Nightingale and her immediate disciples left nursing with the indelible stamp of their own class biases. Training emphasized character, not skills. The finished product, the Nightingale nurse, was simply the ideal Lady, transplanted from home to the hospital, and absolved of reproductive responsibilities… but, despite the glamorous “lady with the lamp” image, most of nursing work was just low-paid, heavy-duty housework. Before long, most nursing schools were attracting only women from working-class and lower-middle-class homes, whose only other options were factory or clerical work. But the philosophy of nursing education did not change - after all, the educators were still middle and upper-class women. If anything, they toughened their insistence on lady-like character development, and the socialization of nurses became what it has been for most of the twentieth century: the imposition of upper-class cultural values on working-class women. (For example, until recently, most nursing students were taught such upper-class graces as tea-pouring, art appreciation, etc. Practical nurses were still taught to wear girdles, use make-up, and in general mimic the behavior of a “better” class of women.)
—  Witches Midwives & Nurses: A History of Women Healers, by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English