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March 1959

Florence Nightingale and the Doctors.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959;103(3):512-513. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270030168031

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Much has been made of the enigma of Florence Nightingale. From Cope's most illuminating study of her very important relations with doctors she emerges as a tense, high-strung, frustrated, mother-dominated woman who finally broke away. Then she was able to devote her life singlemindedly to what she considered her God-given mission, that of establishing nursing as a respectable profession. Her "illness' she used skillfully, perhaps unconsciously, but I believe with subtle insight in order to gain many of her designs. The medical world and the important political figures came to her door, though one person at a time and never more than a few on any one day. They danced to her tune, coming and going to do her missions, to enhance her position of authority, to take advice and help fulfill her high aims.

Florence Nightingale, more than most, was a woman of paradoxes. While reading Cope's fascinating book,

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