Nursing before Nightingale, 1815–1899 — “essential” according to Choice

Posted by Martha McKenna, Marketing Manager

Choice Magazine reviewed Nursing before Nightingale, 1815–1899 by Carol Helmstadter and Judith Godden in their August issue and had this to say:

This intelligent, well-written, historically based document changes the context of Nightingale’s contributions and provides a more authentic perspective on nursing’s evolution. Instead of focusing on the mythology surrounding Nightingale, it 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.”

Nursing before Nightingale, 1815–1899 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 onwards, 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.

This study will be of great value to those studying the history of medicine, labor, religion, gender studies and the rise of a respectable society in the nineteenth century.

Visit for more information and to browse sample pages. To see other Ashgate books reviewed in Choice, check out

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