"That's the Florence Nightingale effect. It happens in hospitals when nurses fall in love with their patients."
—Doc explaining to Marty why his mother fell in love with him in 1955.

The Florence Nightingale effect, named for a famous trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, describes when a doctor or nurse becomes infatuated with their patient in a hospital.


Lorraine described how she fell in love with George, who looked like "a little lost puppy", while taking care of him after her father hit him with his car. In Timeline 2, Marty was hit instead and took the place of George in Lorraine's bedroom, and therefore, she fell in love with Marty for the same reason.

Behind the scenes[]

The term, in the definition of a nurse showing affection towards a patient, was first coined as Florence Nightingale Syndrome in 1982. In reality, Florence Nightingale never fell in love with one of her patients, and never married, out of fear that it might hinder her nursing. The American Medical Research Institute describes the Florence Nightingale effect, or Florence Nightengale syndrome, as a kindhearted and empathetic relationship, not a romantic one.[1]


See also[]