The lives of the first women doctors in Britain have been well studied by historians, as have the many debates about the right of women to train and practice as doctors. Yet the relationship between these women and their most obvious comparators and competitors—the newly professionalized hospital nurses—has not been explored. This article makes use of a wide range of sources to explore the ways in which the first lady doctors created “clear water” between themselves and the nurses with whom they worked and trained. In doing so, it reveals an identity that may seem at odds with some of the clichés of Victorian femininity, namely that of the intelligent and ambitious lady doctor.
- medical education