Florence Nightingale Syndrome

What is Florence Nightingale Syndrome?

Florence Nightingale Syndrome is a psychological condition and develops between a vulnerable patient and a health care provider, which initiates a complex romantic feeling with erotic thoughts in caregiver for their patients.

Sometimes vice versa situation can also develop means patients develops a romantic feeling for their caregiver, because they want to continue the relationship, as they feel caregiver is the best protector for them. This condition is not a true medical condition, but explode society city allegory often mention Florence Nightingale Syndrome1,2.

Florence Nightingale Syndrome


Florence Nightingale was a nurse and had a great role in revolutionizing the nursing profession in 1800 centuries. Before her initiatives, nursing was not considered as a sophisticated profession and only restricted to people who belongs to lower class families.

But Florence Nightingale was a motivating inspiration for the development of the nursing profession. She wrote a book “Notes on Nursing: What it is, what it is not” in 1860 and that became fundamental to nursing education.

In 1869, Florence Nightingale opened the earliest school of nursing in England in collaboration with Elizabeth Blackwell. Florence Nightingale never had erotic feeling among her patients. But the syndrome named after Florence Nightingale, because of her profound zeal towards nursing profession and concern for her patient1,2.


The symptoms are only restricted in mind, no medical ill health due to this condition occurs. Florence Nightingale Syndrome symptoms are same as intense crush with a feeling of falling in love1.


The Florence Nightingale syndrome effect is not similar for caregiver and patient. The feelings can develop in either individual and that may not provide any harmful effect if they can control their feeling without physical involvement.

The physical intimation between caregiver and patient is unethical, which leads to termination of a job and also impacts personal life and future career of the caregiver.

In the other hand, if a patients try to involve physically with his/her caregiver that also not permissible, rejection can cause embarrassing feeling1.

Prevention and Solution

1. To know yourself

Sandy Weiner, a certified dating coach proposed that it is very important to find out the driving force for such romantic rescue assignments, which can be achieved through visualizing yourself as a literal, real-life rescuer.

You must identify the real purpose and what you can obtain from such circumstances? What mind-set are you in search of? What making do you think as a savior? According to Sandy Weiner, identifying the need which is the root cause for such behavior can help you to tackle it in a healthy way. Let us get started:

  • Find out some personal time to analyze your relationship behaviors
  • Replicate on yourself and your self-characteristics
  • Analyze past relationship patterns
  • Communicate with your intimate friends and family
  • This can help to develop a plan for adopting new behaviors.

2. Self-sufficient & self-sustained

Self-improvement and self-motivation are the keys to success. According to Rob Mack, author of Happiness from the Inside Out: The Art and Science of Fulfillment, it is essential to maintain a journal for self-appreciation which can help you to get constructive support within yourself and find own value. This can compel you least to be a savior.

3. Follow your life’s goal

To identify the bigger goal in life can help you to shift your pseudo focus to something which has a real impact on you or others life.

This is to transfer that aspiration to something other than your dating life and follow partners who share your commitment to making a difference in the world. Mack stated, “Find other pursuits, activities or even professional endeavors to fill that need within you,”.

The best way is to volunteer at social needs like assisting a living home or some other social service, working for charity purposes. You may also relook to change your entire career.

4. Visualize yourself in a healthy relationship http://images.match.com/match/s.gif

Paige Parker, author of Dating Without Drama, elucidated that “lasting relationships aren’t comprised of two halves desperately trying to fill each other up, but rather, two complete people choosing to share their happy, satisfied selves with each other and experience life together.”

The similar thoughts have also been shared by Jerry McGuire, that it is not always ideal to think that you are super adorable and can fulfill your partner assuming them to be incomplete.

It is the best policy to visualize a healthy relationship along with your partner. You must figure out how you and your partner will interact, handle conflicts and be by side for each other in healthy ways? This can help you to deal with people with whom you failed to get the positive relationship you were long seeking.

5. Look for professional assistance

Most of the individuals going through this can solve it by themselves but few may need some assistance from others who are specialized to short it for them.

This can engage a therapist to identify the root cause and provide right counseling to follow healthier approach to get the individual romantically involved with another person1,3.


  1. Sarah Estlund; Florence Nightingale Syndrome; Online available at http://www.ehow.com/about_5602058_florence-nightingale-syndrome.html
  2. Florence Nightingale Syndrome; Online available at https://www.papermasters.com/florence-nightingale-syndrome.html
  3. Margot Carmichael Lester; 5 Steps To Avoid White Knight Syndrome; Online available at http://www.match.com/magazine/article/12029/5-Steps-To-Avoid-White-Knight-Syndrome/

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