Lamp light on leadership: clinical leadership and Florence Nightingale

J Nurs Manag. 2010 Mar;18(2):115-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2010.01051.x.


Aims: The purpose of the present study was to use the example of Florence Nightingales' nursing experience to highlight the differences between nursing leadership and clinical leadership with a focus on Miss Nightingales' clinical leadership attributes.

Background: 2010 marks the centenary of the death of Florence Nightingale. As this significant date approaches this paper reflects on her contribution to nursing in relation to more recent insights into clinical leadership.

Evaluation: Literature has been used to explore issues related to nursing leadership, clinical leadership and the life and characteristics of Florence Nightingale.

Key issues: There are a few parts of Florence's character which fit the profile of a clinical leader. However, Miss Nightingale was not a clinical leader she was a powerful and successful role model for the academic, political and managerial domains of nursing.

Conclusion: There are other ways to lead and other types of leaders and leadership that nursing and the health service needs to foster, discover and recognize.

Implications for nursing management: Clinical leaders should be celebrated and recognized in their own right. Both clinical leaders and nursing leaders are important and need to work collaboratively to enhance patient care and to positively enhance the profession of nursing.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making
  • History of Nursing
  • History, 19th Century
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Nurse Administrators / history*
  • Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Nursing, Supervisory*

Personal name as subject

  • Florence Nightingale