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‘Back to the Future’ and the ‘Florence Nightingale Effect’

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‘Florence Nightingale Effect’ refers to cases where a nurse becomes attracted a patient, or vice-versa. Although the exact origins of the phrase are unknown, many credit the movie ‘Back to the Future’, which was released in 1985.

In this story, Dr Emmet Brown explains to Marty McFly that his parents met and fell in love as a result of the Florence Nightingale Effect. When Brown and McFly travel back in time in a modified Delorean car, they disrupt the natural course of history, and McFly has to find a new way for his parents to meet, or he will cease to exist.

Model of the time-travelling car from the ‘Back to the Future’ films.

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Nightingale is respected worldwide for her pioneering role in developing the nursing profession, her statistical work, and her evidence-based approach to healthcare. In honour of her bicentenary the World Health Organisation have named 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

In our special exhibition, you will find out about objects, people and places which tell interesting stories about Florence’s life and legacy. You’ll discover artefacts from her life, people she both inspired and challenged, and places she helped to shape. There’s many more insights too!

Please click on the different sections of her famous coxcomb diagram to explore various aspects of her life and legacy. We hope you enjoy exploring!