or superintendents of nursing.
Over the years, the training and the school itself went through a series of changes, mergers and expansions. The curriculum for nurses has changed enormously since. Further, in 1991, the school merged with Olive Haydon School of Midwifery and the Thomas Guy & Lewisham School of Nursing, creating the Nightingale and Guy's College of Nursing & Midwifery. The following year the name changed to the Nightingale College of Health. In 1993, it merged with
King's College Hospital School of Nursing at Normanby College and formed the Nightingale Institute. In 1996, the institute was fully integrated into
King's College London and was combined with the university's Department of Nursing Studies two years later to form the Florence Nightingale Division of Nursing & Midwifery. In 1999 it was renamed the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery. In September 2014 the school changed its name to the "Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery". In 2017 the Cicely Saunders Institute at King's moved from the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine to join with the Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery. The Faculty was renamed the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care. As of 2021, the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care is a faculty of 300 staff and 4,000 students.
Emmy Rappe, a Swedish nurse who founded the Swedish Nursing Association
Linda Richards, first professionally trained American nurse and established nursing training programs in US and Japan
Cecily Saunders, nurse, physician and social worker who established the first modern hospice having instituted
St Christopher's Hospice - which kick-started the hospice movement. Saunders was a pioneer of palliative care