Monks and nuns dedicated to the cause of human suffering worked as doctors and nurses. They were skilled in the use of home remedies. They got scientific knowledge in the care of the sick from the books in the monasteries. They did the groundwork for the development of universities.
In the later middle ages, many social problems presented themselves with the disintegration of the protective units like monasteries, guilds and feudalism and resulting in redistribution of population.
Late in the 12th and 13th centuries nursing become differentiated from medicine and surgery. Medicine went into a period of advancement while nursing declined. At such time may noteworthy men and women came out to serve the sick.
During the medieval period plague and pestilence were thought to be due to supernatural rather than natural causes. Religious expeditions like the crusades led to founding of secular as well as military hospitals.
Quarantine was instituted to check spreading of epidemics like plague. Social problems were solved to a great extent. The needs of abandoned children were met in hospital, leading to the founding of creches. People had an indifferent attitude towards sanitation and hygiene.
The Dark Ages was marked by superstition, mysticism, persecution of free thinkers and religious wares. Use of talisman and incantations for healing the sick become quite common.