By Sara Laub
Florence continued to have contention with her parents over women being nurses for many years. She secretly gathered information and did research to learn about nursing and hospital procedures. Some friends invited her to tour parts of Europe and supported her in going to the Institution of Deaconesses of Kaiserswerth for training, which her parents despised. After years of trying to receive a blessing from her parents and becoming ill over being forced to live a lifestyle she did not want, even rejecting a proposal for marriage after seven years of courting, she decided to go to Kaiserswerth at age 30. She successfully completed her training and came home to a disgruntled family. An opportunity came for Flo to go to Paris and join the Sisters of Charity, where she spent every spare minute gathering information at the hospitals in the area while continuing her education in nursing. Flo left to help her ill grandmother in London and another position became available there to be on the committee to help reorganize The Institution for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen in Distressed Circumstances. She gained complete control of the institution and then was able to put all those years of experience and research into practice.
The Crimean war broke out and Flo was called to serve as a nurse, as an experiment, in the Scutari hospital, because of her success in improving hospitals and her advanced knowledge in nursing. She was told to bring 40 nurses with her and she would be in charge of making the hospital function appropriately.