Three key aspects of Florence Nightingale's remarkable life are examined. First, the influences during her formative years: the education and guidance provided by her father, the resistance by her family when she decided to become a nurse; and the rejection by Nightingale of the societal expectations of a woman in the Victorian era. Secondly, her professional life is examined, in particular how she appears to have been viewed by certain members of society, and how in turn she viewed them. It is anticipated that her position as an early feminist will be postulated and illuminated. Thirdly, an analysis of her personal and professional life indicates a way forward for the nursing profession.