The man who inspired Sherlock Holmes also deduced the value of well-trained nurses

New research from QNIS shows Joseph Bell’s role as an advocate for the profession
Joseph Bell. Picture: Alamy

New research from Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland shows Joseph Bell’s role as an advocate for the profession

  • Dr Bell believed trained hospital nurses would cut patient mortality by at least 50%
  • He corresponded with Florence Nightingale, to whom he dedicated his book Notes on Surgery for Nurses
  • As vice-president of the early QNIS, he helped establish training for district nurses in Scotland

Surgeon Joseph Bell is known as the inspiration for the fictional character Sherlock Holmes. But his greatest achievement was the contribution he made to modern nursing.

New research for the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS) shows his enthusiastic and practical support for nurses spanned more than 40 years.

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh during Dr Bell’s era. Picture: Alamy

Dr Bell came from a family of doctors and qualified


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