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J Adv Nurs. 2015 Mar;71(3):514-25. doi: 10.1111/jan.12559. Epub 2014 Nov 10.

Mary Seacole: global nurse extraordinaire.

Author information

1
University of Applied Sciences Avans Hogeschool Nursing Departments, Breda and Den Bosch, The Netherlands.

Abstract

AIMS:

A discussion of recently discovered literature that reveals how after the Crimean War ended in 1856, Jamaican nurse, doctress and entrepreneur Mary Seacole travelled more widely and gained further international recognition than had previously been appreciated.

BACKGROUND:

New findings demonstrate that Seacole's international charitable and business activities were reported more widely than realised. Recently discovered literature uncovers her networking and strategic skills in various social milieus. A former Scutari nurse and 39 other women, offered their service to Seacole to nurse British soldiers in India. Newspapers also reported the medal she had been awarded from the Turkish government.

DESIGN:

Discussion paper.

DATA SOURCES:

Digitized 19th-century newspaper reports, and 1857 Dutch and 1858 French translations of Seacole's autobiography and a recently discovered handwritten letter dated 1 October 1857 from Seacole to Sir Henry Storks, at the time Secretary for Military Correspondence at the War Office, London.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING:

Awareness of the findings affords a more thorough understanding of the scope and diversity of nursing history. This can provide valuable role models for the 21st century generations of competent and self-confident healthcare professionals. The new evidence offers further testimony that Seacole can truly be considered as one such figurehead.

CONCLUSIONS:

British and international primary sources reveal Mary Seacole as an historical and charismatic global phenomenon, more than had been previously realised.

KEYWORDS:

Mary Seacole; historical research; military nursing; multicultural issues; research dissemination; transcultural nursing

PMID:
25382171
DOI:
10.1111/jan.12559
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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