Rediscovering a history of nursing management: From Nightingale to the modern matron

Stuart Wildman, Alistair Hewison

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: This paper presents an examination of distinct periods in the development of nursing in order to rediscover a history of nursing management in England. The overall purpose is to demonstrate that uncritical accounts written in the past have not adequately explained the complex factors that have shaped nursing management in England. It is also suggested that the approach taken may be usefully applied to other national contexts. Design: This is a review article which first establishes the value of historical perspectives in increasing understanding of nursing and then goes on to analyse the professional, social and political forces that contributed to the development of nursing management. Data sources: A range of historical and contemporary sources is accessed to support the review. Review methods: The review is informed by an historical approach which also seeks recourse to current literature to develop a critical narrative analysis which has an international dimension. Conclusions: The history of nursing management has been 'lost' in celebratory and uncritical accounts of nursing as a whole. The important influence of key figures other than Nightingale has been overlooked and it emerges that nursing management has a longer and more complex history than is generally accepted. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1650-1661
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • Nightingale
  • History
  • Nursing management


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