Seacole and Nightingale

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Do you agree with the view that Mary Seacole, not Florence Nightingale was the real ‘Angel of Mercy’ during the Crimean war? Sources R and V both allude to the qualities that both women exhibited during the course of the Crimean war. Source R describes the caring nature of Seacole and the way in which she looked after the troops. This can be depicted from the quotations ‘a kind and successful physician’ and ‘more tender or skilful hand about a wound or broken limb could not be found among our best surgeons’. These quotations not only outline Seacole’s gentle nature but also her skill as a nurse. Both these qualities are characteristics in which an ‘Angel of Mercy’ may possess. However, William Russell was an ‘enthusiastic supporter’ Seacole and although this source is useful as it was written by someone who was actually present during the Crimean war, it could be seen as biased as Russell admired and was a true supporter of Seacole. From my own knowledge I know that Mary Seacole travelled to Balaclava independently in 1855. Seacole was originally from the West Indies and voyaged to the Crimean war because she wanted to help nurse the wounded soldiers .This shows that Seacole was in Crimea to actually help the soldiers and aid the medical assistance, I think that this shows the true qualities of the ‘Angel of Mercy’. In comparison, source V speaks of how Florence Nightingale revolutionised the way in hospitals in the Crimea were run. This could be seen from the quotation ‘formidable gifts for organisation’. In contrast, source 2C describes the energy in which Nightingale preformed every task and compares her against the grit and determination of the soldiers. An example of this is ‘battled as valiantly as any soldier in the field to improve conditions’. Florence Nightingale managed the hospital progress by using a new method of recording data, called ‘coxcombes’.
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