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Book Reviews

Book Reviews Nursing before Nightingale, 1815–1899 By Carol Helmstadter and Judith Godden (Farnham, England: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2011) (219 pages, $119.95 cloth) In the “Introduction” of Nursing before Nightingale, authors Carol Helmstadter and Judith Godden clearly express their purpose and rationale for debunking some of the myths that exist around Florence Nightingale’s legacy. As Helmstadter and Godden point out, history has tended to be traditional and revisionist when it comes to Nightingale. Traditional his- tories and common perceptions portray Nightingale as single handedly causing nursing to progress from the Dark Ages to a modern vision of an efficient, clean, and orderly nurse. Revisionist accounts, which were popular in the 1980s, argued against the reputation of the pre-Nightingale nurses such as Sarah Gamps and claimed that they were “misunderstood victims of history.” Nursing before Nightingale joins a recent body of Nightingale scholar- ship that situates Nightingale within a transitioning nursing profession and demonstrates that her success may have been in part because of a perfect timing and readiness for change in nursing; and that many of her endeavors, in fact, included failures. Nightingale’s name itself began to carry an impetus for nursing reform that some scholars suggest may have functioned as a http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nursing History Review Springer Publishing

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Publisher
Springer Publishing
ISSN
1062-8061
eISSN
1938-1913
DOI
10.1891/1062-8061.21.122
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Nursing before Nightingale, 1815–1899 By Carol Helmstadter and Judith Godden (Farnham, England: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2011) (219 pages, $119.95 cloth) In the “Introduction” of Nursing before Nightingale, authors Carol Helmstadter and Judith Godden clearly express their purpose and rationale for debunking some of the myths that exist around Florence Nightingale’s legacy. As Helmstadter and Godden point out, history has tended to be traditional and revisionist when it comes to Nightingale. Traditional his- tories and common perceptions portray Nightingale as single handedly causing nursing to progress from the Dark Ages to a modern vision of an efficient, clean, and orderly nurse. Revisionist accounts, which were popular in the 1980s, argued against the reputation of the pre-Nightingale nurses such as Sarah Gamps and claimed that they were “misunderstood victims of history.” Nursing before Nightingale joins a recent body of Nightingale scholar- ship that situates Nightingale within a transitioning nursing profession and demonstrates that her success may have been in part because of a perfect timing and readiness for change in nursing; and that many of her endeavors, in fact, included failures. Nightingale’s name itself began to carry an impetus for nursing reform that some scholars suggest may have functioned as a

Journal

Nursing History ReviewSpringer Publishing

Published: Jan 1, 2013

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