Reputations: Florence Nightingale—Iron MaidenBMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7305.172 (Published 21 July 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:172
- Jane Salvage (firstname.lastname@example.org), nursing director
- Emap Healthcare
BBC 2, 17 July at 9 pm
As a student nurse, few things enraged me more than the thought of Florence Nightingale. Upheld as the queen of all role models by the nursing establishment, she epitomised everything that I thought was wrong with my chosen profession. What nursing needed was assertiveness and intellect, not sticky-sweet submissiveness and self sacrifice.
Nearly 25 years on, Flo is still revered. Her birthday on 12 May is celebrated by millions worldwide as International Nurses Day: a nice, neatly uniformed nurse is chosen to carry a commemorative lamp down the aisle of Westminster Abbey, while Nightingale medals are awarded in remote countries like Uzbekistan (I know because I got one).
As I learned later, Miss Nightingale herself hated all the “lady with the lamp” guff and was much happier ploughing through …