Early in life, Florence knew she wanted to choose a life of service to others. Born into a family of wealth, Florence was sheltered in many ways by her parents. Her father educated her at home and opposed the idea of Florence going into nursing. In fact, Florence later wrote that she felt suffocated and stymied by the wealth of her family as well as the social expectations that this brought.
While Florence had a number of suitors, she felt that marriage would enslave her with domestic responsibilities. Following the worst of the Crimea War, in 1855 Florence was asked by an old friend -Sydney Herbert- to hire and organize a group of nurses for the war efforts in Crimea.