Follow TV Tropes

Following

Florence Nightingale Effect

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hquinn_escape.png
The end result of Dr. Harleen Quinzel's... infatuation with her patient.

"That's the Florence Nightingale Effect. It happens in hospitals when nurses fall in love with their patients. Go to it, kid!"
Doc Brown, Back to the Future

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. And the addition of loopiness from pain meds doesn't hurt.

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 members, 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:

  1. 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...
  2. The love interest gets injured, and the tough character treats them and suddenly reveals a tender side.

The After-Action Patch-Up often has touches of this, but since it's only one scene does not often have the full-blown effect.

Named for the famous nurse Florence Nightingale, although she herself never fell victim to this and if anything, would have been shocked by such an abuse of patient rights. Psychologists just couldn't think of a better doctor or nurse, thus proving once and for all that tropers aren't the only ones who choose Trope Namers that aren't examples of the trope.

See Unequal Pairing if a professional has a relationship with their patient.

See also The Woobie, which is what the patient may be to the audience and to the nurse. Also compare Weakness Turns Her On. If the character giving the first aid is not actually good at it, it's Nurse with Good Intentions. Possibly contrast Lima Syndrome (though it might overlap if the captor tends to the captive's wounds).


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • The web manga The Apothecary Will Make This Battered Elf Happy is built around this trope. A doctor buys a dying elf girl from a slave merchant, in hopes of healing her and helping her return to her home. While he does succeed in saving her life (though two of her limbs prove to be unsalvageable and have to be replaced with prosthetics), in the end, she decides to stay with him rather than return to her home, and the two get married.
  • 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 falling in love and married soon after.
  • 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 also how Kazue and Mick become a couple late in the series' run, as the former, in the process of caring for and helping the latter to recover, develops romantic feelings as a result.
  • In Cowboy Bebop, Spike and Julia fell in love when she nursed him back to health after he was critically injured and collapsed outside her apartment.
  • A cruelly 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.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, despite the majority of their Relationship Upgrade happening 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 overexerts himself during training.
  • 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.
  • In Haou Airen, an Ordinary Highschool Student named Kurumi Akino finds a handsome guy seriously injured on 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 by making her his concubine.
  • Subverted in His and Her Circumstances. Tsubasa's dad married a cute nurse, BUT she actually took care of Tsubasa in the hospital, not him. Tsubasa is displeased.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Knight Hunters: In Weiß Kreuz Glühen, an amnesiac Youji's ultimate fate is to marry his nurse and take her last name.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2016), Anika actually manages to get through Link's actual recovery without developing any feelings towards him other than antipathy and frustration, and even screams at him to leave the moment she sees that he's well enough to walk (and holding a weapon). Then Link patiently comforts her through the resultant breakdown and tells her how she's inspired him to become a Hope Bringer, and that's when the Crush Blush begins...
  • 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.
  • Naruto:
    • 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 No. 6, Shion and Nezumi meet when Nezumi breaks into Shion's house with a gunshot wound when they're both 12 years old. Shion patches up his wound and gives him food and shelter despite Nezumi being a wanted criminal. Shion immediately develops a crush on Nezumi that eventually becomes love when they meet again.
  • A very messed-up variation in Overlord (2012). Part of Princess Renner's plan to take back the capital from Jaldabaoth involves sending Climb to rescue civilians, knowing that he will likely be injured and die, which gives her the chance to use resurrection magic on Climb. But with the penalties that resurrection magic provides, someone will need to take care of him when he comes back, and who better than the girl who tragically sent him out on that suicide mission in the first place? Fortunately, Climb makes it through the mission alive.
  • 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 variation occurs in Red River (1995). 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 thinks that a girl such as her is the sort of woman Prince Kail should be romantically involved with.
  • 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.
  • Happened in the backstory of The Seven Deadly Sins between King and Diane. The young giantess found the amnesiac fairy boy collapsed near a river. She then took care of him until he got his memory back and they fell in love.
  • Subverted in Shamanic Princess with Tiara tending to Graham's wounds. He goes in for the kiss, but is ultimately denied.
  • Sword Art Online:
    • In the Alicization arc, this ends up happening to Alice Synthesis Thirty when Kirito is put in a catatonic state after defeating the Administrator and suffering severe brain damage due to Glowgen Defense Systems' assault on the Ocean Turtle. Spending six months taking care of a completely invalid patient led to her developing intense feelings for him. It is so strong that when Kirito's in-game wife/real-life girlfriend Asuna enters the Underworld simulation, she has an immediate hostile reaction to Alice when the subject of him comes up. It should be noted that although Kirito has lots of female admirers, Alice is the only one Asuna had such a strong reaction to.
    • In the same arc, a boy named Takashi dives into the Underworld along with the other Japanese VRMMORPG players to help fight, and encounters an Underworldian girl named Frenica, who is acting as a healer for the Human Guardian Army. She heals him, and he is instantly infatuated with her, and the two express a mutual desire to see each other again after the war.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • 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 into Wonder Woman.
  • Harley Quinn's infatuation with the Joker started when 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.
  • This happened to Batman and Wonder Woman in JLA (1997), when after some time-traveling caused him to get sick and she took care of him.
  • 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.
  • The Revenge of the Green Goblin miniseries had Norman Osborn fall in love with his nurse, Kolina Frederickson, who reminded him of his late wife.
  • Robin (1993): Tim Drake's father and his physical therapist start dating not that long after he wakes from his coma and learns his wife is dead, and the two eventually marry with her becoming Tim's stepmother.
  • 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.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): Steve Trevor fell in love with Wonder Woman when she saved his life and was instrumental in nursing him back to health and returning him to the US.
  • X-Men: 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. Or Annie's mutant son was psychically "encouraging" them to hook up.

    Fan Works 
  • This is the crux of Obi-Wan and Cody's romance in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars fanfic By the Sea. Obi-Wan finds Cody injured, and as he nurses Cody back to health, neither one can help but notice just how attractive the other one is. What gives this extra dimensions are Obi-Wan's internalized homophobia and insistence that Cody could not possibly enjoy his company, let alone return his feelings, Cody learning to trust Obi-Wan and eventually latching onto this human who so defies all of his people's preconceptions of humans, and the cultural dissonance between the two inadvertently pushing them along.
  • In the Hetalia: Axis Powers 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...
  • It happens in Fix Fic where someone heals Boromir and falls in love with him. For Proprietys Sake brings Boromir to the Houses of Healing in Minas Tirith, where he finds Lindy, one of his healers.
  • In A.A. Pessimal's Discworld themed Gap Year Adventures, three graduates of the Assassins' Guild School meet while trekking across Howondaland. There were only supposed to be two but they reluctantly pick up a third, who was badly hurt while traveling alone. The two girls realise they have to nurse him back to some sort of health while in a remote mission hospital in the middle of the jungle. Unresolved Sexual Tension happens and the gooseberry grins, leaves them to it, and wonders how long it will take the penny to drop for her friend who is nursing the casualty. Check out more here.
  • 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.
  • Happens in a Warhammer 40,000 Fanfic titled The Lure of Chaos. Especially notable, since it happens between an Inquisitor and a chaos worshipper
  • In Making a Moment (a Gravity Falls fanfic) Dipper tries to invoke this trope with Mabel, but it ends up getting deconstructed pretty hard. Quite simply, being sick is not attractive.
    Yeah, no. He had no idea why he thought being sick would put him on the fast track to romance-ville. It was nice that Mabel was taking care of him but the interaction was pretty one-sided, and even if it wasn't he felt more disgusting than alluring. Even if he could open his eyes to stare longingly into hers, he doubted the crust in the corners of them, the sweat on his face, or the vomit on his breath really got her engines going.
  • In the fanfic Maybe Sprout Wings, Castiel rescues a traumatized and physically broken Dean not from literal Hell but rather from slavery. The two fall in love as Castiel nurses him back to health with the intention of granting him freedom.
  • In A New Reflection Charlus Potter states that he fell in love with Dorea when she patched him up during the war against Grindelwald.
  • Having a patient/doctor relationship in this version, Jesse's attraction to Emily in Ordinary Girl comes across in this.
  • 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.
  • Recognized by Keys (Jacob) in The Piano Man: Act II as the reason why Twilight feels attracted to him.
  • 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.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog Prison Island Break it is very obvious that this has happened with serial rapist Shadow the Hedgehog, who is obsessed with Doctor Amy, and she is fond of him in return. It's rather creepy, especially when he threatens to rape her, and then begs her to leave because she's not safe from him, and then begs her not to leave. He's highly protective of her, in a rather rapey way.
    • Sonic and Amy as well, with them having graphic sex while he's handcuffed to an infirmary bed. Ironically unlike Shadow, Sonic is taking advantage of Amy's vulnerable emotional state by showing sympathy, albeit not maliciously.
  • 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.
  • Karin and Neji's relationship started off this way in Son of the Sannin. She offered to help heal him after he's badly injured by her teammate in a match and he bought her lunch as thanks a couple days later. Within two months they were dating.
  • A Student Out of Time: Nagito is treated by Kanata Inori for his lymphoma and it leads to the duo falling in love to the point where they want to get married after they both graduate Hope's Peak.
  • In Suzumiya Haruhi No Index, after Touma Kamijou defeats Teitoku Kakine in a fight and knocks him into a river, Kuyo Suo pulls him out and nurses him back to health. They start dating.
  • Unbreakable Red Silken Thread: Mentioned word-by-word by Emma, referring to Kitty's tendency for falling for helpless, needful boys when she gets an instant liking for Cameron.

    Films — Animation 
  • Implied in Encanto, and confirmed by Word of God. Mirabel has an accident-prone father and a mother with healing powers; apparently they fell in love due to the many times that he had to go to her for help.

    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.
  • 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.
  • Back to the Future sees Doc Brown pointing out 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, and Marty must Set Right What Once Went Wrong, or else he'll be erased from existence. 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 Marty returns to 1985, George and Lorraine are shown to be Happily Married since their relationship has a much more solid foundation.
  • In Bedtime Story (1964), Freddy pretends to be psychosomatically disabled in order to con Janet out of $25,000. Freddy thinks Janet is in love with him, but Lawrence says her feelings for him are nothing more than pity. Although they do get married in the end.
    Janet: A person like Freddy just naturally attracts kindness, and gentleness, and affection.
  • Body of Lies had Leonardo DiCaprio's character dating a Jordanian nurse.
  • Brotherhood of the Wolf. Jean-François developed an incestuous obsession towards his sister Marianne after she nursed him back to health. It doesn't end well for her.
  • Sidney Bliss in Carry On Loving tries to invoke this trope by claiming that his unrequited love for Esme Crowfoot led him to try to drown in the canal. He tries to convince her even further by drenching himself in water from a fire bucket, but she still doesn't fall for it (she even asks him the name of the canal he threw himself into). Regardless, she lets him into her flat anyway.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Doctor in Distress (1963), Tommy and Sir Lancelot both fall for Iris after she helps them with their physiotherapy.
  • A tragic version in Dying Young where a nurse falls for a man with leukemia whom she's supposed to be treating.
  • 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.
  • Faust: Love of the Damned: Jade falls in love with John after acting as his psychiatrist for a brief period. Overlaps with Rescue Romance, since he also saved her from the bad guys before they fall into each other's arms.
  • 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.
  • In Holiday on the Buses, Blakey falls for Joan, the Red Cross Nurse at Pontins, after she treats his broken big toe.
  • Marion Ravenwood treating Indiana Jones' injuries on the ship in Raiders of the Lost Ark. They start to get flirty, then Indiana falls asleep.
  • Implied between the couple Doris and Harry in Jönssonligan får guldfeber. While Doris never has to treat him on-screen, she works as a nurse and does say that she knows all about "broken bones and explosion injuries" while looking lovingly at Harry, who just happens to be an injury-prone explosives expert.
  • Just Like Heaven: Played for Laughs during the opening montage establishing Elizabeth's hectic work day at the hopsital. An elderly patient proposes to her every time she checks on him, and every time she graciously accepts to humor him.
    Elizabeth: (on the phone to her sister) I'll have you know, I've already had two marriage proposals today.
    Mr. Clarke: Marry me!
    Elizabeth: Yes, Mr. Clarke. Yes, of course. (to her sister) Make that three!
  • 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.
  • The Notebook's Allie meets Lon (technically her Second Love) while nursing him back to health after he's injured in World War 2.
  • 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.
  • In The Revengers, Benedict and Elizabeth develop feelings for each other during the months she spends nursing him back to health following a near-fatal gunshot wound. She is not happy when he leaves her to continue his mission of vengeance. When he abandons his quest for vengeance at the end of the film, it is implied he is riding back to her.
  • 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.
  • Skyscraper: Sarah was a Navy doctor who treated FBI Agent Will for his injuries after the hostage situation went bad. Ten years later, they're married with kids.
  • 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.
  • 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 broke his arm 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.
  • Tucker & Dale vs. Evil: After she hits her head while swimming, Dale takes Allison back to his and Tucker's cabin so she can recover. Fortunately, she's not badly hurt and feels fine when she wakes up, but he insists she stay for a little while so they can make sure she doesn't have a concussion. Their romance blooms as he serves her breakfast, plays board games with her, and encourages her to follow her dreams.
  • Ian from Twice Round the Daffodils almost instantly falls for Nurse Catty, who is more focused on trying to get him better than anything romantic.
  • 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.

    Literature 
  • 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.
  • 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 Castle Hangnail, it's mentioned in passing towards the end that one of the Evil Sorceress's henchmen, after being taken to hospital to treat his injuries, fell in love with his nurse and became a completely reformed character.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 lose 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.
  • The Earth's Children series by Jean M Auel provides two examples in The Valley of Horses. Both brothers, Thonolan and Jondalar, endure catastrophic injuries from animal attacks (Thonolan from a woolly rhino, Jondalar from a cave lion) and end up married to the women who nurse them back to health. It's combined with Rescue Romance in Jondalar's case, as Ayla prevents the lion that attacked him from finishing him off (she had raised the lion from a cub) and carries him to safety with only her horse to assist her.
  • In Book III of The Faerie Queene, the lovely Belphoebe heals Squire Timias' arrow wound, only for the squire to develop a new wound from Cupid's arrow. He keeps his love to himself, though, knowing Belphoebe's celibacy and his own low station would make it impossible for them to be together.
  • This happened in A Farewell to Arms (and this aspect of the story was based on Hemingway's own life).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cited in Gone with the Wind, where Scarlett notices that even the plainest girls have no trouble getting engaged due to this trope.
  • Invoked by Chase in The Half-Life of Planets. When he's in the hospital to get his knee scoped, he plays up his weakness and anxiety over the future so the student nurse Patti will be attracted to him. It works well enough for them to briefly date before messily breaking up.
  • 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.
  • Kerowyn and Eldan in Heralds of Valdemar's By the Sword by Mercedes Lackey more or less begin their romance by patching one another up, and Kero hangs a lampshade in the process.
  • In The Heroes of Olympus book “The Blood of Olympus”, Nico di Angelo shows signs of attraction to the head medic Will Solace after Will heals him in battle and assigns him three days of infirmary stay. In a later book, it is revealed that Will and Nico are officially dating.
  • 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 The Homestuck Epilogues, Terezi treating John's wounds and bandaging his chest quickly turns erotic, and they end up having sex, moving their relationship from ambiguous to definitely romantic territory.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gender flipped in The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah), between Gaëton and Isabelle. He patches her up after getting shot, and they get it on. Finally.
  • On the Spectrum: Clara's dad was a surgeon who treated her mom and then fell in love with her. It caused a scandal because her mom was eighteen and his patient, and he lost his medical license. After their marriage fell apart when Clara was a toddler, her dad moved to Europe to start a new life as an academic, and she barely saw him after that.
  • In the Miss Marple novel A 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.
  • Professor Moriarty Series: After being captured and tortured by rival gangsters, Moriarty's henchman Bert Spear falls in love with Bridget, the prostitute who his captors have tend to his wounds between torture sessions.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, but it's also 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Tender Is the Night: When she was institutionalized at Dohmler's clinc, Nicole falls in love with Dick while she is his patient. Dick reciprocates and the two eventually marry. However, it gets deconstructed as Nicole's mental health issues, the reason she ended up institutionalized in the first place, strains both their marriage and Dick, who struggles to care for her despite being her psychiatrist.
  • Underground Zig Zags the relationship as Andrew and Robyn's dynamic is unconventional. Technically Robyn is not Andrew's patient, yet he is treating her off the books and he does see her as his patient. Andrew even fights with himself over his feelings being wrong, yet they do fall in love.
  • Under Suspicion:
    • I've Got You Under My Skin:
      • Laurie's backstory features an uncommon male example; Greg was the surgeon who treated Laurie after she was hit by a car. They quickly fell in love and got engaged three months later.
      • It's implied that Alison came to genuinely love her husband (whom she initially married for his money) while helping him recover from his accident and supporting him with his disability.
    • In the backstory of All Dressed in White, Amanda and Jeff had been dating on and off for a year when Amanda was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma at the age of twenty-six. He proposed to her the next day and devoted himself to caring for her throughout her treatment, with her family even nicknaming him "Saint Jeffrey". They began wedding planning in earnest once Amanda was declared cancer-free. It ends up being deconstructed, as Amanda was noted by a few people close to her as having "changed" after recovering from her life-threatening illness, becoming tougher, more focused on her own happiness and less certain about the direction her life was taking. Even Jeff eventually admits that once Amanda was less frail and no longer dependent on him for support, he started to question if they were truly right for each other; it's implied Amanda was having similar thoughts, such as confiding in her sister Charlotte that she worried Jeff only proposed because she got sick.
  • In the Warrior Cats book River of Fire, a kittypet named Velvet comes to the ThunderClan camp looking for help after she was burned when her house caught fire. She and the medicine cat Alderheart start to develop feelings for each other, but ultimately both of them accept that it wouldn't work out due to their different lifestyles, and Alderheart's calling as a medicine cat means too much to him to break his vow and take a mate.
  • In Wraith Squadron from the X-Wing Series, 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."

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Babylon 5: Dr. Franklin comes close in "The Long Dark" 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.
  • Andi and Wendell in Bones. She was an oncology nurse when Wendell was battling cancer and they got interested in each other after he was in remission.
  • In the Community episode "Modern Warfare" mocked by Jeff and Britta... then played entirely straight.
  • Deputy: Hollister met Paula, his future wife, when he was in the hospital after being stabbed and she treated him. He'd asked her to dinner afterward, and they ended up married with a daughter.
  • 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.
    • Companion Graham met his wife Grace when he had cancer and she was his chemo nurse. He didn't know how long he had. He outlives her by the end of his first episode.
  • Thomas and Lt. Edward Courtenay in Downton Abbey.
  • A couple of instances of this appear in ER:
    • A young, teenage cancer patient develops a bit of a crush on Dr. Lewis.
    • One case was when Tony fell for his kid patient's mother.
  • Happens all the time in Farscape, e.g. Crichton/Aeryn (either way) or Zhaan to D'Argo.
  • 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 with 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.
  • Arguably Chuck and Eva on Gossip Girl, depending on whether or not you believe he had genuine feelings for her.
  • 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.
      • Interestingly enough, the actor playing Henry also appeared on Scrubs as Sean who was a Patient of the Week that Elliot started dating, though he only asked her out once he was discharged and didn't have any significant health problems.
  • Wilson from House. Cameron is also prone to this with "broken" people, like her ill husband and House himself.
    • The grandmotherly lady whose libido had increased as a symptom of syphilis, causing her to develop a crush on House, certainly counts.
  • 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.
  • 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?"
  • 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 fiancé-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.
  • Jack from Lost met his ex-wife Sarah when he performed surgery on her to restore her shattered spine. He promised she'd dance at her wedding, which they eventually did. Further flashbacks reveal that they eventually realised they didn't actually love each other and ultimately divorced.
  • Lost Love in Times: Qing Chen and Yuan Ling first meet when Qing Chen treats Yuan Ling's injuries. They fall in love and get married shortly after this.
  • The Man in the High Castle: Subverted. In season 3, Helen Smith starts visiting a psychotherapist to process her grief over the death of her son Thomas. She starts to develop feelings for the doctor after being distant from her husband John and even tries to kiss the man, but he puts a stop to it by instantly informing her husband and resigning. This is partly because he's well aware of the phenomenon of transference, and partly because John Smith is a very high-ranking Nazi official who had already threatened his life before, and whose bad side he really doesn't want to be on.
  • The origin of Jamie and Claire's relationship on Outlander: Claire meets him when she fixes his dislocated shoulder, and the ensuing patch-ups and check-ins require extended shirtless scenes and deep conversations.
  • 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.
  • RFDS (2021): The flight doctors and flight nurses are frequently hit on by patients, and sometimes return the favor.
    • Matty meets his boyfriend Ferret on a retrieval: they went for one of his hunting buddies, only for Ferret to get in a fight with their other buddy and both come away with injuries. The two of them start dating later, though they break up in season 2, forcing Matty to temporarily move in with Wayne.
    • In 2x1, Pete, Chaya, and Taylor treat a bull-rider named Cameron for a possible head injury, which he laughs off while blatantly hitting on Taylor. He becomes the "bad boy" in a Betty and Veronica-style Love Triangle with her boyfriend Darren for the rest of the season. Pete eventually calls her out for the breach of medical ethics (Cameron was a client at Chaya's mental health clinic, largely because Taylor works there), but she tells him that's pretty rich coming from a guy who to date has slept with two of his co-workers that we know of.
    • In 2x6, Eliza responds to a call for a veterinarian kicked by a horse, and they get to talking on the flight to Adelaide. She demurs on giving him her number, citing the ethical problems, but it's clear she wouldn't actually mind, so he gives her his business card. Lampshaded by Chaya, who notes to Pete they're both divorced and bonding over it.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine does this plot with Bashir twice: he falls for patients in the second-season episode "Melora" (which doesn't really address the ethical issues) and the seventh-season episode "Chrysalis" (in which the ethical issues are a major driver of the plot, and Bashir backs off from the romantic relationship as soon as he realizes how badly it's affecting his patient — it just takes him most of the episode to do so).
  • Supernatural: Meg and Castiel were attracted to each other before she became his caretaker, but it intensifies when he takes on Sam's hell memories and goes catatonic, and she's hired as the nurse to care for him. When he wakes up, he's a Cloud Cuckoolander who is very attached to her, something that Meg taunts the Winchesters about.
  • Taken: In "Acid Tests", Jesse Keys and Nurse Amelia Henderson fall in love after he is admitted to the Veterans Memorial Hospital in Chicago on April 17, 1970. After knowing each other for about six weeks, he proposes to her and she says yes. In "Maintenance", they have a nine-year-old named Charlie.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Treadstone: Doug McKenna is a Treadstone sleeper asset happily married to an ER nurse called Samantha. As he's a Manchurian Agent Doug has no idea about any of this, until Samantha shoots dead a Treadstone handler who tries to eliminate Doug (because his programming isn't working properly) whereupon Samantha reveals that she was a nurse working for the Treadstone program and even assisted in his brainwashing before she fell in love with him.
  • Trigonometry: Gemma first fell in love as a girl with the surgeon who had saved her life after being severely injured from a car accident.
  • 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.
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: This ends up happening between Julian and his marriage counselor, leading to his marriage falling apart.
  • 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.

    Music 
  • 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

    Radio 
  • Our Miss Brooks:
    • In the episode "Pensacola Popovers", Miss Brooks tries to work the Florence Nightengale Effect to her benefit by buying Mr. Boynton snacks throughout the morning. Including the titular cookies, which made everyone aside from Mr. Boynton sick. Mr. Boynton eventually telephones Miss Brooks, asking for her nursing aid. However, it turns out that Mr. Boynton wants Miss Brooks to nurse his pet frog (who had also eaten a Pensacola Popover).
    • In "Reunion", one of Miss Brooks' friends met her husband while she working in a doctor's office. He had visited the doctor due to a slipped disk.

    Roleplay 
  • 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.
  • Psychologist Pixie Plum developed feelings for her patient Bryce Miller on NoPixel, and they were "friends with benefits" for a time.

    Tabletop Games 

    Theatre 
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • The protagonist of Double Homework finds Rachel in the locker room with a twisted ankle. He gives her a massage and also has the option of going down on her, rekindling their romance.
  • Dragon Quest V: Should the Hero choose not to marry Nera, she will marry Crispin, who she nursed back to health when he got hurt while exploring Mount Magmageddon.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Crescius Caerellius and Aphia Velothi of Raven Rock fell in love when Aphia was assigned to care for Crescius during a severe bout of depression.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Fire 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. In the end, she gets a Relationship Upgrade and becomes his wife.
  • 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.
  • Invoked in the Gerudo 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 (and the Voe are banned from Gerudo town to make the Gerudo go out and explore Hyrule).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Your first patient, Rue, is one of the eight Love Interests in Potion Permit.
  • 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.

    Visual Novels 
  • 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.
  • The early interactions with Esperia in Aselia the Eternal - The Spirit of Eternity Sword 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 Melody, the title character cancels one of her lessons because she is sick. Since Arnold is at work and Amy is on vacation, the protagonist stops by her house to look after her, making her some food and singing her some songs. When Melody falls asleep, he has the choice of wrapping her up in a blanket on the couch or carrying her to bed before he leaves.

    Webcomics 
  • In Darwin Carmichael Is Going to Hell, Darwin and Ginny Meet Cute at the park when Ginny's pet unicorn gouges Darwin in the ass. Ginny happens to be a nurse, so she treats his wound, leading to the flowering of their relationship.
  • Freefall: For a doctor, entering a relationship with a patient is ethically thorny. For a veterinarian, it's normally completely out of the question. However, when uplifted wolf Florence Ambrose finds herself in the care of veterinarian Winston Thurmad, it doesn't take long for the sparks to fly.
  • In The Guide to a Healthy Relationship, this is how Daniel, a nurse, came to meet Julian, then a patient in a psychiatric hospital. By now they live together, and Daniel helps Julian deal with their mental illness...or not. And distributes their medicaments, be it the needed anti-hallucinogenics or addictive sleeping pills. And has Julian keep the house tidy and clean to ridiculous degrees. And sneaks up on Julian to scare them. And controls when Julian uses the bathroom. Or eats. And possibly beats them. The list goes on. It's an incredibly toxic relationship, and by now, Julian is so isolated and dependent on Daniel that there's no chance for them to break out by their own strength.
  • 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.
  • In How to be a Werewolf it is revealed that several years ago Nurse Marisa Salcedo noticed a patient in the oncology ward she was working that never received any visitors. She started talking to law student Marin Grundy, reading to her (the brain tumor was affecting her eyesight), generally keeping her company, and falling for her to the point where she called favors she did not ever imagine she would use rather than watch her die. The night of Marin's graduation, she made it clear the feeling was mutual.
  • In Lackadaisy, this is how Bobby and Elsa met during WWI.
  • A darker variation comes from this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip. The doctor is just claiming this to avoid being sued for malpractice.

    Web Original 
  • 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.
  • Presidential Candidate John McCain, in Something Awful's "The McCain Ascendency by Robert Ludlum".
  • Zero Punctuation: Yatzee poked fun at this trope in his Wolfenstein: The New Order review where he points out that Anya fell in love with Blazkowicz during his "arse-whipping sessions" since she probably had to care for him in his catatonic state for 14 years.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • 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.
    • The Legend of Korra has a belated version revealed in Turf Wars where Korra admits she fell in love with Asami, who took care of her when she was physically and emotionally broken at the end of Book 3.
  • 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.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: At the end of Tootie's first appearance, she tries to invoke this. Unfortunately, she tries to feed Timmy the food that made him sick in the first place.
  • Harley Quinn (2019): Inevitably for a show based around Harley Quinn, this comes up quite a bit.
    • As standard for the character, Harley first met the Joker when he was assigned as her patient in Arkham Asylum. He told her sob stories to buy her sympathy and make her think only she could help and love him, which let him take advantage of Harley's own wish of being needed by someone.
    • It happens again to an amnesiac Joker who falls in love with the nurse Bethany who found him in the rubble of Joker tower. Their relationship is such picture-perfect suburbia happiness that it disgusts people reading his mind. When Joker regains his memories, he breaks it off at first but realizes how happy he was together with Bethany and goes back to ask her to take him back.
    • Retroactively and double-sided example between Harley and Ivy. In this version, Ivy was Dr. Harleen's patient when she still worked at Arkham Asylum and she was the one who helped Ivy work through her misanthropy. Years later, Ivy takes care of Harley after she's an emotional mess after breaking up with Joker. When they have a temporary falling out, Harley even rashly accuses Ivy of preferring her when Harley needed to rely on her. Eventually, the two realize they love each other more than platonically.
  • Hazbin Hotel: This is how Charlie and Vaggie became a couple. It’s revealed that Charlie met Vaggie for the first time, shortly after the latter was mutilated and banished from Heaven by her fellow Exorcists for sparing a demon child during the annual extermination (which was happened 3 years before the events of the pilot), leaving her to die in Hell as a Fallen Angel. Charlie, seeing the awful state of Vaggie, and mistakenly assuming that she’s a Sinner, wasted no time to patch her up, causing both of them to fall in love with each other.
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • 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. For this reason, therapists are forbidden to have relationships with their patients even years (in some places, up to a decade) after the patient stops being their patient.
  • 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.
  • There is one religious institution on US federal grounds: a convent by a civil war hospital. The union was having trouble with nurses who would marry sick/dying patients in order to inherit their money. Eventually to stop the lawsuits from family members (among other things) nuns were brought in as nurses to keep the fraud and Florence Nightingale effect from continuing.


Alternative Title(s): The Florence Nightingale Effect

Top