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Books, Journals, New Media
August 28, 2002

History: Say Little, Do Much: Nurses, Nuns, and Hospitals in the Nineteenth Century

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing Editor, JAMADavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 2002;288(8):1018-1019. doi:10.1001/jama.288.8.1018-JBK0828-3-1

Say Little, Do Much addresses the contributions to nursing in the 19th century by vowed women of various religious orders. ("Vowed women" is a generic term for nuns, sisters, and deaconesses, who, as described by the author, are "women who separated themselves from the rest of the world to live in a community according to a set of religious precepts.") Contemporary historians and writers, although aware of some of the religious influences on the professional development of nursing, usually have said little about these women's contributions, instead starting the story with the heroic work and reforms of Florence Nightingale. Sioban Nelson's book now brings from the shadow of this legend a new truth and tribute to a group of dedicated women.