Nurses During WWI

What caused WWI? What was Canada’s involvement? What was the involvement of the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC)? What role did nurses play? What opportunities did women have at that time? These questions will be addressed in this first lesson through historical timelines, archival and print footage.

Teacher Notes include: (all can be found in the presentation)

  • Background to WWI
  • Canadian Involvement
  • Canadian Army Medical Corps
  • Canadian Nurses

Students start with a brainstorming activity: What do you know about WWI and nurses? See student guide for the handout. Students to answer the questions in pairs or small groups. Teacher then asks groups to share their answers with the whole class and introduces the lesson (briefly) on understanding how the enormous amount of casualties and deaths in WWI led to the critical involvement of the Canadian Medical Corps nurses and how this impacted the role of women at the time.

Questions to consider in the brainstorm:

  • What do you know about WWI?
  • Would you have signed up to fight or as a nurse?
  • What do you know about nursing?
  • Do you know any nurses?
  • What have your experiences with nurses been?
  • What do you think was the job of a nurse during WWI?

After the class discussion on their brainstorm, the teacher shows the presentation which explains why WWI started, the involvement of Canadians, the massive amount of deaths and casualties leading to the critical role of the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) and nurses. The Power Point also contains video footage and archival photographs. See hyperlinks in the presentation.

Teacher can also guide students into questioning how nurses began to change the perceptions of women in society due to their contributions in WWI, while going through the presentation. While the teacher goes through the presentation slides, students are answering questions on the handout. (See student guide). At the end of the handout there is a reflective question for students to complete. Both the questions and reflection can be collected for marking purposes. Rubric included (see student guide).

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