School of Nursing

Florence Nightingale Citations

(2019). "Final Services for Florence Nightingale." Am J Nurs 119(5): 59-60. DOI: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000557916.65893.3a

Editor's note: From its first issue in 1900 through to the present day, AJN has unparalleled archives detailing nurses' work and lives over more than a century. These articles not only chronicle nursing's growth as a profession within the context of the events of the day, but they also reveal prevailing societal attitudes about women, health care, and human rights. Today's nursing school curricula rarely include nursing's history, but it's a history worth knowing. To this end, From the AJN Archives highlights articles selected to fit today's topics and times. Florence Nightingale died on August 13, 1910. AJN noted her passing in the September 1910 issue and covered her August 20 funeral in the October issue. That account, "Final Services for Florence Nightingale," describes the flowers and wreaths that accumulated at both the church and the Nightingale tomb. A special note was made of the wreath from Stella Forster, a seven-year-old girl, who sent along this message: "Please may my wreath be put with the other flowers. I picked the heather and made it myself, because I love her so."It had been Nightingale's wish to have a simple burial. Nevertheless, as her small procession passed Buckingham Palace and Wellington Barracks, "the guards turned out and the sentries presented arms." Nightingale might have been surprised to learn that in the United States, beginning in 1954, her birthday would be celebrated as the centerpiece of Nurses Week each year.


Arnone, J. M. and V. Fitzsimons (2015). "Plato, Nightingale, and Nursing: Can You Hear Me Now?" Int J Nurs Knowl 26(4): 156-162. DOI: 10.1111/2047-3095.12059

PURPOSE: A historical perspective on how the writings of Plato influenced Florence Nightingale in the formation of nursing as a respected profession for women. Comparing Nightingale's life and legacy to Platonic philosophy demonstrates how philosophy continues to speak to the profession of nursing practice as guardians of society in the 21st century. METHODS: A review of the literature using EBSCO, SAGEpub, MEDLINE, and CINAHL databases and hand searches of literature were initiated for the years 1990-2014 using the terms "Plato," "Nightingale," and "nursing" restricted to English. FINDINGS: Florence Nightingale, known as the mother of modern-day nursing, embodied her life and work after the philosophic tenets of Plato. Plato's Allegory of the Cave influenced Nightingale's attitudes with regard to the value of education, knowledge of the good, and the importance of imparting learned knowledge to others. Plato's work spoke of educating both men and women to seek the truth, affording both sexes to become competent as future leaders in the role of guardians to society. Nightingale's emphasis of education for women as a conduit for their usefulness to society mirrored Plato's philosophy. CONCLUSION: Over 100 years after her death, the impact Florence Nightingale still has on professional nursing practice remains. Scholarship in nursing education today is infused with a liberal arts background in philosophy, ethics, and the sciences. Nightingale's holistic concepts of person, health, and environment in the practice of nursing coalesced with her statistical analyses in validating nursing actions foreshadowed the development of universal nursing knowledge and language base and meta-paradigm concepts in nursing. Further classification and categorization of Nightingale's concepts of assessing, implementing, and evaluating delivery of care became the linguistic precursors for the identification of nursing process, nursing actions, and nursing diagnoses. NURSING IMPLICATIONS: Plato's and Nightingale's holistic, scientific, and humanistic approach to living, and to care practice in all its dimensions, grounds the discipline of nursing in a liberal arts and critical thinking matrix, elevating nursing to higher ethical, safe, and professional levels of standards.


Barber, J. A. (1999). "'Concerning our national honour': Florence Nightingale and the welfare of Aboriginal Australians." Collegian 6(1): 36-39.

Florence Nightingale was a prolific writer on many subjects from nursing to religion to hospital design and sanitary statistics. Her writing on the indigenous people of Australia is little known but should be of interest especially to those involved in the present desperate search for ways to improve the health of Australia's first settlers. Nightingale's evidence was second-hand, derived largely from missionaries, especially Bishop Salvado of the Benedictine foundation of New Norcia in Western Australia. This paper reviews the attitudes to Australian Aborigines which emerge from Nightingale's and others' writings and argues that their place in modern nursing is to stimulate a reappraisal of current attitudes to Aboriginal health.


Beck, D. M. and B. M. Dossey (2019). "In Nightingale's Footsteps-Individual to Global: From Nurse Coaches to Environmental and Civil Society Activists." Creat Nurs 25(3): 258-263. DOI: 10.1891/1078-4535.25.3.258

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), the famous "lady with the lamp," is indeed the world's most well-known nurse. In our times, now for nearly six decades, the same environmental and social issues that were of concern to Nightingale are understood as key factors in achieving global development and global health. In Nightingale's footsteps, Nurse Coach leaders and all nurses are 21st century Nightingales who are coaching, informing, and educating for healthy people to be living on a healthy planet.


Bonnerjee, S. (2018). Nursing politics and the body in first world war life-writing. Ann Arbor, University of Sheffield (United Kingdom).

 This thesis examines the diaries and retrospective memoirs of trained and volunteer Anglophone nurses of the First World War. In the chapters that follow, I read their published and unpublished (from archival sources) writings to analyses their political affiliations for volunteering in war-work, and offer an affective reading of representations of bodies in their writings. The thesis is rooted in the genre of Life-Writing and it draws on a cultural and emotional history of war, as well as a Medical Humanities approach. The thesis begins by arguing that Florence Nightingale was the author of the genre of the war nurse’s life-writing. It reads her personal writings during her training at Kaiserswerth and during the Crimean War to trace the legacy and influence of her cultural image among the nurses of the First World War. The second chapter then analyses the motivations of nurses to volunteer for the First World War and reveals the various ‘kinds’ of the war nurse: the patriotic, the romantic, the pacifist, and the feminist. It reads memoirs published during and after the War to demonstrate that the reasons nurses volunteered to serve in the War were myriad and complicated and should be looked at from positions of “inferiority complex” and opportunity to finally participate in public life and actively contribute to the war effort from which they had been barred because of their gender. Both metaphorically and physically, the nurses dwelt in no man’s land: barred from fighting, and distinct from the Home Front, their work bridged the gap between these two fronts. The hospitals where they worked were transformed into “second battlefields”, and in the third chapter, I examine the effect this other fighting has on their own bodies. The chapter reads how they represent their own bodies in ink as they counter the shock of actual bodily contact with wounded, vulnerable, naked male bodies and how they embed touch and knowledge within the subtext of desire. It then analyses the long-lasting effects of this work on their bodies and minds, by reading instances of physical breakdown, sicknesses, and war neuroses in the writings of the nurses. Moving on from their own bodies, the thesis then considers the representations of the wounded bodies of the soldiers in the writings of the nurses. The fourth chapter draws on the grotesque and Foucauldian gaze as a means of reading the representations of mutilated bodies, faces, and hideous wounds of the soldiers, ultimately offering an affective reading of the helplessness faced by the nurses witnessing physical pain experienced by the soldiers. It considers the question of how the nurses looked at mutilated, disfigured, dead bodies, and represented the full range of emotions and experiences arising out of that viewing. The final chapter of the thesis examines the encounter of the nurses with the body of the wounded colonised soldier. It close-reads the removal of nurses from British hospitals treating Indian soldiers, through the intersections of gender, race, and class, laying bare fears of miscegenation, eugenics, and degeneracy. It then reads writings by British and Australian nurses in France, Mesopotamia and India, to lay bare an infantilising attitude in their treatment of their non-white patients, and racial discrimination in their administration of medical care.


Brixey, J., et al. (2020). "Nightingale power: The advent of nursing informatics." Nurs Manage 51(7): 51-53. DOI: 10.1097/01.NUMA.0000669104.92938.0a

Born on May 12, 1820, in Florence, Italy, to a prominent British family, Florence Nightingale came of age in the Victorian era, a period when women of her station were expected to marry a man of means, bear his children, maintain his home, and socialize with persons of equal or higher status to advance her husband's or her own social standing.1 It became apparent early in her life that Florence was destined to take a different path. As she described it, “And so is the world put back by the death of everyone who has to sacrifice the development of his or her own peculiar gifts to conventionality.”2 There was nothing conventional about Florence Nightingale, neither her intellect and drive, nor her call to service and, ultimately, her enduring power.


Brown, T. (2017). "Florence Nightingale, Saintly Rebel." Am J Nurs 117(3): 55. DOI: 10.1097/01.Naj.0000513288.37248.64

Gillian Gill's biography reveals the woman behind the legend.


Fortier, P. A. (2014). Crescent City Nightingales: Gender, Race, Class and the Professionalization of Nursing for Women in New Orleans, Louisiana, 1881-1950. Ann Arbor, University of New Orleans: 297.

Through the examination of primary sources largely overlooked by historians, this dissertation traces the professionalization of nursing in New Orleans, Louisiana, from 1881 to 1950 while placing this localized history within the context of national trends. In the late nineteenth century, nursing developed into a middle class profession for women inspired by the careers of Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton. This dissertation investigates the process by which women became professional nurses while a complex intersection of issues related to gender, race, and class at times advanced, and at other times, hindered their progress towards professionalization. New Orleans serves as a useful case study to illustrate the progression of nursing in both location and time. The city’s subtropical climate and position as a major port of immigration fostered an array of natural and public health disasters that offered an opportunity for the development of professional nursing. Partnerships among male hospital administrators, Catholic Sisters, and upper class clubwomen in New Orleans led to the establishment of seven professional schools, six for whites and one for blacks, that offered specialized nursing education to women of all social classes. When disasters struck New Orleans and elsewhere, nursing for the American Red Cross demanded biracial cooperation for relief work. After the American Red Cross shifted its national mission to war relief and entered into a tenuous partnership with the military, nurses from New Orleans served around the world and at home. Disasters and wars had created opportunities for nurses to earn public recognition and trust and expand control over their careers. Their service in the military particularly influenced federal legislation that raised their status and authority and lifted restrictions on gender and race.


Frazer, K., et al. (2020). "Learning from Nightingale's engagement with complex systems: 21st-century public health issues of homelessness and achieving Sustainable Development Goals." Perspect Public Health 140(3): 139-140. DOI: 10.1177/1757913920914653

As an advocate for the poor, much of Florence Nightingale’s work would align with the Sustainable Development Goals we are working towards today. Kate Frazer discusses Nightingale’s person centred work, health inequalities found in homeless populations and the contributions of nurses and midwives to the lives of society.


Gill, C. J. and G. C. Gill (2005). "Nightingale in Scutari: her legacy reexamined." Clin Infect Dis 40(12): 1799-1805. DOI: 10.1086/430380

Nearly a century after the death of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), historians continue to debate her legacy. We discuss her seminal work during the Crimean War (1854-1856), the nature of these interventions during the war, and her continued impact today. We argue that Florence Nightingale's influence today extends beyond her undeniable impact on the field of modern nursing to the areas of infection control, hospital epidemiology, and hospice care.


Glasper, A. (2020). "Celebrating Florence Nightingale and her contribution to nursing." Br J Nurs 29(13): 790-791. DOI: 10.12968/bjon.2020.29.13.790

Emeritus Professor Alan Glasper, from the University of Southampton, discusses the contribution of Florence Nightingale both nationally and internationally to the development of nursing as a profession.


Gustafson, M. (1996). "Mary Seacole, the Florence Nightingale of Jamaica." Christian Nurse International 12(4): 9-9. No abstract available

            No abstract available


Harmer, B. M. (2010). Silenced in history: A historical study of Mary Seacole. Ann Arbor, The University of Nebraska - Lincoln: 236.

This study sought to uncover the factors that contributed to the historical disappearance of Mary Seacole from the literature from 1900 through to the 1980s. By the late 1990s she was celebrated as a nursing pioneer and the first nurse practitioner. Seacole, a Creole woman from Jamaica with outstanding clinical skills, was refused the opportunity to join the nurses who Nightingale recruited for the Crimean War campaign. Undaunted by the rejection, Seacole paid for her own voyage and established a boarding house and clinic near the front lines. Her courage and positive patient outcomes were recognized by the military officers. After the war, she returned to London, bankrupt, but as a celebrated heroine. Her 1857 autobiographical narrative, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, was a best seller and helped to restore her financial status. A discourse analysis of this book was completed to reveal hidden meanings in the narrative. These changes were often subtle and included alterations in the sequencing, structure and style of her narration. Next, historical comparative research methodology was used to construct a case that placed the discourse analysis findings within the historical context of Victorian England. Mary Seacole's historical case was compared to Florence Nightingale's. The similarities and differences were identified. The analysis suggests that multiple factors impacted Seacole's place in history, but her inability to compete with the privileges associated with Nightingale's upper-class status was the greatest barrier. Other key factors were Seacole's race, her embodiment of the feminist ideal, and the emergent values of the nursing profession.


Harper, D. C., et al. (2014). "Leadership lessons in global nursing and health from the Nightingale Letter Collection at the University of Alabama at Birmingham." J Holist Nurs 32(1): 44-53. DOI: 10.1177/0898010113497835

This article analyzes the components of Florence Nightingale's visionary leadership for global health and nursing within the historical context of Great Britain's colonization of India. The descriptive study used the qualitative approach of narrative analysis to analyze selected letters in the Nightingale Letter Collection at the University of Alabama at Birmingham that Nightingale wrote to or about Dr. Thomas Gillham Hewlett, a physician and health officer in Bombay, India. The authors sought to increase understanding of Nightingale's visionary leadership for global nursing and health through a study of the form and content of the letters analyzed as temporally contextualized data, focusing on how the narratives are composed and what is conveyed. Several recurring themes central to Nightingale's leadership on global nursing and health emerge throughout these letters, including health and sanitation reform, collaborative partnerships, data-driven policy development, and advocacy for public health. These themes are illustrated through her letters to and testimony about Dr. Thomas Gillham Hewlett in her vivid descriptions of health education and promotion, data-driven policy documents, public health and sanitation advice, and collaboration with citizens, medicine, policy makers, and governments to improve the health and welfare of the people of India. The focus on leadership in nursing as a global construct highlights the lessons learned from University of Alabama at Birmingham's Nightingale Letter Collection that has relevance for the future of nursing and health care, particularly Nightingale's collaboration with policy leaders, her analysis of data to set policy agendas, and public health reform centered on improving the health and well-being of underserved populations.


Harrington, L. (2019). "Data Science: What Would Nightingale Do?" AACN Adv Crit Care 30(4): 313-316. DOI: 10.4037/aacnacc2019579

Data analysis and visualization in nursing practice date back to Florence Nightingale in the mid-1800s.  Her famous coxcomb graphs illustrated her dive into the complexity of data, and her goals were clear.  Using applied statistical methods available at the time, she was successful in advancing nursing practice and saving lives.


Lidinsky, A. (2000). Working Figures: Discourses of Race and Class in Nineteenth-century Working Women's Self-representations. Ann Arbor, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick: 234.

In this transatlantic study of working women's autobiographical writing, I argue that working women writers developed alternative figures of self that explicitly and implicitly critique reigning bourgeois models of subjectivity. The texts I examine are both canonical and non-canonical, and span the latter half of the nineteenth century. Through them, I consider textual debates about character, work, spiritual practices, professionalism, and the representational debates around the figures of the New Negro and the New Woman, all of which are informed by the intersecting and mutually constitutive discourses of race and class identity. As well, my study engages generic debates about a wide range of autobiographical practices, and uses theories of performativity to theorize the self-making gestures of various modes of work, as I illuminate the many different ways work “means” in these texts. In Chapter One, I examine the textual and economic power in the early-to-mid century of the written “character,” the reference testimonials written by employers that represented their servants to future employers. While I contextualize, period debates about characters with prose by Beecher, Stowe and others, I draw primarily on three texts: The History of Mary Prince, Our Nig; or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black by Harriet Wilson, and The Diaries of Hannah Cullwick, Victorian Maidservant . Chapter Two considers three early-to-mid-century texts that refigure women's spirituality in the public marketplace through differing emphases on what I call the “somatic literacy of the ecstatic body” and a braiding of entrepreneurship and spiritual practices. The primary texts I consider here are Primitive Methodist memoirs by Americans Jarena Lee and Zilpha Elaw, and Briton Elizabeth Smith Russell. In Chapter Three, I examine the rising discourses of women's professionalism in the mid-nineteenth century, as “vocation” shifted from its spiritual to its secular meaning. Here, I work with Florence Nightingale's Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not, Mary Seacole's autobiography Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, and the diaries of American Charlotte Forten Grimke. Chapter Four considers fin-de-siecle anxieties about representational failure, particularly around the figures of the New Woman and the New Negro. I draw on Contending Forces, by Pauline O. Hopkins, and the undercover journalism of Beatrice Potter Webb to consider uses of “passing”—as a literary trope and a practice—in order to explore the performative nature of identity at the century's close, and the losses and gains offered by acting up and going undercover as different kinds of “work girls.”


McDonald, C. J. (2006). "Peace, love and Florence Nightingale." Nurs Stand 20(51): 18-19.

Legendary Woodstock music festival star Country Joe McDonald has a fascination with Florence Nightingale, dating from his work with Vietnam war veterans. Although her theories have diminished in popularity, he believes her life has lessons for modern nurses.


McEnroe, N. (2020). "Celebrating Florence Nightingale's bicentenary." Lancet 395(10235): 1475-1478. DOI: 10.1016/s0140-6736(20)30992-2

For the many admirers of Florence Nightingale (1820–1910), the bicentenary of her birth on May 12, 2020, has been long anticipated. Few of us could have foreseen that this birthday would come at a time when a swathe of new temporary hospitals bearing her name had been set up in the UK—the NHS Nightingale Hospitals, intended to support the response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). No other name could have been as suitable. 200 years after her birth, the work and concerns of Nightingale are as relevant today as they ever were. Her pioneering work to establish nursing as a profession, her use of statistics and data to create early evidence-based health care, and her work on hospital design are all recognisable to health-care professionals working now. But perhaps the greatest resonance is her role as a political influencer and campaigner. Scientific advisers today might recognise with wry sympathy Nightingale’s furious attempts to advise politicians in her determination to reform public health.


Morgan, R. A. (2021). "Health, hearth and empire: Climate, race and reproduction in British India and Western Australia." Environment and History 27(2): 299-250. DOI: 10.3197/096734021X16076828553511

In the wake of the Indian Uprising in 1857, British sanitary campaigner and statistician Florence Nightingale renewed her efforts to reform Britain’s military forces at home and in India. With the Uprising following so soon after the Crimean War (1854–56), where poor sanitary conditions had also taken an enormous toll, in 1859 Nightingale pressed the British Parliament to establish a Royal Commission on the Sanitary State of the Army in India, which delivered its report in 1863. Western Australia was the only colony to present its case before the Commissioners as an ideal location for a foreign sanatorium, with glowing assessments offered by colonial elites and military physicians. In the meantime, Nightingale had also commenced an investigation into the health of Indigenous children across the British Empire. Nearly 150 schools responded to her survey from Ceylon, Natal, West Africa, Canada and Australia. The latter’s returns came from just three schools in Western Australia: New Norcia, Annesfield in Albany and the Sisters of Mercy in Perth, which together yielded the highest death rate of the respondents. Although Nightingale herself saw these inquiries as separate, their juxtaposition invites closer analysis of the ways in which metropolitan elites envisioned particular racial futures for Anglo and indigenous populations of empire, and sought to steer them accordingly. The reports reflect prevailing expectations and anxieties about the social and biological reproduction of white society in the colonies, and the concomitant decline of Indigenous peoples. Read together, these two inquiries reveal the complex ways in which colonial matters of reproduction and dispossession, displacement and replacement, were mutually constituting concerns of empire. In this article I situate the efforts to attract white women and their wombs to the temperate colony of Western Australia from British India in the context of contemporary concerns about Anglo and Aboriginal mortality. In doing so, I reflect on the intersections of gender, race, medicine and environment in the imaginaries of empire in the mid-nineteenth century. © 2021 The White Horse Press.


Palmer, I. S. (1976). "Florence Nightingale and the Salisbury incident." Nurs Res 25(5): 370-377.

Florence Nightingale's astute handling of mismanagement in Free Gifts Stores during the Crimean War underscored her administrative ability. Miss Nightingale went to Scutari ostensibly to nurse the British soldiers, and while there encountered innumerable instances of administrative and managerial ineffectiveness and difficulties. Among these were the problems in the accountability and deployment of supplies as well as the assignment and supervision of female personnel-an untried situation. The article identifies the misdirected organizational management which occasioned the introduction of women into British war nursing and the voluntary participation of the British citizenry in providing supplies and comfort for the Army. Through analysis of Miss Nightingale's and others' private correspondence, the problems of personnel management and supply distribution are brought into sharp focus. The interplay of policies and principles to which Miss Nightingale subscribed, the human frailty of one of her women, Miss Nightingale's illness, and the confusion and stress which characterized the Crimean War are discussed. The compassion, understanding, and rectitude as well as the human values to which Miss Nightingale subscribed in protecting a woman guilty of a breach of trust and felony and the troublesome slanderous attack to which Miss Nightingale was subjected at the instigation of her foes on the home front provide a background for the presentation of the Salisbury affair as an interesting aspect of historical research into the life of the Victorian heroine.


Payne, D. (1999). "Face to face...Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole battle it out face to face." Nursing Times 95(19): 26-27.

Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole were both nursing heroes of the Crimean War. Here Mrs Seacole suggests the pair of them should rest in peace. Miss Nightingale, true to form, does not give in without a fight.


Pitts, D. (2018). "Two Narratives, One History: Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale." Windows Time 26(1): 7-9.

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Selanders, L. C. (2001). "Florence Nightingale and the transvisionary leadership paradigm." Nurs Leadersh Forum 6(1): 12-16.

Power utilization and its relative substrate of leadership are essential components of professional change and development. Florence Nightingale, as the philosophical founder of modern, western, secular nursing, utilized a particular type of power now described as transvisionary leadership. This concept is shown to be integral to a larger paradigm designated as the Stairstep Leadership Development Model. By describing the specific type of power utilized by Nightingale, it is then possible to analyze the relevance of these concepts to current professional nursing practice. This article suggests that transvisionary power is utilized in and is as useful in selected situations in nursing today as it was in Nightingale's era.


Selanders, L. C. and P. C. Crane (2012). "The voice of Florence Nightingale on advocacy." Online J Issues Nurs 17(1): 1.

Modern nursing is complex, ever changing, and multi focused. Since the time of Florence Nightingale, however, the goal of nursing has remained unchanged, namely to provide a safe and caring environment that promotes patient health and well being. Effective use of an interpersonal tool, such as advocacy, enhances the care-giving environment. Nightingale used advocacy early and often in the development of modern nursing. By reading her many letters and publications that have survived, it is possible to identify her professional goals and techniques. Specifically, Nightingale valued egalitarian human rights and developed leadership principles and practices that provide useful advocacy techniques for nurses practicing in the 21st century. In this article we will review the accomplishments of Florence Nightingale, discuss advocacy in nursing and show how Nightingale used advocacy through promoting both egalitarian human rights and leadership activities. We will conclude by exploring how Nightingale's advocacy is as relevant for the 21st century as it was for the 19th century.


Southern, J. (2017). "A Lady 'in Proper Proportions'? Feminism, Lytton Strachey, and Florence Nightingale's Reputation, 1918-39." 20 Century Br Hist 28(1): 1-28. DOI: 10.1093/tcbh/hww047

Lytton Strachey's Eminent Victorians has long been regarded as a watershed in attitudes to Victorian culture, widely seen as having instigated a revolutionary backlash against the values and heroes of the Victorian era in England. Its impact, however, on the reputations of his four subjects-Thomas Arnold, General Gordon, Cardinal Manning and Florence Nightingale-has been subjected to surprisingly little scholarly attention. Drawing on the work of gender historians, this article reassesses Strachey's effect on the reputation of Nightingale, using biographies and contemporary reviews of Eminent Victorians. It argues that, far from 'debunking' the famous nurse as is generally assumed, Strachey in many ways enhanced her reputation and rendered her a plausible icon for English feminists of the 1920s and 1930s.


Sweet, H. (2007). "Establishing connections, restoring relationships: Exploring the historiography of nursing in Britain." Gender and History 19(3): 565-580. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0424.2007.00490.x

This paper provides a comparative historiographical framework within which to reconsider the history of nursing. It asks why nursing has remained largely sidelined within the history of medicine, while the latter has gained mainstream respectability in the wider field of historical research. Gender historians are challenged to look at the under-explored aspects of nursing's history such as pre-Nightingale nurses and nursing, and the multiple and international meanings of race, class and gender as experienced by this unique cohort of women and men. The paper draws upon key texts in the history of nursing and of medicine and includes a discussion about use of imagery within significant publications and what this says about intended readerships. It concludes that, unlike medicine, nursing professionals have to some extent hijacked the history of nursing, while the subject has been further hampered by Florence Nightingale's legacy and the subsequent emphasis on the professionalisation of nursing. © The author 2007. Journal compilation © Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2007.


Wells, J. S. and M. Bergin (2016). "British Icons and Catholic perfidy--Anglo-Saxon historiography and the battle for Crimean War nursing." Nurs Inq 23(1): 42-51. DOI: 10.1111/nin.12104

Taking as its starting point Carr's view that historical narrative reflects the preoccupations of the time in which it is written and Foucault's concept of consensual historical discourse as the outcome of a social struggle in which the victor suppresses or at least diminishes contrary versions of historical events in favour of their own, this paper traces and discusses the historical narrative of British nursing in the Crimean war and, in particular, three competing narratives that have arisen in the latter half of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st. These are the established narrative surrounding Florence Nightingale, the new narrative surrounding Mary Seacole and an Irish narrative surrounding the role of the Sisters of Mercy. It is argued that the increased vehemence of the debate surrounding these narratives is representative of the changes that have taken place in British society. However, we also argue that the Irish narrative and its critique are reflective of deep-rooted Anglo-Protestant attitudes articulated by Nightingale and uncritically accepted by subsequent historians even in modern British historiography.


Whitehead, P. (2020). "Florence Nightingale: The First Clinical Nurse Specialist." Clin Nurse Spec 34(5): 191-193. DOI: 10.1097/nur.0000000000000548

Opportunities come into your life when you least expect them. During a routine virtual meeting of the Virginia Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, an affiliate organization of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, a member mentioned an exciting, upcoming series in The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing celebrating the life and work of Florence Nightingale and proposed writing a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) perspective on Nightingale. Her idea was quickly endorsed, and we created a writing group that included Dr Jennifer Matthews, Dr Cindy Ward, Ms Marion Kyner, Dr Terri Crowder, and me, Dr Phyllis Whitehead. Using the recently published new edition of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists’ CNS Core Competencies, we drafted an outline and began writing. My assignment was to review competencies and create a foundation for describing Nightingale as first CNS in spirit. As we explored the influence of Nightingale, the “Lady in Chief” healthcare reformer, none of us could have known the timeliness of our work as the COVID-19 was nonexistent in the summer of 2019. However, given the challenges of today’s pandemic, our discussion of Nightingale’s leadership in implementing infection control, basic hygiene, and overall health principles could not be more relevant to CNS practice.


Youngkin, M. (2011). "Bound by an english eye: Artistic Observation, race hierarchies, and women s emancipation in Florence Nightingale's suggestions for thought." Prose Studies 33(2): 83-101. DOI: 10.1080/01440357.2011.632218

Florence Nightingale's Suggestions for Thought (1860) has been well considered in light of Nightingale's liberation from her oppressive family and the broader context of the Victorian family, which offered little support to women who chose vocations rather than marriage. Still, Nightingale's treatise has not been considered in relationship to her ambiguous views about race/ethnicity or her knowledge of the visual arts, especially knowledge gained during her travel to Italy and Egypt in the late 1840s. This essay argues that Nightingale's artistic observation during her travels resulted in race hierarchies, which she incorporated into the draft manuscript of Suggestions for Thought. Although many of the references to art were stripped from the final version, remnants of Nightingale's observations can be found in this version, which presents liberation as attainable only by white, upper- and middle-class women who possessed the Biblical knowledge needed to be inspired by religious art but also working-class English women and Eastern women who were able to embrace Christianity. By re-reading Suggestions for Thought through the context of race hierarchies, we can see that Nightingale's vision for women's emancipation excluded most women of color, unless they were able to integrate into white, European culture via Christianity. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.