Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole on nursing and health care




The purpose of this article is to correct inaccurate information about both Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale, material that promotes Seacole as a pioneer nurse and heroine, while either ignoring Nightingale or trivializing her contribution.


Nursing journals have been prominent in promoting inaccurate accounts of the contribution of Seacole to nursing. Some have intermittently published positive material about Nightingale, but none has published redress.


Discussion paper.


Primary sources from 1855–2012 were found, which contradict some key claims made about Seacole. Further sources – not included here – are identified, with a website reference.

Implications for Nursing

It is argued that Nightingale remains relevant as a model for nurses, with the many crises in patient care and continuing challenges of hospital safety.


Greater accuracy and honesty are required in reporting about nursing heroes. Without these, great ideas and examples can be lost to nursing and health care.