Nursing Before Nightingale is a study of the transformation of nursing in England from the beginning of the nineteenth century until the emergence of the Nightingale nurse as the standard model in the 1890s. From the nineteenth century on historians have considered Florence Nightingale, with her training school established at St. Thomas's Hospital in 1860, the founder of modern nursing. This book investigates two major earlier reforms in nursing: a doctor-driven reform which came to be called the 'ward system,' and the reforms of the Anglican Sisters, known as the 'central system' of nursing. Rather than being the beginning of nursing reform, Nightingale nursing was the culmination of these two earlier reforms.
Prize: Winner of The Lavinia L. Dock Award for 2012 A Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2012 '… bridges the historical gap in nursing scholarship, bringing a fresh perspective on the contributions of many over centuries to the development of the nursing profession. Valuable for anyone interested in the history of medicine, or religious, labor, or gender studies. Summing Up: Essential. All academic readers.' Choice 'Nursing before Nightingale excels in linking the micro-practices of nursing to macro-issues of gender, medicine, class, and denominational prejudice. It is essential reading for anyone wanting to venture beyond the famous figures of Gamp and Nightingale and delve into the complex world of Victorian nursing.' Victorian Studies 'This is the first work that has proposed a model for changes in hospital nursing that spans the whole of the nineteenth century and puts the Nightingale system as the culmination of these attempts at reform, not the start… essential reading for all those interested in the history of British nursing.' Social History of Medicine 'This is a highly readable and fascinating account of the struggles faced by early nurse reformers. It will be of interest to historians, nurses, and anyone interested in medical history at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level. But perhaps Helmstadter and Godden’s greatest achievement is to look at the early history of modern nursing and show how relevant this story is to nursing today. In the end, Nightingale’s more secular model of nursing prevailed in our memory and nurses continue to fight for full professional recognition today.' Journal of Religious History 'This book is extremely valuable because it presents a new image of pre-Nightingale nursing in England and illuminates the overlooked importance of religious nurses to the reforms in England, which should encourage further historical research on this topic.' Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 'In their compelling book, the