"That's the Florence Nightingale Effect. It happens in hospitals when nurses fall in love with their patients. Go to it, kid!"Maybe it's that they're so cute when they're helpless. Maybe it's that we really want to feel loved and protected when we're vulnerable. First aid is intimate. You have to lean in to pat a cut eyebrow with dettol-soaked cotton wool gently. Narrowly escaping a life-threatening situation gives the scene extra zing. Whatever the case, patients can and do fall in love with those who give them medical care, and vice versa. When the caregiver is a professional, such as a nurse or doctor, it would be considered extremely unprofessional for a doctor or nurse to act on those feelings. Doctors are advised against getting infatuated with their patients or to clearly rebuff the patients' advances, and having sex (or any sort of overt romantic liaison for that matter) with a current patient or any of their family member is considered a punishable breach of medical ethics (there is a line in the Hippocratic Oath specifically forbidding that) to prevent the doctor from abusing his or her position of authority to coerce sex from patients. But in fiction, this will usually be portrayed as sweet and romantic. When the care is given by an amateur, there is an added element of romance because the medical treatment is entirely voluntary. This isn't their job, it's a genuine expression of caring for the well-being of another person. Typically, the "civilian" version comes in two flavors:
— Doc Brown, Back to the Future
- Previously aloof tough character gets injured, lets the love interest treat their injuries, and reveals a newfound trust and intimacy. This might or might not involve the tough person making that hissing sound when the love interest touches their injured face, but not quite pulling away...
- The love interest gets injured, and the tough character treats them and suddenly reveals a tender side.
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Anime & Manga
- InuYasha includes a darker take on the trope: Kikyou nursed the bandit Onigumo after he was burned and severely injured to the point that he could no longer move. Onigumo developed a serious case of If I Can't Have You... lust for her which led him to trade himself to a pack of demons in order to obtain a demon-hybrid body capable of movement, becoming Naraku in the process.
- There was kind of a plot point in Kimikiss Pure Rouge about this, there was tons of Unresolved Sexual Tension before that, but when the male lead got sick things started progressing a bit more.
- City Hunter: This was one of the central themes of a story arc where Ryo had to prevent a nurse's assassination. He broke his left leg so he was admitted to the hospital, and during his stay, Yoshimi Iwai -the nurse in question- fell for Ryo as she took care of him.
- This is how Spike and Julia fell in love on Cowboy Bebop.
- In the second episode of Afro Samurai the titular character is nursed back to health by a girl who finds him after he's injured at the end of the first episode, the entire episode has Ninja Ninja telling him to hit that and he does. Subverted in that it turns out that she's his childhood friend, is working for the bad guys (not that you can blame her)... at first and gets killed by them at the end. At least he gets a Pocket Protector out of the ordeal.
- In Weiß Kreuz Gluhen, an amnesiac Youji's ultimate fate is to marry his nurse and take her last name.
- In Rurouni Kenshin, Shougo Muto aka Amakusa rescued a Japanese boy from some bullies who hated him for being a Christian. The boy joined their Christian community and took up the name Shouzo... and pledged himself completely to Shougo's sister Sayo Magdaria, who nursed him back to health.
- Subverted in Shamanic Princess with Tiara tending to Graham's wounds. He goes in for the kiss, but is ultimately denied.
- Implied with Yahiko and Konan, albeit in a flashback, with Konan tending to Yahiko's injuries while Nagato waits outside, and it is indicated that Konan was in love with Yahiko.
- This is the main reason why Sakura's childish infatuation with Sasuke turned into something more genuine.
- Subverted when Sakura (politely) turns down a love confession from one of her patients (because she still loves Sasuke) during the Fourth Ninja World War.
- In Dragon Ball Z, despite the majority of their Relationship Upgrade happens during a Time Skip, this is implied to be the reasoning behind Vegeta and Bulma's eventual hookup. She nurses him back to health after he over exerts himself during training.
- In Haou Airen, an Ordinary Highschool Student named Kurumi Akino finds a handsome guy seriously injured in her way home. She tends to his wounds out of kindness... and few afterwards she finds herself kidnapped and shuttled to Hong Kong, since her "patient" Hakuron just happened to be a high-class member of The Triads and the Tongs and now he wants to "repay" her via making her his concubine.
- Ranma ½: Almost every time Ranma's been hurt after a fight, Akane's the one to bandage him up and stay by his side. One of their first romantic moments together was when she tended to his wounds in the ice skating competition arc.
- A cruel exploited trope happens in D.Gray-Man. It is first invoked by a doctor in a local hospital where he encouraged his nurses to romance with the ill patients they are attending. Meanwhile, he secretly poisons the patient through their so-called medicine. When it's too late, the doctor prepares arrangements with the heartbroken nurses to revive the patients. That's where the Akuma spawns are as well as the hospital's fundings came from.
- Subverted in Kare Kano. Tsubasa's dad married a cute nurse, BUT she actually took care of Tsubasa in the hospital, not him. Tsubasa is displeased.
- In The Familiar of Zero, Kirche fell in love with Mr. Colbert while nursing him back to health. He on the other hand, finds her affection embarrassing and disturbing.
- Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: During the second half of Heero's "Episode Zero" manga chapters, an injured Treize meets and is taken care of by Leia Barton, a very pretty nurse who's also Dekim Barton's daughter. Mariemeia from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz is the result of the relationship that develops. Other sources imply that she's just a brainwashed Street Urchin, however.
- A variation occurs in Anatolia Story. Whenever Yuri takes the time to care for the sick or injured (who, more often than not, are also poor enough that nobody bothers to care for them normally), it causes her patients to feel great love in a non-romantic sense for her. In one chapter, when she was looking after plague victims in a town where nobody knew that she was Prince Kail's concubine, it gets to the point where someone things that a girl such as her is the sort of woman Prince Kail should be romantically involved with.
- Downplayed in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: There were already signs that Joseph and Suzie Q were interested in each other: he flirts with her, and she says he's actually kind of handsomenote , and when he leaves to fight the Pillar Men he promises to come back. However, it isn't until after Joseph spends two months with Suzie taking care of the injuries he sustained in the Final Battle that they get married.
- Happened in the backstory of The Seven Deadly Sins between King and Diane. The girl found the amnesiac boy collapsed near a river. She then took care of him until he got his memory back and they fell in love.
- In Attack on Titan, this turns out to be how Eren's parents became a couple. An epidemic had swept through the village, and among the victims of the disease were Carla and her parents. Grisha was the village doctor that cared for them, and saved the village by developing a treatment. The couple ended up following in love, and married soon after.
- In Les Maitres De L Orge, a French-Belgian graphic novel series, one of the main characters is wounded during World War I and ends up impregnating and then marrying his nurse.
- Occurs in the Garth Ennis war comic Battlefields Dear Billy, though Carrie and Billy don't actually date until after he's left the hospital.
- After Havok returns from the Mutant X universe, in nowhere near mint condition, this occurs between him and his nurse.
- It didn't help that he was in a coma while being tended to by his nurse.
- It certainly didn't help that Nurse Annie's mutant son was psychically "encouraging" them to hook up.
- It didn't help that he was in a coma while being tended to by his nurse.
- This happened to Batman and Wonder Woman in JLA, when after some time-traveling caused him to get sick and she took care of him.
- Subverted in Teen Titans when Clock King ordered Copperhead to nurse their injured teammate TNTeena back to health. She falls for him, but Copperhead kills her without a second thought when Clock King decides that she has fulfilled her purpose.
- In Batman, this is how Harley Quinn's infatuation with the Joker started. She was a psychologist intern at Arkham Asylum assigned to him, only for her to become almost as insane as the Joker himself. Subverted with the Joker himself as he's very abusive towards Harley and in most incarnations doesn't actually love her.
- In The Golden Age of Comic Books, Princess Diana first became infatuated with the injured, helpless pilot Steve Trevor as she nursed him back to health after he crash-landed on her home, Paradise Island. This served as the catalyst for her transformation to Wonder Woman.
- This situation happens in chapter six of Rainbow in the Dark.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog Prison Island Break it is very obvious that this has happened with Shadow the Hedgehog, who is obsessed with Amy. It's not very romantic, and in fact is even a little creepy since Shadow is a serial rapist-murderer, and voices his desire to rape her specifically right to her face. She tries to rebuff him, or ignore his advances, but it seems she's quite fond of him too.
- Comes up in the Pony POV Series in Shining Armor's side story. Private Garnet Chambers treats Private Running Gag for a concussion, during which he develops a crush on her; a later chapter shows that she apparently now returns his feelings. By the end of the fic, they're engaged to be married.
- Rainbow Dash tries to deliberately set up this scenario in How Every Shipfic Would Actually Happen, by deliberately breaking her wing with an anvil and begging Twilight to heal it with her love. Twilight is having none of it and just drags her off to the hospital instead.
- Recognized by Keys (Jacob) in The Piano Man: Act II as the reason why Twilight feels attracted to him.
- Happens in Warhammer 40,000 Fan Fic titled The Lure of Chaos. Especially notable, since it happens between an Inquisitor and a chaos worshipper
- This trope happens in fan fiction of The Lord of the Rings, because battles cause wounds, and authors like to write romances.
- It happens in Fix Fic where someone heals Boromir and falls in love with him. For Propriety's Sake brings Boromir to the Houses of Healing in Minas Tirith, where he finds Lindy, one of his healers.
- It happens at the beginning of Revelations. Túrante (the female vampire) is the only one who can save the life of Legolas (the male elf). She does so, by fixing his poisoned wound. The romance comes because of a Psychic Link between Túrante and Legolas; but this "connection" is also why Túrante chose to reveal herself and save his life.
- In the Axis Powers Hetalia Dark Fic Cages, this is what happens between Korea and Taiwan. When Imperial Japan colonizes their lands and brings a wounded Korea into his household, he tasks Taiwan with nursing him back to health. Then they begin to bond over their pasts and current situations...
- In the Person of Interest fanfic series Chaos, Will Ingram's fiance, who he meets while he's away, turns out to be a government agent assigned to protect him. Once they're safely back in the States, she tells him the truth, whereupon he says he doesn't want to see him. Problem is, he's not safe yet, and she's still got feelings for him. She ends up saving his life, as herself, and Finch suggests that to avoid this trope they don't communicate for several months. Several months later, they're still interested. Despite the fact that he initially knows almost nothing about her and she knows almost everything about him, it still works out.
- In general, this is the basis of many a Hurt/Comfort fic.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- In an An American Werewolf in London, David falls in love with Nurse Price when she nurses him after a werewolf attack.
- Back to the Future is where most of us heard about it the first time, with Doc Brown naming the trope: Marty is hit by a car and nursed by the teenage version of his mother Lorraine. This results in her developing a crush on him. In the original version of the timeline, that was how Lorraine fell in love with his father George. Aaaaaawkward.
- The film offers a deconstruction of the concept, since in the original timeline (where this trope was the only reason George and Lorraine got together), their marriage is shown to be rather rocky. Marty's work to repair the timeline includes building George's self-confidence and assertiveness, and he unintentionally encourages Lorraine to be honest with herself instead of repressing everything; as a result, when he returns to 1985, they're shown to be Happily Married since their relationship has a much more solid foundation.
- Body of Lies had Leonardo DiCaprio's character dating a Jordanian nurse.
- Probably the world's only example of "Slap/Slap/Gauze/Gauze/Slap/Slap/Gauze/Gauze/Slap/Slap/Kiss": Jen and Lo of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. They fight, Lo treats Jen for dehydration, Jen knocks him on the head with a rock, Lo treats her for dehydration again, and while he is treating her bloodied feet, she tries to regular assault him before she sexually assaults him (with his cooperation). Bonus points because Jen even makes the hissing noise as he picks a splinter out of her foot, but does not quite pull away.
- Sid James' character in Carry On Loving tries to invoke this trope by claiming that his unrequited love for Joan Sims led him to throw himself off a bridge and try to drown in the river. He tries to convince her even further by drenching himself in water from a fire hydrant, but she still doesn't fall for it (she even asks him the name of the river he threw himself into). Regardless, she lets him into her apartment anyway.
- Deconstructing Harry has the protagonist marrying and divorcing his former psychoanalyst.
- This is how the Mariachi gets introduced to Carolina in Desperado after the Tarasco Bar shootout.
- The English Patient does feature a nurse whose patients sort of have a crush on her, but it's fairly anecdotal. The titular English patient doesn't fall in love with her—his one true love died years earlier.
- The German movie The Princess and the Warrior has the female protagonist, a nurse at a psychiatric hospital, masturbating one of her patients during the night shift. The scene is rather squick-inducing when you discover the patient is her father.
- Marion Ravenwood treating Indiana Jones' injuries on the ship in Raiders of the Lost Ark. They start to get flirty, then Indiana falls asleep.
- Occurs in the The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Janet begins to bandage Rocky's wounds by ripping strips from the slip that she's wearing. Of course, more than just kissing occurs afterward.
- Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese in The Terminator. Reese gets shot in the preceding scene and Sarah notices it after what must have been an hour or so seeing as how they drove until they ran out of gas. Cue Major Injury Underreaction from Reese. Sarah flips out of course and proceeds to bandage up his arm, apparently oblivious to the obvious Male Gaze she's getting. It's a pretty important scene for their relationship, as Sarah finds out Reese's First Name. Bonus points for a hissing sound.
- Tom Jones, which gets extra points because Tom got injured while saving the girl from a mad horse.
- Tristan and Isolde: Isolde treats Tristan's wounds. And also his hypothermia, by getting naked and cuddling him.
- Shows up in the film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. While Harry and Sirius have a talk, Hermione has a look at Ron's injured leg which he milks for good effect in the background.
Hermione: It looks bad.Ron: So painful. Might have to chop it off.Hermione: I'm sure Madam Pomfrey can fix it.Ron: It's too late, it's useless. They'll have to chop it off.
- A tragic version in Dying Young where a nurse falls for a man with leukemia whom she's supposed to be treating.
- Lampshaded furiously in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in the Tale of Sir Galahad.
Galahad: They're doctors?!Zoot: Uh, they've had a basic medical training, yes.
- Out of the five females who work with Mark O'Brien in The Sessions, he falls for three of them.
- In Witness (1985) Detective John Book suffers a serious gunshot wound and is then nursed back to health by a young Amish woman. He falls for her.
- Suicide Squad (2016):
- Doctor Harleen Quinzel fell for the Joker while she was treating him at Arkham. She helped him escape, and he repaid her with electroshock therapy. Once her brain was broken, she cheerfully jumped into a bath of chemicals in order to receive the same transformation he did.
- After Doctor June Moon was possessed by the ancient witch known as the Enchantress, she fell into ARGUS custody. Amanda Waller put Rick Flag in charge of keeping her safe, knowing that the relationship would become romantic. This gave her control of Rick, June, and most importantly, the Enchantress. The Enchantress eventually slipped the leash and became the Big Bad of the movie.
- The Notebook's Allie meets Lon (technically her Second Love) while nursing him back to health after he's injured in World War 2.
- This happened in A Farewell to Arms (and this aspect of the story was based on Hemingway's own life).
- The Reynard Cycle: Health care in Arcasia is provided primarily by the Priestesses of Sphinx, who also happen to be professional barbers and temple prostitutes. Having a sexual relationship with your doctor is not only encouraged, it's pretty much expected.
- Hermeline, one of Reynard's major love interests, is one of these. Naturally, she's a Hooker with a Heart of Gold.
- In Quo Vadis, Lygia helps nurse Vinicius back to health after he is almost killed by Lygia's bodyguard, Ursus, during an attempt to kidnap her. This eventually leads to Vinicius' conversion to Christianity, which makes a relationship with Lygia possible.
- In Wraith Squadron the Wraiths speculate when one of their own, Falynn, verbally defends another behind his back. One says she's sweet on him. Another says she is merely responding to his pain, like to a hurt animal, and she wants to nurse him back to health. They lay down bets. A third says she thinks it's a little from Column A, a little from Column B, and some women see a man who is a mess, feel the urge to repair his problems, and then fall in love with him while they're working on him.
"Emotional distress as an attractant. Say, Tyria, I have a sharp pain in my childhood memories.""What a terrible line. I wish I'd thought of it."
- Lensman ("Galactic Patrol"). When Lensman Kimball Kinnison is severely wounded, his admiral orders that the most attractive nurses in the Patrol attend to him, figuring he'll inevitably fall in love with one, so she might as well be a looker. The doctor criticises this popular belief, pointing out that while patients fall for their nurses, the reverse seldom happens because the nurses aren't seeing the patient at their best. Nevertheless the stunning Clarissa MacDougall attends to the handsome hero, and sure enough, the two proceed to ... annoy the hell out of each other. It's not until considerably later that they start to develop a respect for each other and then fall in love.
- In this case, it later turns out to be a bit more complex, since Kimball and Clarissa's marriage has been planned as part of the Arisian plan to produce humans psychically powerful enough to become Third Stage Lensmen. The number of people—or rather, entities—who had an interest in getting them together is rather high...
- It also goes deeper than the skin. Surgeon-Marshal Lacey isn't picking his nurses on the basis of their looks, but on their skeletal structure—he has a theory that the skeleton tells all, and that a more "perfect" skeleton indicates greater human potential. In a way it's a twist on phrenology, but it's justified in-universe (unknown to him) because of the fact that the Arisian breeding program has created the acme of both physical AND psionic/mental perfection in its penultimates, so of course the best skeletons will "match".
- Kara and Belknap in the Ravenor books. They met when the titular Inquisitor had to bring a medic into an undercover operation to patch Kara up after a rather nasty gunshot wound.
- In Robertson Davies' Fifth Business, the hero Dunstan becomes involved with one of the nurses attending him while he's in an army hospital. Disturbingly, his stated reason for not wanting to marry her is that he doesn't want another mother figure in his life.
- In Living Dead in Dallas, the second of The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries books, Eric pulls bits of glass out of Sookie's arm and bandages her up.
- Kerowyn and Eldan in By the Sword by Mercedes Lackey more or less begin their romance with patching one another up, and Kero hangs a lampshade in the process.
- Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern:
- In Dragonflight, Lessa bandages up the wound F'lar received while dueling in her defense. Despite the fact that she does not like or trust him, she can't help but notice his rippling muscles, etc. Sexual tension ensues.
- Jaxom fell in love with and later married the nurse who treated him after he fell ill in The White Dragon.
- Stanley's father in Holes tells him this how his great-grandfather, Stanley I, met his wife, delusional and thinking she was an angel after he was rescued from the desert he was abandoned in.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, Robb Stark takes a wound in battle and is nursed by a girl named Jeyne Westerling, who he then marries, despite his vows to marry a daughter of house Frey. Doesn't end well for him.
- In The Hunger Games, Katniss spends a lot of time healing Peeta after he's injured. Later, he returns the favor.
- Ultimately subverted in Catching Fire. Katniss takes care of Gale after he's been whipped and appears to be making the choice to be with him... only to have her first thought when she goes to bed be that she wants Peeta to be in bed with her.
- S. Y. Agnon’s short story The Doctor And His Divorcee subverts this: all the patients are very, very fond of the beautiful nurse, but it’s the doctor who marries her.
- P. G. Wodehouse was fond of this trope and played it straight on several occasions. In at least one story, Jeeves take advantage of it to set up a couple.
- In Lord Dunsany's The Charwoman's Shadow, the hero's sister gets a Love Potion and uses it on the duke. The duke falls deathly ill. Terrified, she nurses him back to health, during which he falls in love with her.
- In A Brother's Price, Princess Odelia is injured by thugs and carried to safety and nursed by Jerin Whistler, who she notes is very beautiful. She decides to feign being more hurt than she is—though she is hurt—in the hopes of seeing him some more and maybe getting a chance to steal a kiss. It doesn't work, but hey, First Girl Wins, more or less.
- In the autobiographical Going Solo, Roald Dahl recounts falling in love with a nurse who assisted him through a period of blindness after a plane crash in the North African desert during World War II. His infatuation ended once the bandages came off and he found that she was not quite as beautiful as he had imagined her to be.
- In the Miss Marple novel Pocket Full of Rye, Percival Fortescue met his wife Jennifer when she nursed him through pneumonia. Played with in that Jennifer didn't fall in love with him, but took advantage of his feelings as his father had caused hers to go bankrupt and she believed she could take revenge by marrying him and inheriting his father's money.
- A brief version in Atonement. While working as a nurse, Briony has to tend to a French soldier near death. He's delirious and thinks she's an English girl he met in his childhood. Briony plays along with this. Just before he dies, he asks if she loves him and she says yes. The book and the film make it clear that she did, if only for a few moments.
- The Earth's Children series by Jean M Auel provides two examples in Valley of Horses. Both brothers, Thonolan and Jondalar, endure catastrophic injuries and end up married to the women who nursed them back to health.
- A variation in the Dick Francis novel In The Frame where the protagonist meets a former nurse, who had cared for an older man's terminally ill wife, then after her death had married and cared for him until his death. Her home had been burgled in a manner suspiciously similar to the protagonist's cousin, which sets the mystery going.
- The "patient falls in love with doctor" version is referred to in The Gates of Sleep. Doctor Pike routinely uses a minor spell to break the infatuation before it can go any further.
- Sword at Sunset: Guenhumara nurses her future husband Artos and later his best friend Bedwyr through battle wounds. Artos and Guenhumara don't suffer the effect, but Bedwyr and Guenhumara do.
- Lampshaded/deconstructed in Me Before You; Louisa's sister accuses her of this almost verbatim. Later, Lou realizes that she is in fact in love with Will, but it seems to be a genuine, healthy sort of love borne out of their personal, emotional connection rather than any sort of desire to 'mother' him. Things still don't turn out as hoped, however.
- The Drowned Cities: Toyed with in just about every way with Mahlia and Ocho, who meet when Sayle forces her to patch Ocho up at gunpoint. There's an instant connection, and each one develops some respect for the other—respect that manifests as Ocho wanting to burn her into the unit, and Mahlia deciding to save Ocho when she uses coywolv musk to loose an entire pack on his comrades. This later develops into a strange, Worthy Opponent vibe, and they ultimately ally at the end of the book.
- In Heart of Steel, ER doctor Julia has gotten romantically involved with two of her patients. In the case of Jim, she started dating him after he hounded her for an unknown period of time (she thought it was charming at the time), while in the case of Alistair she started warming up to him after he gets the shit beaten out of him trying to protect her.
- Gender flipped in The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah), between Gaëton and Isabelle. He patches her up after getting shot, and they get it on. Finally.
- Cited in Gone with the Wind, where Scarlett notices that even the plainest girls have no trouble getting engaged due to this trope.
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: This ends up happening between Julian and his marriage counselor, leading to his marriage falling apart.
- House of Harmony: In 1920s Singapore, a Chinese girl who picked up medical skills from her father nurses back to health an American businessman who had been severely wounded by muggers. He falls in love with her, and before long she reciprocates the feeling.
- iCarly: Carly towards Freddie in iSaved Your Life. Notable as he becomes injured by a truck performing the titular saving of her life.
- Also done in an earlier episode with Mrs. Benson (Freddie's mom) and Lewbert.
- Jack from Lost met his ex Sarah when he performed Opsurgery on her to restore her shattered spine. He promised she'd dance at her wedding. She did.
- Arrested Development had a nurse that fell for coma patients. It would turn out that they were faking it, and when they admitted they were conscious and reciprocated her feelings (As per her "Oh, if only you were well and we could be together!" comments) she would immediately get angry and leave them for lying.
- Except the one in physical therapy, who really did take that step out of love.
- In Grey's Anatomy, Izzie falls in love with patient Denny. She nearly got fired, she stole a heart, he died and then she quit. After that they continued their relationship through cancer-hallucinations. It wasn't really a success.
- Alex slowly falls for Jane Doe/Ava as she recovers in the hospital with no face, no memory, and a baby. He eventually does the noble thing and lets her go back to her husband. A few months later, she comes back to the hospital and they have sex.
- Teddy feels sympathy for Henry, a patient who has a chronic illness and marries him because he has no insurance and can't afford treatment. She eventually falls in love with him and agrees to a romantic relationship, but he dies soon after.
- In Ugly Betty, after suffering a heart attack Ignacio falls for his house nurse, Elena, with her returning the feelings. This sparks feelings of resentment and anger from Hilda who views the relationship as inappropriate.
- Mentioned by name in the Royal Pains pilot by the lead, after the young girl he saves falls for him. He says she should wait a few months before acting on it, if she still seems the same way. She never shows up again.
- Spoofed in Friends, where two of the girls fall for a coma patient and argue over him. When he woke up they both try to impress him by their excessive Florence-Nightingale-efforts. Averted in that when the coma patient wakes up, he's ungrateful for what Phoebe and Monica have done and they both pseudo dump him.
- Oz. Ryan O'Reily falls in love with Dr. Gloria Nathan after she saves him from cancer. When she doesn't return his affections, he orders his Psychopathic Manchild brother to kill her husband. Dr. Nathan eventually does fall in love with him, mainly because O'Reily is a Manipulative Bastard and Nathan is emotionally vulnerable after being raped.
- A couple of instances of this appear in ER:
- A young, teenaged cancer patient develops a bit of a crush with Dr. Lewis.
- One case was when Tony fell for his kid patient's mother.
- Wilson from House. Cameron is also prone to this with "broken" people, like her ill ex-husband and House himself.
- Lois & Clark had Lois's amnesia therapist fall for her. In a rather extreme version of this trope, rather than help her recover her memories, he actively sabotages her attempts to regain her memory (and her relationship with fiance-Clark) and instead hypnotizes her to leave with him.
- An earlier episode has Bill Church Sr. (head of the Intergang) marry a young nurse after some heart surgery. She proceeds to put him and his son in jail and takes over the criminal empire.
- Happens all the time in Farscape, e.g. Crichton/Aeryn (either way) or Zhaan to D'Argo.
- In WKRP in Cincinnati, Andy is knocked out by...well, by nothing in particular when a tornado hits Cincinnati. Jennifer runs to give him mouth-to-mouth, which quickly turns into...something else.
- Referenced on Seinfeld when one of Elaine's boyfriends is in the hospital. George mistakenly calls it the "Clara Nightingale Syndrome," confusing Florence Nightingale with Clara Barton.
- Arguably Chuck and Eva on Gossip Girl, depending on whether or not you believe he had genuine feelings for her.
- In Doctor Who, Martha having to perform CPR on the Doctor might have helped develop her crush on him in series 3. Of course, that kiss... er, genetic transfer... didn't hurt, either.
- In the Community episode "Modern Warfare" mocked by Jeff and Britta... then played entirely straight.
- Thomas and Lt. Edward Courtenay in Downton Abbey.
- Discussed in Scrubs...
Elliott: It's totally inappropriate to jump a patient isn't it?Carla: Oh yeah.Elliott: Have you ever done it?Carla: Tons of times.
- In The Time Tunnel, Tony falls in love with Sarit, who is administering medical care to him when recovering from an experience on the rack.
- Babylon 5: Dr. Franklin comes close at one point with a woman who'd just been woken up from cryogenic stasis after being in deep space for a hundred years. They ultimately avert it, and she leaves before anything can happen.
- ANZAC Girls averts this, perhaps unsurprisingly given that it's Based on a True Story of Australian Army nurses serving on the front lines of World War I. While men in whom the nurses are interested (and they definitely exist) occasionally wind up under their care as patients, the nurses do not start relationships with anyone they first meet as a patient.
- In a Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode, Detective Goren notes with mild surprise that both the ex and current wife of a Stephen Hawking Expy are nurses. The man shrugs and simply explains, "How else would I meet women?"
- A Third Watch storyline had a young woman falling for paramedic Carlos after he rescued her. She becomes obsessed with him after their one-night-stand and is heartbroken when he ditches her after she gets pregnant. The last we see of her is her vaguely telling him "you don't have to worry about it, I took care of everything", implying that she had an abortion, but years later, we learn that she DID have the baby (a lawyer serves him with papers after she dies and he places the child for adoption).
- Subverted in "The Nurse Who Loved Me," by Failure and A Perfect Circle. The speaker is a man in a hospital who imagines that he and his nurse share a romance because she brings him drugs. However, it's clear that he only cares about the drug high, and the romance she feels toward him is just an invention of his addled mind. He's lying face-down on the floor throughout the song and occasionally lapses into complete gibberish.
- In the Ed Sheeran music video for "Give Me Love" the girl chosen to be a cupid and therefore forever alone has a Maybe Ever After moment with a paramedic who revives her.
- Red Dahlia by Mili is about a woman who falls in love with her doctor and becomes pregnant with his child.
Hey doctor, take my temperature
Think I've got a fever
Why doctor, you make me feel worse
Your touch raises my pressure
- Used as an important backstory component in Dino Attack RPG. Kate Bishop only exists because her mother had an affair with a young Alan Pierce while recovering from injuries suffered by a hit-and-run driver.
- In The Most Happy Fella, Doc invokes this with the song "Love And Kindness," though the "good-looking nurse" intended for Tony isn't a Hospital Hottie but his wife.
- Once On This Island is a definite example. Ti Moune follows Daniel back to the world of the Grand Homes and nurses him back to health after he gets hit by a car. During the songs "Some Say" and "Pray: Reprise", their relationship grows, and Daniel falls in love with the already smitten Ti Moune.
- The Devil Social Link in Persona 4 explores this through Sayoko, a Hospital Hottie who deals with this from patients all the time. She claims not to take such confessions of love too seriously, commenting on the circumstances as well as how, eventually, they all leave.
- In the Nintendo DS Updated Re-release of Final Fantasy IV, talking to a certain NPC in Baron reveals that the parents of Rosa Farrell were a White Mage and Fighter pair in Baron's military who fell in love on the battlefield.
- Final Fantasy VIII Raine falls in love with Laguna Loire this way; after he is nearly killed on a mission for the army, she spends six months caring for him until he recovers.
- This is a popular matter within the Team Fortress 2 fandom. Although the Medic can heal someone from 1 HP to 150% health in a matter of seconds, he also follows them into battle, and the healing target is compelled to watch out for his Medic.
- In the Dating Sim Mitsumete Knight, one of the possible target girls is Nurse Teddie Adelaide, and you meet her when you're hospitalized after your HP falls to 0.
- In Fire Emblem: Blazing Blade, Jaffar already had some degree of interest in Nino, but it turned into something more when she nursed him back to health after he was seriously injured (and going against the law of the Black Fang, actually, since she should've given him a Shoot the Dog treatment). It was made even stronger when she begged him to spare Zephiel and he made a Last Stand for her.
- In Fire Emblem Fates, Saizo and Sakura's support chain starts with her risking her life to save an injured Saizo and patch him up. Saizo repays her by braving a candy store to buy her some sweets, and in their S support he confesses his growing feelings for her and asks her to marry him.
- In Fire Emblem Gaiden, Tatiana found Zeke after he washed ashore on a nearby beach and nursed him back to health. The Echoes remake has a a Memory Prism that shows how this happened. If both live to the end, they get married and stay together even when Zeke is actually Camus from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, and does briefly leave Tatiana's side during the events of Mystery of the Emblem.
- In Guardian's Crusade, after Knight finds a near-dead Nehani in the forest and nurses her back to the peak of health, she falls in love and becomes his sidekick ala Peter Pan and Tinkerbell. At the end, she gets a Relationship Upgrade and becomes his wife.
- The early interactions with Esperia in Eien no Aselia involve this as Esperia nurses Yuuto back to health and teaches him the local language. She falls in love quickly enough, but since it's a multiple endings kind of thing she's left in the position of secondary heroine to Aselia.
- In Heavy Rain, almost every time Madison Paige meets Ethan Mars, she's either bandaging his wounds or trying to help him find his son while planning to write a story about him. Her desire to help him eventually turns into love. Depending on player decisions like whether or not Ethan will forgive her for trying to get a story out of his ordeal, they can even end up married.
- Subverted in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. Nurse Alita Tiala falls for gangster Wocky Kitaki, but only because she knows that the injury he's in the clinic for—a gunshot wound to the chest—is going to kill him eventually. The doctor is even covering up its inoperable nature to avoid repercussions, instead claiming he operated successfully on the wound. So she's looking to marry him just to get her hands on the family's criminal fortune when Wocky croaks.
- Invoked in the Guerdo Town's "Voe and You" dating class in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild where one Gerudo woman named Risa says that if she had found an injured Voe (male Hylian) on the ground she'd bring him back home secretly and nurse him back to health... to which the instructor Ashai says is basically kidnapping (not to mention the Voe are banned from Gerudo town to make the Gerudo go out and explore Hyrule).
- Gil and Agatha in Girl Genius, one of many instances can be found on on this page.
- The hurt wolf engineer Florence Ambrose and not mad veterinarian Winston Thurmad in Freefall.
- Holly (caregiver) and Wally (patient) in Endtown.
- In Hero Oh Hero, July tries to invoke this on Noah by offering to nurse him back to health. When he turns her down, she offers to watch him sleep instead.
Noah: That's creepy.
- A darker variation comes from this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip. The doctor is just claiming this to avoid being sued for malpractice.
- Presidential Candidate John McCain, in Something Awful's "The McCain Ascendency by Robert Ludlum".
- The podcast The Bugle, in its recurring "Hotties from History" segment, insists that the actual Florence Nightingale was the ultimate example. Her name is occasionally used as a byword for sexiness in general.
- Doubly funny if you realize that Florence Nightingale's diaries are full of her varied romantic adventures with women—and the only direct nursing experience she had was with male patients.
- This is pretty much how Jay Sherman of The Critic met his first wife, who fell for him while he was in a full body cast and unable to speak. Her love faded away as soon as the bandages came off, though.
- On King of the Hill, the only woman Cotton ever really loved was a Japanese nurse who took care of him after the war. Years later he returns to Japan to find her again and discovers that they had a son after he was forced to leave.
- Worth noting that his second wife was also his nurse decades later in the VA hospital.
- A light version of this could be interpreted to happen in Avatar: The Last Airbender: the first thing Aang sees after waking up in the iceberg is Katara’s face as she helps him up and makes sure he’s okay; this scenario is repeated after he is exhausted from entering the Avatar State and after he is nearly killed by Azula’s lightning and Katara uses her vial of spirit water to heal him; Aang dutifully spends the series falling head-over-heels for her.
- In Adventure Time, Finn's biological mother and father met when he was in the hospital for two broken legs and she was his nurse.
- There have been a number of documentaries made about a group of badly disfigured British WW2 veterans who married their nurses. The long time the soldiers spent in recovery let the nurses get to know them and see past the scars. In this case, too, the nurses were explicitly told that crossing the nurse/patient barrier was acceptable under the circumstances, if they wished to—the men had been so horrifically disfigured that it was thought that no other woman would marry them. Pretty much any war up to the 1991 Gulf War (nursing stopped being viewed as a female-dominated field around that time, if not earlier) has had a movie or five built around this trope.
- The patient falling in love with the doctor variation occurs quite often for psychiatrists, due to the fact that a therapist-patient relationship can last years and that the patient is spilling out his soul for most of that relationship.
- Nightingale herself took a very dim view of this, nurses who did it, and hospitals that tolerated it.
- She was herself, however, a popular muse of the age, and the mythology of her life implies her patients fell in love with her (though the reality was probably vastly exaggerated)
- In an attempt to avert this trope, when Clara Barton formed a nursing service during the American Civil War (which eventually became the American Red Cross), she specified that all the women who applied as nurses be "at least 30 and plain-looking."
- Red Pollard, Seabiscuit's most famous jockey, was crushed in a fall while riding another horse and spent months in the hospital trying to re-grow a rib cage. He later married his nurse.
- Stephen Hawking married his personal care assistant. Sadly, it didn't last.