Talk:Florence Nightingale

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According to [1], the polar area charts weren't called coxcombs by Nightingale. The coxcombs were the booklets that contained the study results. It was her biographer who first called the polar charts coxcombs. --seav 10:02, Jan 1, 2004 (UTC)

I have changed "She later claimed that she had received divine calling" to "She later told that she had received divine calling". Being the type of extreemely honest and intelligent person she was, she was surely also honest about this. Barfoed 08:40, 6 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I changed the Project Gutenberg link back to leading to the bibliographic record, as this is often more useful than leading directly to a certain file. The bibrec lets the user choose which format and what site to download a title from, and avoids the possibility of beginning to download a large file unexpectedly. See also: How do I link from book articles to the online text at Project Gutenberg? Andrew Sly 22:28, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Never married or had children[edit]

"This demonstrated a passion on her part, and also a rebellion against the expected role for a woman of her status, which was to become a wife and mother." This particular line really gives a Feminist slant to this article. Is it sited somewhere in Nightengale's writing that she "rebelled" against being a wife and mother? I would wholeheartedly like to see a citation in this part to be sure that it is not personal opinion. Could it be that she choose to follow her calling and set aside being a wife and mother. After all, she did consider marriage seriously twice before she choose not to, maybe she forfeited this vocation for another one. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jonineb (talkcontribs) 18:56, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

A "feminist slant"? Because of the word, "rebellion"? Whether it was rebellion or not, she knew her mind, and it wasn't to become a wife and mother which was the expected role of a woman in her day, and for my money, in this day too. If that's "feminism" then so be it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:31, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Pictures query[edit]

Most of the time, when i am browsing wikipedia, i come accross articles which seems to include a picture on the top right side, but the picture is not "visible". Okay i can see some kind of a frame, but not the image. I always assume that there is no picture available to be uploaded at the moment, but on the other hand, a title like "A young Florence Nightingale" lead me to assume that may be my Vaio isn't set up right, and i should really be seeing something. I run Linux (Fedora) and wonder if others are experiencing the same problem or am i missing some proprietary mess. wkm

what browser are you using?

Not that this is really the place for this (?), but you may have an option in your browser that allows the viewing either of images from anywhere or just images that come from the same place as the text. Or you may have accidentally blocked the site the images come from, either on your browser or on your router. AL.

Hard-working but critical[edit]

FN worked tremendously hard at what she did and was committed to the very difficult job at hand under sometimes harrowing conditions. However, she was human and a product of the times she lived in, as we all are. She did have a great deal of trouble giving others credit where credit was due. This extended to Catholic clergy (nuns who were nurses) who worked alongside her in the Crimea. She called things as she saw them but she didn't always see things fairly especially when it came to those she worked with. I get this information from an interesting book that is a compilation of her personal letters called, "Florence Nightingale: Letters from the Crimea" edited by Sue M. Goldie published by Mandolin, an imprint of Manchester University Press, 1997.

Polar area chart[edit]

I changed the entry to say the polar area charts are similar (not the same as) pie charts. Here's a succinct comparison: "A pie chart has a fixed radius and varies the angle. ... These plots have fixed angles and vary the radius." ( Isidore 11:42, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I believe that Nightingale did call her charts coxcombs - I feel sure I have seen this in her correspondence with Benjamin Jowett - but I cd be mistaken.

They are actually rather inferor - because if you take 'a fixed angle and vary the radius', you get an area whihc is proportional to the radius squared, which is not quite what you want!

Johnbibby 21:02, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

International Nursing Day[edit]

May 12 is being observed as International Nursing Day in all nursing care institutions throughout the world. Obviously it is the birthday of Nightingale. Would somebody give more info on this INDay?

Statistics almost certainly wrong[edit]

The text claims she:

  • dropped mortality rates by 40 % to just 2 %

That implies that mortality was 3.3 % originally. I don't believe it. Perhaps the author meant that mortality went from 42% to 2%.

I know that confusion of percent change with percent is common, but it really is a basic error. Florence Nightingale was supposed to be good at medical statistics. It would be ironic if an article about her contained a basic mistake like that. Can anyone provide a source for this dubious claim? Bobblewik 12:25, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Maybe you shoulf try to look on the bright side, she did well!

Maybe you should try and research about Mary Seacole more then FDlorence Nightingale she is an outstanding figure in History

According to a review of The Collected Works of Florence Nightingale recently published (18 Nov. 2005) in the Times Literary Supplement "A recent Channel 4 documentary portrayed a vindictive Nightingale, jealously setting out to deny Seacole recognition from the Establishment, even though evidence exists which suggests something closer to the opposite." Perhaps the author of the article (Mark Bostridge) could indicate what this evidence is so that the Wikipedia page could be updated on this subject. Serandou 11:54, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

FYI the UK television stations entered a race to plummet into the gutter in the mid 1990's, and they made a number of extremely critical 'documentaries' on such people as Nightingale herself, and several of her famous contemporaries, and on others such as Benny Hill, Kenny Everett, Freddie Mercury, Kenneth Williams, Tommy Cooper, Tony Hancock, etc., all the subjects having in common the fact that they were all dead, and thus not able to sue the documentary makers/TV stations for libel or slander, it being noticeable that these same documentary makers/TV stations refrained from making such critical programmes on people who were still in the land of the living. Where the person was contemporary, coincidently-or-not, the scathing documentary often came out a few months after the death of the subject, thus giving the observant viewer a rough guide to the lead-in time of a programme from initial idea through to commissioning, and finally transmission.
Prior to this change in attitude, the BBC and other TV companies would have a new documentary fact-checked and vetted by reputable historians and recognised experts on the subject before transmission, and if any errors or misleading statements discovered, send the film or video back to the makers to have it corrected. From around 1995-on, this no longer applies.
Florence Nightingale is long dead and no-one today is under any legal obligation to ensure that what they write or say about her is true or has any basis in fact.

Research on Florence Nightingale Syndrome[edit]

I researched the phrase “Florence Nightingale Syndrome” and found that it has multiple meanings. The most frequent google result is associated with a campaign to change the name of CFS/ME to “Florence Nightingale Syndrome”. (Less often, the term is used in connection with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome and Gulf War Syndrome.) The second most common use is the act of a selfless caring, often in the context of duty to county or society. I consider this the “traditional” use of the phrase. I found another, less frequent use, the romantic-love relationship that develops between a nurse and their patient. This term seems to substitute “Florence Nightingale’’ for the generic word “nurse”. None of these seem pertinent to the biography of the women, Florence Nightingale.

There is one text that describes Florence Nightingale Syndrome better than what the above explained. I ask that it is cleared in Wikipedia that this commonly used eponym be attributed to Nightingale's care for others. Also, the eponym was only suggested to be, and is not commonly known as CFS, much less PTSS. 02:06, 3 November 2006 (UTC)


I moved this from the main page because it has no reference. Someone care to expand (or at least verify and/or explain?) Fagstein 18:31, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Florence Nightingale had significant influence on hospital architecture and floor plan layouts.

Crimea nurses[edit]

suggest interested people look for not just mary seacolr & f. nightingale, but also elizabeth davis betsy CADWALLADER a welsh woman who also went to scutari. F.N. is said to have called her "that wild woman from the welsh hills".

Crimean mortality rate[edit]

Whosoever wrote that mortality rates had dropped "40% to just 2%" probably committed an error. If the mortality rate had been 42%, as the language seems to imply, then the drop from 42% to 2% would have been a 95.2% drop. If this isn't true, then the mortality rates must have only been 3.3% to start with, and the drop is then far less impressive an achievement.

Contradictory information[edit]

It seems the article is contradictory, first saying the mortality rates went up tenfold when she arrived, then dropped to 2%. Which is it and why? (talk) 06:55, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Crimean War[edit]


However, during her time at Scutari, the death rate did not drop; on the contrary, it began to rise. The death count was the highest of all hospitals in the region. During her first winter at Scutari, 4,077 soldiers died there. Ten times more soldiers died from illnesses such as typhus, typhoid, cholera and dysentery than from battle wounds. Conditions at the temporary barracks hospital were so fatal to the patients because of overcrowding and the hospital's defective sewers and lack of ventilation. A sanitary commission had to be sent out by the British government to Scutari in March 1855, almost six months after Florence Nightingale had arrived, which flushed out the sewers and improved ventilation. Death rates were sharply reduced.


It is directly through her thorough observations that the association linking sanitary conditions and healing became recognized and established. “Within 6 months of her arrival in Scutari, the mortality rate dropped from 42.7 percent to 2.2 percent“(Neeb 3-4).

Ghost.scream (talk) 07:19, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

The first paragraph quoted gives the impression that she got in way over her head and the government had to send some guys to quickly and quietly bail her out before she caused a political scandal. The second makes it sound like she did extraordinarily well. After a bit of thought I realized that there's no contradiction if you assume that her observations led to her calling in the sanitary commission and that anyone else would have taken much longer to make the connection if at all. I doubt the average reader is going to bother to puzzle it out like I did and also have no idea if what I assumed is what actually happened. — User:ACupOfCoffee@ 03:38, 21 October 2008 (UTC)


I don't know where to begin with what's wrong with this section. It perpetuates the sentamentalised and romantic myth of the "Lady with the Lamp" that does not deserve to belong in an encyclopedia. Unfortunately this myth is rampant across the internet, and it is difficult to find sources that do not include this. One such source I did manage to locate on the internet is a bbc address: which I will refer to.

The death toll actually rose during her time at Scutari, as I quote from the BBC article:

"Historians are now waking up to the shocking truth that the death toll at Nightingale's hospital was higher than at any other hospital in the East, and that her lack of knowledge of the disastrous sanitary conditions at Scutari was responsible. During her first winter at Scutari, 4,077 soldiers died there, ten times more from illnesses such as typhus, typhoid, cholera and dysentery, than from battle wounds. Conditions at the hospital were fatal to the men that Nightingale was trying to nurse: they were packed like sardines into an unventilated building on top of defective sewers.

As Hugh Small, author of a recent study of Florence Nightingale in the Crimea, has written, this pioneering woman was effectively presiding over 'a death camp'. A sanitary commission, sent out by Palmerston's government in March 1855, almost six months after Nightingale's arrival at Scutari, flushed out the sewers and improved the ventilation, thereby dramatically reducing the mortality rate. However, Nightingale herself continued to attribute responsibility for the high number of deaths to inadequate nutrition and supplies, and to the army's sending of men across the Black Sea to Scutari when they were already half-dead from exposure.

It was only on her return to Britain, when she began collecting evidence to present before the Royal Commission on the Health of the Army, that Nightingale changed her mind, reaching the painful conclusion that most of the soldiers at her hospital had been killed by bad sanitation, due to her ignorance. She had helped them to die in cleaner surroundings and greater comfort, but she had not saved their lives."

I am updating this section of the article to include this information, and I hope that this is enough justification to. I think that the article should talk more about her true achievements, her pioneering work in hospital design, which shocks me to find it is not mentioned. Ed 20:03, 1 April 2006 (UTC) if your looking for another source (talk) 12:31, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

I am the author of the book referred to by the BBC extract above and I am editing the section to clear up some of the confusion referred to here and in the Crimean War section discussion. The problem is that she was consistently credited with reducing the death rate, either single handed or by calling in the Sanitary Commission, until my book was published in 1998. In reality, as EdNeave and the BBC say, she was mistaken about the cause of death until after the War. Mark Bostridge, the author of the BBC article, accepts in his 2008 biography this new finding of mine and so does every other expert, though they don't all accept my theory that it was linked to her post war health (see my post under Illness, below). I will delete the sentences between footnotes 5 and 7 which are attributed to Neeb and repeat what was commonly said by authors before 1998 and I will summarise the situation by pointing out that the Dictionary of National Biography in 1911 said that 'she reduced the death rate from 42% to 2%' but the 2001 edition made no such claim. Hugh Small (talk) 18:10, 9 October 2009 (UTC)


I'm suspicious of the claims in the trivia section that Nightingale is long thought to be lesbian. The provided references for the various related quotes does not look reliable. It is from one website, and even the author(s) seems to think it is speculative and even notes some quotes are out of context. Better references would be to actual work by Nightingale biographers and historians. --C S (Talk) 09:59, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

I also am suspicious. The one source says

This quote appears in a publication of the National Museum and Archive of Lesbian and Gay History, without a context. If you know the source of this quote, probably from Florence's extensive correspondence, I would love to hear from you. I'm sure she's not talking about sexual passions, but I'd be interested to know the context of this passage.

(Quoting this paragrah is believed to consitute Fair use).
I am adding {{OR}} to the Triva section. There may be a more approperate template, however, I am not finding one right now (something about creditable primary sources). --Midnightcomm 04:13, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
The only creditable information I can find is that the ideas of her being a lesbian was put forth by The Private Life of Florence Nightingale by Richard Gordon, ISBN 1842325124. The book is described as fiction.[2] --Midnightcomm 05:06, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

I must say I am somewhat surprised at the idea that Florence Nightingale could possibly have been a lesbian. There seems to me every reason to disbelieve that idea. Firstly, there is not a shred of evidence to support the idea that I have seen. Secondly it would have been extremely unlikely for her to pursue such relationships in the religious and social context she was living in. Thirdly, she nearly married but turned down her suitors in favour of pursuing her chosen carear. To somehow construe that as evidence of being homosexual seems like wishful thinking.

"The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale" By Gillian Gill, ISBN: 0345451880, has this to say:

"History, as opposed to imaginative literature, is based on evidence, and no one has produced any evidence that Florence Nightingale ever engaged in sexual relations with women. This I assume to be the standard working definition of a lesbian."—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

I'm going to remove the statements about her being a lesbian in the Triva section. --Midnightcomm 20:03, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

nndb lists here as asexual —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Charlie yusi (talkcontribs).

This section should be removed. Even the idea that she was celebate is little more than a guess based on lack of evidence to the contrary. Building on this to speculate abiut what her sexuality might have been, had she not been celibate, assuming she was celibate is pointless. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:27, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Medical care for poor[edit]

"Nightingale wasn't particularly concerned with the appalling conditions of medical care for the legions of the poor and indigent. In December 1844, in response to a pauper's death in a workhouse infirmary in London that became a public scandal, she became the leading advocate for improved medical care in the infirmaries and immediately engaged the support of Charles Villiers, then president of the Poor Law Board. This led to her active role in the reform of the Poor Laws, extending far beyond the provision of medical care."

Should this be "was", or was she originally not concerned with the care for the poor and indigent, but became concerned after this matter? 05:05, 11 September 2006 (UTC)


She DID actually have a pet owl called Athena!

The animal is stuffed and viewable at her house in Holloway (I've seen it!)

But whether it merits mention here I doubt.


While viewing the Times Obit on F. Nightingale my virus checker flashed a message that a trojan/virus was active. I thought that you should know this and maybe someone that is familiar with there things could clean that link up. Cheers Patrick Laffey


On the page Anglo-Indians it has her listed in "Notable people of mixed British and Indian ethnicity" and I somehow doubt it...Does anybody know about her ancestry? Someone was having fun with the list because I've seen at least two others who may not be of Anglo-Indian ancestry...? C.Kent87 18:10, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Hospital in France[edit]

Hi, I'm doing Nightingale in Bahasa Indonesia, did anyone here know the name of hospital that she once worked/ train in France? I know that she has a training in Germany for 4 months, it is also claimed that she worked in France before the crimean war, any name? date perhaps? anyone? Thank you Serenity id 02:33, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

I just can translate you what the German article is saying: 1851 she intended a 3 month nursing education in Kaiserwerth (today part of Düsseldorf). After her stay in Kaiserwerth she moved to Paris where she studied the nursing methods of the "Barmherzigen Schwestern", translated to Merciful sisters which must be a religious order. Here is some more information form At that time England was sadly behind-hand in matters of nursing and sanitation, and Miss Nightingale, who desired to obtain the best possible teaching for herself, went through a course of training in the Institute of Protestant Deaconesses at Kaiserswerth. She remained there six months, learning every detail of hospital management with a thoroughness rarely equalled. Miss Nightingale neglected nothing that could make her proficient in her self-chosen task. From Kaiserswerth she went to Paris, where she studied the system of nursing and management in the hospitals under the charge of the sisters of St Vincent de Paul. Cattleyard 09:26, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
Hah! Thank you. So this is correct. FYI I have her biography book that also stated this Paris (St Vincent de Paul - the name however different) -- the problem is the same biography book says she was born in England, not Italy, so I wasn't sure about its accuracy. Now that you confirmed it, I can put it happily in Bahasa Indonesia version. Thank you cattleyard! Serenity id 13:32, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Sadly, some of what Nightingale was supposed to have acheived is myth. Nightingale rarely laid a finger on a patient, and it could be questioned weather she was a nurse at all. Whilst her volunteer nurses during the war where practicing on the wounded soldiers, Nightingale actually spent most of her time in a office drawing up statistics. And if you speak to many nurses today, myself included, we resent the hype that surrounds her and are annoyed by how little recognition the nurses who did the practical work actually got. Peter 17:51, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Why should you be annoyed? Try working in the hospital lab for a while and you'll find out what it means to get NO recognition. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:36, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

The original critical poster is completely missing the point. Before Nightingale nursing as a profession did not exist, nurses were for the most part unpaid (and untrained) volunteers and many belonged to religious orders and were either nuns or monks.
Nightingale changed that, and also devised and instituted modern hospital management, hygiene, etc., whereby a patient going into hospital was at least less likely to die from something they weren't suffering from when they went in.
That's why she was 'recognised' and the others weren't. She changed nursing worldwide, and brought hospital death rates down. The others didn't.
... you see, before Nightingale's reforms, going into hospital was seen by many as almost a death sentence. After the reforms, most people facing a spell in hospital at least had the expectation that they would subsequently live to leave it and go home.
... and to the original poster, I assume you get paid for your work - that's your 'recognition'. And you have Nightingale to thank for that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:46, 21 October 2015 (UTC)

Possible link to Florence Nightingale items on “Himetop – The History of medicine topographical database”[edit]

I suggest that somebody, interested in this page, could insert an external link to the following page describing, with pictures, some Florence Nightingale’s memories:

I don’t do it myself because I’m also an Administrator of this site (Himetop) and it could be a violation of the Wikipedia Conflict of Interest policy. Thanks for your attention. Luca Borghi (talk) 17:38, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Indefinite semi-protection?[edit]

This article is now approaching a state of maturity. Many of its edits are now merely vandalism by anons. Is it time for indefinite semi-protection? Xxanthippe (talk) 04:28, 24 November 2008 (UTC).

WP:NURSE priority check[edit]

I have rated this article as 'top' importance according to Wikipedia:WikiProject_Nursing/Assessment#Importance_scale. If you disagree, please leave a note here so we can discuss it. Cheers, Basie (talk) 13:41, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Nightingale was no angel...she was a racist[edit]

She rejected the application of another nurse Mary Seacole because she was black. Nightingale also accused Seacole of intoxicating soldiers and running a brothel! Check the entry on Mary Seacole for more details. I think this should be included on this page because this page makes her out to be so perfect and that's just not so. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:39, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

The article on Mary Seacole says nothing about racism. Accusations can be justified or not. In general, to include something in an article, you need a reliable source. Kind regards, Guido den Broeder

(talk, visit) 00:49, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the person who made this comment section. If you read the letters she wrote from the Crimea, it's true, she was no angel and she did have extreme biases towards a lot of people (Catholics, other women). She was jealous of her position and did not like sharing the spotlight. She was allowed into the Crimea because of her family connections; her name was not made until she left and came back to England. I don't know why so many who write for Wikipedia cannot admit the fallibilities of their "heroes". I see this time and again when I read entries. All of these people are human and with it come dark sides. Was she a brave, pioneering woman? Yes. Was she mean and spiteful? Yes. All of this is true. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:34, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

I think you're missing the point. WP articles should be about notable things/people and what they are notable for. Whilst bigotry in all its hateful forms is appalling, it is not what Florence Nightingale was notable for. --Paul (talk) 10:41, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

If there is a "point" to be missed I don't think I'm missing it. WP should give all sides of an historical figure if its editors desire it to be better than your average 6th grade history book. Their facets are what make them interesting people instead of cardboard cut-outs. And who can aspire to be a card-board cut-out? No wonder people think history is boring. Yes, she's notable for being a pioneering woman and we hear a lot of that....this is hardly new. If you read her letters you may be struck with how spiteful she could be as well. This needs to be included because it was part of her personality....perhaps her strengths in one area could also be a weakness in another? And again if you read her letters from the Crimea you will read that this spitefulness affected her relations profoundly with others while she was there. Perhaps if she had worked better with others she would have accomplished more. This is important to consider.--Heather —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:29, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

If you dismiss everyone in history who has been "racist" you will be dismissing everyone up to the present age. No doubt she was racist by our standards - she lived in the 19th century. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:38, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

Was William Blake's poem "The Little Black Boy" never written? Was the Abolitionism movement never founded? The assumption that everyone of the former age was by base-fact of the time a racist is a fallacy. Although standards change and values alter, it is a mistake to assume that 'past' ideas were not always consolable with our own, and it does the majority of people a great wrong to assume they apply to what modern standard considers 'racist'. Anti-Racist feeling and movements of the age aside, this prejudice is Chronophobia of the worst sort! Signed - Sokik - — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:52, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

Might be worth noting that these accusations of racism did not inhibit her from being a hero in Doc McStuffins where she interacted well with the African American protagonist, although biased could be acquired later in life. (talk) 15:24, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

Edits by Raymondwinn[edit]

Article has been extensively edited in good faith by Raymondwinn using sources that are non-existent ref. [1], unreliable ref. [2] or unstated. Although some of the edits are useful I have felt it best to revert to a previous version that seemed to be uncontentious. I suggest that Raymondwinn take his edits a few at a time and use only sources that are reliable (WP:RS), for example, not blogs like ref. [2]. Xxanthippe (talk) 06:17, 30 May 2009 (UTC). se was a rasict woman — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:05, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

Early Morning[edit]

Is this section factually true or not?:

"Nightingale also appears in Edward Bond's Early Morning, in which she is depicted having a lesbian affair with Queen Victoria and offering sexual favours to the hospitalised soldiers." Otherwise we're just reverting and re-reverting. Contaldo80 (talk) 11:05, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

I've now checked this and it seems the account is true. In which case can we be clear about why we are removing. Let's also bear in mind that it's a surrealist play and not intended to be historical true. Contaldo80 (talk) 11:07, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

One might add they also have them in Harlequin Romance novels and such with the rest of them, least of all to mention the soap operas. Then again one must keep in mind also pornography versions. Then of course, it has been umpteen generations of alcohol, drugs and drug developments............ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:37, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Florence Nightingale's illness[edit]

I propose to make changes to the Later Career section on FN's illness. That section says that she was bedridden 'by 1896' (when she was 76). I will say she was intermittently bedridden from 1857. Many alternative theories have been proposed. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, mentioned in the article with 'citation needed' is one of the least popular of these speculative explanations some of which seem to originate from a support group for sufferers from the condition, and I will delete it. The reference to Bostridge's recent biography leads to a in independent medical study that proposes Brucellosis as a cause, so it is appropriate to mention it. I will add that she also suffered from depression and that my book says this was due to her guilt for her failure to improve hygiene in her hospital in the Crimean War. This is a subject that is alluded to above in the Crimean War and Scutari discussion sections, but as the contributors point out it is not clear whether she succeeded, failed, or both. As the discoverer of some of the information cited there I will straighten things out as I will explain in the discussion under Scutari. Hugh Small (talk) 17:46, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Germ Theory[edit]

I am putting in a new paragraph in Later Career about her attitude to Germ Theory. Hugh Small (talk) 19:16, 9 October 2009 (UTC)


The article previously mentioned that some scholars thought she was celibate and went on to say that in a letter to Madame Mohl in 1861 she wrote:

I have lived and slept in the same bed with English countesses and Prussian farm women. No woman has excited passions among women more than I have.

Read in context, the passage in the 1861 letter to Madam Mohl gives no indication whatsoever that Nightingale was homosexual. By "passions" she meant "interest" or "excitement" because Nightingale and her work were, to her everlasting chagrin, co-opted as a figurehead in the women's rights movement. She "slept in the same bed" with varied women because she was widely traveled and trained numerous nurses, and because before modern heating it was common for people of the same sex to share beds. user

One thing that is interesting is that in this version of the article, it did not interpet the quote. The quote was just presented. Then user came along and mentioned that it gave no indication whatsoever that she was gay. Ironically, it was user who first suggested that it did, only to deny it.
Whatever you understand by excited passions, that quote is very relevant to the question of her relationship with women. If someone says that she slept in the same bed and excited passion, then I think it is utterly unreasonable to state that it gives no indication whatsoever that Nightingale was homosexual. On the other hand nor is it absolutely proof that she was a lesbian. I would say that it is a very relevant piece of evidence. Let us not perpetuate the myth that Victorians were asexual. Sex was publicly taboo, but in a private letter people could be a bit more open and honest.
I propose reinserting the quote, but not interpeting it. If the article were to include an interpetation, then the interpetation would need a citation.
Pnelnik (talk) 03:33, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the points above made by Pnelnik. The quote does tell us something and warrants inclusion. Contaldo80 (talk) 13:04, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Florence Nightingale Effect[edit]

I noticed that this page says that the Florence Nightingale Effect is when "patients fall in love with their caregivers", but if you follow the link you see that it is described as "a psychological complex where people who are entrusted with the care and well being of vulnerable patients begin to form a romantic attraction and often erotic attraction toward their charges", which is the other way around. Which is it? Theradpotato (talk) 10:17, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

I can't find the term in such reliable sources as The Oxford Companion to Medicine and A Dictionary of Psychology. In fact the string "Nightingale effect" isn't found in the Oxford Reference online corpus. A New Dictionary of Eponyms says that a "Florence Nightingale" can mean a ministering angel, but has no entry for any "effect". Here's a definition of Florence Nightingale Syndrome which is completely different. William Avery (talk) 12:20, 21 December 2009 (UTC)


According to the Celibacy article it "is defined as the lifestyle of someone who is, and is striving to remain, unmarried all his/her life." But it goes on to say that "It is also used to describe a state of life where one chooses to abstain from all sexual activities (also known as "continence")." Therefore the use of the word in the article was valid, but I'm happy to keep with "chaste" as now suggested. Contaldo80 (talk) 10:01, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Tenth edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary agrees with the celibacy article in Wikipedia that it means abstaining from marriage and sex for religious motives, or abstaining from sexual relations. The Latin 'cælibem', from which it is derived, just meant unmarried, but it has developed a refinement of meaning in English, to the point where it would be positively misleading to describe many unmarried people as 'celibate'. William Avery (talk) 10:47, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Celibacy means remaining unmarried, not abstaining from sexual activities. The correct term for the latter is chastity. It is a pity that the Wikipedia article reflects the all too common - and inexcusable - modern confusion between the two.

The suggestion that some scholars of Florence Nightingale believe that she remained chaste for her entire life is entirely misleading. The modern American presumption is that a person is sexually promiscuous unless proven otherwise. The reverse was the case in the 19th century. Her chastity does not need to be explained or excused. (talk) 05:54, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Museums and displays[edit]

Greetings. After creating this message, I'll be saving an addition to the Nightingale article in the Museums and monuments section. The photograph is a fortuitous contribution from an editor who visited the Malvern Museum and who was good enough to upload his image to Wikipedia. I added too a citation for the Florence Nightingale Museum in Istanbul. I see there is a red link for the Istanbul museum, which is clearly there as a prompt for future article creation. However, to get such an article up and running, one needs more than a sentence. The easiest way is typically to expand an existing bit of text in an existing article to the point that a split is justified, with the bulk of the text forming the new article, a sentence or so in the parent article, and link to the new one. The citation I've added should help in that regard. But even if that project never eventuates, it remains an informative reference. Cheers. Wotnow (talk) 03:26, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

hrmmm? pronunciation?[edit]

The "historical" and "current" pronunciations are the same. Benwing (talk) 08:04, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

The Lady with the Lamp[edit]

The Crimean Campaign was mentioned but she wasn't alive at that time. It was meant to be the Crimean war, I assume. Kakila (talk) 11:52, 20 November 2010 (UTC)Kakila This was corrected. Shall this talk page section be deleted? Kakila (talk) 12:44, 12 December 2010 (UTC)


Unknown woman, formerly known as Florence Nightingale by Augustus Leopold Egg.jpg

Here's a portrait of Florence Nightingale in case it can be used in the future.--I NEVER CRY 07:07, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Christian Universalist[edit]

The offhand way in which the claim is slotted into the argument struck me as odd. I went and had a look at the reference and it came from a Universalist theology website.

Surely this does not count as a valid source? That is like citing and atheist blog biography as proof someone was an atheist. Universalist is in any case inadequate terminology, since it was used in a rather different sense in Nightingale's time than it is now. Certainly she came from a Unitarian background - but her specific views on theology are harder to ascertain.

Various groups are always trying to induct historical figures into their religion. I would suggest a more appropriate and impartial source is required before commenting on Nightingale's religion. (talk) 08:44, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

Florence Nightingale pupil of Sylvester?[edit]

The article on James Joseph Sylvester states "One of his private pupils was Florence Nightingale." I have seen this stated elsewhere, possibly "Men of Mathematics" by E.T.Bell (which has been described as inaccurate), which I cannot check now. A quick on line search found in Karen Hunger Parshal, James Joseph Sylvester on p.371: "Herbert Baker ... remarked that Sylvester had also given private instruction to Florence Nightingale. ... I have been unable categorically to substantiate this claim." ?worth mentioning? Michael P. Barnett (talk) 17:08, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

hi, i want to revive this discussion as rjensen said it was not relevant.

the biggest question is: was she a student of JJ Sylvester? if not, she should be removed from his infobox. i may have made a mistake by overzealously stating he was her doctoral advisor.

any added discussion would be great.

ty (talk) 04:10, 31 March 2015 (UTC)



This section is very non-NPOV, making sound as if she were some sort of super masculine lesbian, when in fact no evidence exists for that. It cites a Feminist magazine, and a website without giving a webpage and it says that she referred to herself as "a man of action" and "a man of business". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hethrir (talkcontribs) 00:13, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Unclear items[edit]

Bonjour from France.

I am sorry to interfere, but I think some points which are not clear at all in the biography :

  • in 1837, she has a call from God. Is that all about her child years ? No education, no schools ?
  • in 1844, she announces her decision to become a nurse ; Mummy cries a lot, but what then ? Daddy will give her 500£ a year : when exactly ?
  • then, "she worked hard to educate herself in the art and science of nursing" : what does that mean ? That she reads books ? Has she not been in health institutions ?
  • in 1847, she is in Rome. That's tourism, the Grand Tour ? It's definitely not a rebellion against the social codes of the Vistorian society !
  • then "she continued her travels (with Charles and Selina Bracebridge)". Who are those two unreferenced people ?
  • then, she is at Kaiserswerth : is it a part of the Grand Tour, or is it a specific travel in relation with nursing ? When exactly does she receive "four months of medical training".
  • then, she becomes "superintendant..." : what authority gives her this job ?

Also sorry for the language mistakes.


--AUBRIANT (talk) 05:27, 24 November 2011 (UTC) (France)

Thanks for these useful points. Have started to address them. Regarding your point 3, she hardly spent any time in nursing institutions before 1853 (apart from a few months at an old style religious institute in Germany in 51). There's a lot in this article that still misleading, hopefully will get round to resolving this soon, depends on whether there's more annoying nonconstructive reverting by other editors. FeydHuxtable (talk) 00:48, 18 October 2012 (UTC)


In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Nightingale", Ensign Kim takes command of a ship which he believes to be delivering vaccines to a society involved in a military conflict, and names the ship "Nightingale", explaining to the (non-human) crew that he's naming it after a nurse who tended to soldiers during battle. Is this worth mentioning in the "Television" sub-section? K.clow (talk) 14:59, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

October 2012[edit]

I reverted edits on 18 Oct 2012 by FeydHuxtable with the edit comment "Reverted good faith edits by FeydHuxtable (talk): These are substantial revisions to a well-established article. We need some explanation on the talk page." I found the material below on my talk page. I put it here where it ought to be. Other editors may care to comment. Xxanthippe (talk) 23:47, 17 October 2012 (UTC).

Please dont revert the substantial contributions of other editors with poorly thought out comments. While the article is old, its C class and overall it doesnt look like its been written by someone who's read her more authoritative recent biographies. In such cases theres no need to insist on discussion before making large improvements, that would be obstructive. Very little of my edit to the Nighengale page constituted a "revision". It expanded the lede per the tag, mostly to summarize the key points already in the body. And I expanded the theology section. There were a few minor revisions which you can change back if you wish. Its actually in need of serious attention by someone who can get it up to GA status, per the importance of the subject. FeydHuxtable (talk) 22:33, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

My comment doesnt really belong here as its mainly a request for you not to repeat your non constructive reverting. Please dont get in the way of editors trying to improve the article. FeydHuxtable (talk) 00:39, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree with FeydHuxtable. Knee-jerk reversions are really annoying WP:ONLYREVERT Bhny (talk) 15:18, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
They certainly are. Surveys by the Foundation have found thoughtless reverts are one of the major factors that drives editors aways, especially newbies. Xxanthippe should know better per the previous messages on their talk. It seems especially objectionable to expect an improvement needed to fix a maintenance tag to be discussed in advance for an article that seems to have had no major contributors working on it for years. Thanks for your comment, hopefully the message will now get through. FeydHuxtable (talk) 16:39, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
I can forgive a certain amount when I see that the 'call from God' assertion was re-inserted as if it were indubitable fact. William Avery (talk) 12:04, 19 October 2012 (UTC)
I've tried to address the 'calls from God' point without any implication that God exists or that, conversely, she must have been deluded or insane (and without putting scare quotes around the phrase in the article text). William Avery (talk) 12:39, 19 October 2012 (UTC)


New photo uploaded of Florence taken by Elizabeth Caswall Smith in 1910. Placed under the "Death" section. Also moved the Blue Plaque to legacy section as it would be better placed there. Danny Newman 13:22, 7 November 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dannynewman (talkcontribs)

Please could one of the regular editors of the Nightingale page consider including a photograph of her beautiful medal, created for her and given during the Crimean War by Queen Victoria? It is in the British Army Museum, and also available on their website, and is very high quality. Could permission be obtained from the Museum to post their image here? Cobaltcanarycherry (talk) 06:00, 21 March 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cobaltcanarycherry (talkcontribs) 05:54, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

Sylvester was not a doctoral advisor -- no evidence he was even a tutor[edit]

Sylvester does not get a single mention in the article so he should not be in the infobox summary (which lacks a RS). Note that some RS explicitly reject a connection: "There appears to be no documentary evidence to connect Florence with J. J. Sylvester" says Mark Bostridge (2008). Florence Nightingale: The Making of an Icon. p. 1172. It was not a "doctoral" relationship in any case--the unfounded claim is that he tutored her in basic mathematics--a far cry indeed from a "doctoral" relationship. Neither he nor she ever mentioned any relationship at all. Rjensen (talk) 04:28, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

cool, thanks very much. that is helpful for the Sylvester page as well. i'm going to use this talk as a reference. ty again (talk) 05:19, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

Lead says English, Infobox says British[edit]

Which one?  — Calvin999 10:14, 21 October 2015 (UTC)

Asteroid name after her[edit]

Asteroid (3122) Florence was named after her:

This should be added to the article.

Minor spelling mistake[edit]

There is a minor spelling mistake in the section Literature and the women's movement, in the last paragraph, in the source reference to Adrienne Rich's book. In the referenced book's title, the word "Silence" is misspelled as "Silene." Would someone with sufficient Wikipedia authorization please fix this? For proof that this is a misspelling, please see the Wikipedia page on Adrienne Rich's book On Lies, Secrets and Silence [1], which includes a photograph of the book's cover. --Paul Steinbach (talk) 06:48, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

This has now been corrected. Thank you. Nedrutland (talk) 07:04, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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File:Florence Nightingale. Coloured lithograph. Wellcome V0006579.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Florence Nightingale. Coloured lithograph. Wellcome V0006579.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on May 12, 2018. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2018-05-12. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. — Chris Woodrich (talk) 02:53, 21 April 2018 (UTC)

Florence Nightingale
The Lady with the Lamp, a c. 1880s lithograph after Henrietta Rae depicting Florence Nightingale at a patient's bedside during the Crimean War. During the war, Nightingale (1820–1910) organised the tending to wounded soldiers, and became iconic in Victorian culture as "The Lady with the Lamp". In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London. She has been recognised as the founder of modern nursing, and the pledge taken by new nurses and the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve were named in her honour.Painting: Henrietta Rae

The section "relationship" is msielading[edit]

It does not state any kind of relationship, it just states Florence Nightingale's views on other women. Totally misleading, off topic and suggestive title. The title should be changed to "views on other women". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Marked Man 808 (talkcontribs) 15:44, 16 June 2018 (UTC)


On the ancestry chart, Mary Evans and William Shore both go through to other pages but neither mentions Nightingale. Indeed, the William Shore one is obviously false as he was born after Florence. Mary Evans could be the one linked to, but seems unlikely. (talk) 10:18, 1 July 2018 (UTC)

Yes, that's pretty clearly the wrong William Shore! Someone must've wikilinked it at some point, I'll remove the link and check the others. Basie (talk) 20:32, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Looking at the rest, Mary Evans was definitely the wrong one, and the rest are redlinks apart from her maternal grandfather who is already mentioned in the body of the article. I'll remove the ancestry section entirely, it's already covered. Basie (talk) 20:48, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
  1. ^,_Secrets_and_Silence