The Making of Modern Medicine

Episode 15: Sisters of charity

BBC Radio 4
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15 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:

How the nursing profession was transformed thanks to an enterprising Florence Nightingale.

How the nursing profession was transformed from the role of virtually a domestic servant thanks to an enterprising Florence Nightingale.

A major narrative history series exploring over 2,000 years of western medicine, written and presented by medical historian Andrew Cunningham.

According to the Nursing Record, a typical nurse in the 1830s was like Sarah Gamp in Charles Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit - a domestic servant who was incompetent and rough with patients.

By the 1880s, a nurse was young, neat and uniformed and had been formally trained. How did this change come about? As Andrew reveals, an enterprising Florence Nightingale gave us a new kind of nurse - offering a vocation that girls 'of good character' increasingly were called to undertake.

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