LONDON: Florence Nightingale, who founded the modern nursing profession, has been an example of compassion and selfless devotion to patient care for the past 150 years.
Now, a new book has claimed that the 'Lady with the Lamp' toured her wards at night not to cast a caring eye over sick soldiers but to check that her nurses were not drinking with them or sharing their beds.
"On her nighttime tours of the wards, she was more interested in checking her nurses weren't carousing with the soldiers or jumping into bed with them than in administering personal care," the book's author Mark Bostridge was quoted by 'The Sunday Times' as saying.
Bostridge's biographical book, 'Florence Nightingale: The Woman and Her Legend' drawn on private family letters and papers, is to be published next month.
Nightingale's reputation was built on her work improving conditions at the military hospital in Scutari in the Crimean War of 1853-56. However, the book argues that much of her image as a saintly nurse was Victorian media invention.
Instead, her success at improving survival rates in hospital was a result of her skills as an executive.
"She was not really a nurse at all. She was basically an administrator who spent much of her time buying in clothing and food," the author claimed.
The book has also countered the widely accepted view that Nightingale looked down on Mary Seacole, the black nurse who treated Crimean war soldiers and whose reputation has in fact soared in recent years.
Bostridge claims to have found out that Nightingale actually helped her financially when she faced bankruptcy.
7 months ago