a nurse by profession,

Category: Class | Type: Historical | Title: Persuasion (in Context) | Author: Jane Austen | Ch: Chapter 17

Nurse Rooke is another first in Austen. Curiously, "rook" is "A derogatory term for: a disreputable, greedy, garrulous, or slovenly person." It's as if Austen's settling on that name she seemed to confirm the society's image of nurses as disreputable, only then to show an instance of how wrong the image is. 

As we know from accounts of Florence Nightingale's professionalization of nursing in the Crimea (1852-), nurses, at least when attending men, were regarded as little better than prostitutes, and some may have been prostitutes before undergoing training. The Nightingale legend tends to suggest she invented nursing. It's more accurate to say that she made it possible and reputable for nurses to treat men. 

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