Emmy Rappe

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Emmy Carolina Rappe (14 January 1835 – 19 October 1896), was a Swedish nurse and principal for a nursing school. She was one of the pioneers and founders of the Swedish nursing education. She was the first trained professional nurse and the first principal of the first nursing education in her country.

Rappe was born to Baron Adolf Fredrik Rappe and Ulrika Catharina Wilhelmina Hammarskjöld. She was given a strict education were a sense of duty and a sensible economy was regarded as important, and being unmarried, she stayed under the supervision of her family until the age of thirty. She had an early interest in medicine and nursing.

In 1866, the newly established Swedish Red Cross wished to establish a nursing school in Sweden, and was in search for an educated principal to head the institution. Sophie Adlersparre made a deal with Florence Nightingale, that the person selected for the task should be educated by Nightingale in London, and then advertised for a suitable candidate in her publication Tidskrift för hemmet. Rappe was considered to be a suitable candidate to establish a proper school for the education of professional nurses in Sweden. She was sent as a student to Florence Nightingales school Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at St Thomas' Hospital in London in 1866. She was personally tutored by Florence Nightingale, who was pleased with her as a student. Rappe shared the view upon nursing as a call.

Emmy Rappe returned to Sweden in 1867, and studied at Sahlgrenska sjukhuset hospital in Göteborg and at others clinics in Stockholm. In 1867-1877, she was head nurse at the newly established Surgical Clinic at the Uppsala Academic Hospital, and principal of the nursing school there, which had been newly established by the Red Cross. She was a pioneer, and was often met with resistance from the authorities. As a Baroness, she aroused controversy bey engaging in such a profession, and she did, in fact, not accept any salary. She encouraged a sense of professional loyalty among nurses toward other nurses, and tried to raise the status of the profession by insisting on medical competence and high moral. In 1877-1886, she was supervisor for the Uppsala Central Hospital for the insane. After her retirement, she was active as a hospital inspector and within the Red Cross.

She awarded a royal medal for her services (1877).

See also[edit]


  • 1977 – "God bless you, my dear miss Nightingale" : letters from Emmy Carolina Rappe to Florence Nightingale 1867–1870 ISBN 91-22-00097-6