Notes on Nursing Analysis

In this essay, I will be discussing whether the two passages from Florence Nightingale’s “Notes on nursing. What it is, and what it is not” are arguments or explanations.

Passage 1

Now the medical man who sees the patient only once a day or even only once or twice a week, cannot possibly tell this without the assistance of the patient himself, or of those who are in constant observation on the patient. The utmost the medical man can tell is whether the patient is weaker or stronger at this visit than he was at the last visit.

I should therefore say that incomparably the most important office of the nurse, after she has taken care of the patient’s air, is to take care to observe the effect of his food, and report it to the medical attendant.

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(1860, Section VII, para.14)


I find the 1st passage to be an argument. According to Chamberlain Week 1 lesson (2019), “an argument is just a set of at least two claims where one is offered in support of the other one.

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” Therefore, Nightingale’s first claim is that “medical man cannot possibly tell how well his patient is due to a lack of regular observations on the patient.”

Nest, Nightingale supports her first claim by using the second claim regarding the aftercare of the patient “incomparably the most important office of the nurse” (Nightingale, 1860).

This is the most important part of nursing, the responsibilities to observe the patient and report any changes to the medical attendant. These two claims support the idea of why medical man needs help from the patient and the nurse, for the sake of the patient’s health.

Passage 2To be “in charge” is certainly not only to carry out the proper measures yourself but to see that everyone else does so too; to see that no one either willfully or ignorantly thwarts or prevents such measures.

It is neither to do everything yourself nor to appoint a number of people to each duty, but to ensure that each does that duty to which he is appointed. This is the meaning which must be attached to the word by (above all) those “in charge” of sick, whether of numbers or of individuals. (1860, Section III, para.25)


The second passage is an explanation. This passage does not persuade or use an argument but explains the issue. According to Jackson (2016), “The reasons in an explanation, on the other hand, do not attempt to prove anything; they explain how or why some accepted claim is true.

Since the speaker assumes that the claim is already accepted as true, there is no issue up for debate.” Thus, Nightingale simply explains the issue and what it means to be “in charge” and how it is important “to ensure that each does that duty to which he is appointed” (Nightingale, 1860).


In conclusion, the goal of this essay was to analyze which passage was an argument and which was an explanation. This assignment helped me apply critical reasoning, and I learned the difference between an argument and an explanation.


  1. Nightingale, F. (1860). Notes on nursing. What it is, and what it is not. Project Gutenberg. Retrieved from
  2. Chamberlain University (2019) Week 1 Lesson: Introduction to Critical Reasoning. Language and Logic and Arguments.
  3. Retrieved from D. Critical Thinking: A User’s Manual. [VitalSource Bookshelf]. Retrieved from

Cite this page

Notes on Nursing Analysis. (2019, Dec 03). Retrieved from

Notes on Nursing Analysis

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