Thursday, 13 November 2014

Nightingale versus Seacole…round two!

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

You may recall ‘Nightingale versus Seacole…round one!’ which I wrote after we published McDonald’s (2013) less than complimentary piece on Mary Seacole’s contribution to modern nursing. That piece did not go unnoticed and as a result Staring-Derks et al. (2014) have recently published an article titled, ‘MarySeacole: global nurse extraodinaire’. I say as a result, rather than in reaction to, as Staring-Derks et al– while citing McDonald’s article – decided not to confront her arguments ‘head on’ and what results is a very measured, polite and well-referenced piece.

Clearly, by labelling these rounds one and two respectively I am hoping that further correspondence and articles will arise, perhaps not from the original ‘protagonists’ but from others with a view on the relative contributions of Nightingale and Seacole to modern nursing and healthcare.Whatever one’s view – and JAN is neutral in this debate – the influence of Mary Seacole is undeniable. I was in Edgbaston in Birmingham recently, taking a taxi past Birmingham City University, and noticed another Seacole Building; few universities where nursing is taught are without one. The Seacole ‘lobby’ and the move in the UK, for example, to have a statue erected in her honour, are well organised and influential. I am not aware of a similar ‘lobby’ for Florence Nightingale; perhaps her place in the history of nursing is assured.

If you wish to contribute to the debate then please check our author guidelines for how to contribute to JAN interactive.


McDonald L (2013) Florence Nightingale and MarySeacole on nursing and health Journal of Advanced Nursing 70, 1436-1444

Staring-Derks C, Staring J, Anionwu E (2014) MarySeacole: global nurse extrodinaire Journal of Advanced Nursing doi: 10.1111/jan.12559

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