Florence Nightingale

Study Questions

Many people visiting this site will be studying the life of Florence Nightingale. I would like to put some questions into your thoughts as you study Miss Nightingale -- questions that come up again and again with her life.

1. What was her "illness" or "nervous disorder" as it is called. Why did she change so after her Crimean War experiences? Was it neurosis? or the after-effects of typhus? or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? You be the judge.

2. Why is she no longer considered an important woman of history today? Is it because what she did seemed at the time to be important but with hindsight seems to be not so important? Or is it that she has become "old fashioned?" Or have she and the nursing profession become passé and taken for granted, even disrespected, today by the male dominated doctors' associations?

3. Did she really communicate with God and receive God's help in her work? If not how did she accomplish all that she did with very little help and ill health?

4. And lastly why is she remembered as a nurse and not a statistician, reformer, military nurse corps leader, mathmatician, or scientist?

Advanced Study Questions

1. How important was the English language in the work of Florence Nightingale and the history of nursing? Did her familiarity with the dialects spoken by the working people of Derbyshire and Hampshire enable her to communicate with the British enlisted soldier in a way no one else could do?

2. How important was fashion to the success and failure of Miss Nightingales work? Is it even possible to do nursing work dressed in upper-class English women's fashion of the Victorian Era?

3. Why is FN's pioneer work on "homelessness" ignored? What happened to the "district nursing" movement? Is not her concept of providing health care to the homeless and poor as a preventative measure to homelessness relevant today?

4. Today's military family is struggling for a better life style. It was FN in the 1850s who first advocated for the soldier's wife and children with schools, housing, diet, exercise, education, and recreation. What happened in between times?

5. What exactly were the various "health systems" Florence Nightingale developed and helped develop?

6. Of what importance to FN's work was her family's money? Would it have been possible for her to "work for a living" and do her work?