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Florence Nightingale’s Opposition to State Registration of Nurses

Florence Nightingale’s Opposition to State Registration of Nurses P1: OSO/OVY P2: OSO/OVY QC: OSO/OVY T1: OSO SVNF004-10 SVNF004-v4 August 24, 2006 9:7 RESEARCH AND COMMENTARY Florence Nightingale’s Opposition to State Registration of Nurses Carol Helmstadter University of Toronto It is well known that Florence Nightingale strongly opposed state registration for nurses. Her opposition is usually treated in the standard literature as reactionary and dismissed in a few paragraphs. For example, Dock and Stewart wrote in 1931 that, when state registration was first publicly broached in 1887, Nightingale had reached the point “where the old cannot go on with the young,” adding that “no doubt her years of seclusion made it difficult for her to realize the newer conditions.” Nightingale was actually sixty-seven years old in 1887. In this article, I argue that although Nightingale did adhere to an older ideal of nursing as a religious vocation, a view that was becoming less acceptable to young women in the 1890s, she was a lady of extraordinary perspicacity and had many reasons for opposing state registration that were realistic, well informed, and intelligent. First and foremost, Nightingale understood that nurses in the late 1880s and 1890s were simply not educated well enough to be registered as a profession. Second, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nursing History Review Springer Publishing

Florence Nightingale’s Opposition to State Registration of Nurses

Nursing History Review , Volume 15 (1): 11 – Sep 1, 2007

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Publisher
Springer Publishing
ISSN
1062-8061
eISSN
1938-1913
DOI
10.1891/1062-8061.15.155
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

P1: OSO/OVY P2: OSO/OVY QC: OSO/OVY T1: OSO SVNF004-10 SVNF004-v4 August 24, 2006 9:7 RESEARCH AND COMMENTARY Florence Nightingale’s Opposition to State Registration of Nurses Carol Helmstadter University of Toronto It is well known that Florence Nightingale strongly opposed state registration for nurses. Her opposition is usually treated in the standard literature as reactionary and dismissed in a few paragraphs. For example, Dock and Stewart wrote in 1931 that, when state registration was first publicly broached in 1887, Nightingale had reached the point “where the old cannot go on with the young,” adding that “no doubt her years of seclusion made it difficult for her to realize the newer conditions.” Nightingale was actually sixty-seven years old in 1887. In this article, I argue that although Nightingale did adhere to an older ideal of nursing as a religious vocation, a view that was becoming less acceptable to young women in the 1890s, she was a lady of extraordinary perspicacity and had many reasons for opposing state registration that were realistic, well informed, and intelligent. First and foremost, Nightingale understood that nurses in the late 1880s and 1890s were simply not educated well enough to be registered as a profession. Second,

Journal

Nursing History ReviewSpringer Publishing

Published: Sep 1, 2007

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