J Holist Nurs. 1997 Mar; 15(1): 25-40.
Florence Nightingale and holistic philosophy.
University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, USA.
Florence Nightingale lived at a time when allopathy and homeopathy were competing for dominance in medical care. Nightingale's philosophy of health and healing was more similar to the holistic philosophy of homeopathy than to the mechanistic philosophy of allopathy. Why, then, did Nightingale align organized nursing with allopathic medicine? Perhaps Nightingale, always the pragmatist, understood that allopathy would gain the dominant position in medicine. Perhaps aligning nursing with allopathy was a way to ensure the survival and legitimacy of nursing as a profession. Modern nursing can reconnect with Nightingale's holistic philosophy by preparing graduates conversant with holistic philosophy and by encouraging research that focuses on how the natural healing process is facilitated.