Being good, doing good, making others look good: Reconceptualising nineteenth-century nursing practice

Langtree, Tanya (2022) Being good, doing good, making others look good: Reconceptualising nineteenth-century nursing practice. Women's Writing, 29 (4). pp. 583-599.

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The discourse that surrounds nineteenth-century nursing is dominated by Florence Nightingale’s work to transform nursing from being a disreputable job performed by uneducated drunkards to that of an acceptable vocation for single women. Much of the reverence for Nightingale as the founder of modern nursing are based on half-truths found within E.T. Cook’s (1913) biography, The Life of Florence Nightingale. This reverence includes the misconception that Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not (1859) was the first nursing book of its kind. However, over twenty books about nursing praxis were published in Western countries between the mid-eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries. Several of these books were written by women to assist other women performing nursing work. This paper examines three of these books – The Good Nurse (1825), The Family Nurse (1837) and Advices Concerning the Sick (c. 1847) – and compares their guiding principles to those found in Notes on Nursing and other key works by Nightingale. The findings from this comparative analysis demonstrates that Nightingale’s writings about what nursing ought to be were not unique nor original. Instead, they were aligned with the prevailing ideology of the period – nurses were required to be good and do good to make others look good.

Item ID: 76934
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1747-5848
Keywords: Florence Nightingale; nineteenth-century nursing; nursing; nursing history; nursing practice
Copyright Information: © 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2022 02:24
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4205 Nursing > 420599 Nursing not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2099 Other health > 209999 Other health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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