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Was Florence Nightingale or Mary Seacole the real angel of mercy?

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The Real 'Angel of Mercy' The phrase 'Angel of Mercy' can be defined in many ways, but in its simplest form it is someone who is described as caring, compassionate and radiates love and hope. Many people view Florence Nightingale to be the perfect example of this phrase; however, in reality I believe this phrase is better suited to the likes of Mary Seacole. Source V focuses on Mary Seacole's involvement in the Crimean war. Unlike Florence Nightingale, Seacole was located right on the front line in the Crimean with her 'British Hotel' being located just outside of Balaclava. Nightingale was situated 'several hundred miles' away in Scutari. This is significant as it meant that soldiers who were seriously injured on the battlefield died needlessly on the hard and long journey to Scutari. Whereas Seacole was available to treat soldiers right there and then on the frontline; this saved a lot of soldiers from dying of needless causes like diseases they caught on the journey to the hospital. With Seacole being so close to the frontline it also meant that all soldiers were able to get medical care. ...read more.


However in medical terms this may not be the case. Aspersions can be cast over Seacole's real skill as a doctor. She learned her medicinal knowledge, which most of which was herbal, from her mother and didn't have any standard medical education that Nightingale did. Despite this her methods seemed to be just as effective, as reports from people like William Russell praised her healing skills. Source U can be more connected with Nightingale's role in the Crimean War than it can be with Seacole's. Source U is a view of one of the wards at the Scutari Hospital. However, considering its seamless nature I don't place much weight on this source being very accurate, it seems to be more of a government propaganda painting than an accurate account of the truth. It reflects the idea that Nightingale did a brilliant job in turning Scutari from a rundown place in to an amazingly clean and professional hospital. Even though we know Nightingale did improve the cleanliness at Scutari, historical evidence shows that it was not to an extent that is shown in Source U. ...read more.


In conclusion, it is clear that I agree with the view that Mary Seacole, and not Florence Nightingale, was the real angel of mercy, during the Crimean War. Although Nightingale was obviously committed to her role of running Scutari, she had no real effect on the moral of the soldiers like Seacole did. Despite rejection, Seacole showed dedication and determination to serve in the Crimea, she associated a lot more with the men, unlike Nightingale, and she administered treatment on the front line whilst in danger herself. Although Nightingale achieved many things after the Crimean War, like setting up her nursing school, and even though she highlighted the importance of nursing and the role of women in British medicine, during the actual war my judgment is that Mary Seacole was the real angel of mercy. Seacole was the real angel of mercy at the time regards to actual work during the war, however Nightingale's reputation (the Lady with the Lamp) with the British public supersedes this. Florence Nightingale became the angel of mercy over time, but the truth is that it was really Mary Seacole. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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