Nursing History Symposium 2020

Nursing History Symposium delayed until further notice

Due to COVID-19 and the UBC and School of Nursing’s public health safety measures in response, the Nursing History Symposium has been delayed until further notice. We will provide updates as new information becomes available. Detailed information on COVID-19 and UBC’s response can be found at:



Nursing Artifacts and Nurses’ Uniforms: Preserving Nurses’ Cultural History

A Symposium in Honor of the BC History of Nursing Society’s 30th Anniversary

Date: 30 Apr 2020

Presented by: Keynote Speaker: Christina Bates, former curator of the Canadian Museum of History and author of A Cultural History of the Nurse’s Uniform

Room: Cecil Green Park House, 6251 Green Park Road, UBC Vancouver

Time: 9:30am – 2pm

Please register by Monday, April 27, 2020: Regular $10 Student and Retirees $5 (If you require assistance in registering, please contact 604.822.7747)

RSVP and Registration

Schedule of Events

09:30: Registration & Refreshments

10:00: Welcome and Opening Remarks by

  • Kathy Murphy, President, BC History of Nursing Society
  • Geertje Boschma, Professor, UBC School of Nursing

10:00: Keynote Address by Christina (Tina) Bates, former curator of the Canadian Museum of History, Ottawa

          “Nursing History Embodied: Collecting and Researching a Uniform Collection”

  • Tina Bates will present the Canadian History Collection of 1,800 artifacts, with a focus on its 52 uniforms from nursing schools across Canada. She will demonstrate material culture methods that can tease out meaning from artifacts. Based on her book, A Cultural History of the Nurse’s Uniform, she will examine the role of the uniform in creating nursing identity over one hundred years. The uniform was an active participant in the changing culture of nursing work and thought.
  • Following the presentation, there will be time for discussion with the audience.

11:00: Refreshments

11:30: Fashion Show of Nurses’ Uniforms

  • Facilitated by the members of the BC History of Nursing Society, and introduced by Lynne Esson

01:00: Lunch

Closing Remarks by Kathy Murphy and Geertje Boschma

Throughout the program: Displays of published works and artifacts on nursing history

Nursing History Symposium 2019 Webcast

The 2019 Nursing History Symposium on Thursday March 14 was an inspiring and invigorating day. Thank you to all our speakers and guests. We are excited to share the keynote address and panel session here!

Nursing History Symposium 2019 at a Glance

View Full Program and Abstracts

Dr. Susan Duncan, Keynote Speaker Nursing History Symposium 2019




Watch the Keynote Address
by Dr. Susan Duncan






Dr. Joan Anderson, Panel Member – Nursing History Symposium 2019



Watch the Panel Session






Enjoy Some Photos From the Event!


Question Period – Nursing History Symposium, 2019

UBC Press Display at Nursing History Symposium, 2019

UBC SoN Director Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc and Guest – Nursing History Symposium 2019

BC History of Nursing Society Members and Nursing Graduate Student – Nursing History Symposium 2019

Audience – Nursing History Symposium 2019

BC History of Nursing Society Display, Nursing History Symposium 2019

Nursing History Symposium 2019

Keynote: Dr. Susan Duncan, Professor & Director, School of Nursing, University of Victoria

100 Years of University Nursing Education: Looking Back and Looking Forward – Why Then? Why not Now?

Time: Registration & Refreshments at 9:30  Program from 10:00 to 2:00

Place: Cecil Green Park House at 6251 Green Park Road, UBC Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1

Registration: Regular: $10.00  Students & Retirees: $5.00  Remote Webcast No Charge

View the Short Program Here

View the Program and Abstracts Here

To Attend in Person or Remotely Register Here

Nursing History Symposium 2018 Review

By Katherine Miller, Nursing Librarian, UBC Library

On March 8th, 2018, the “In Search of Nursing’s History” symposium was co-hosted by Woodward Library, the School of Nursing’s Consortium of Nursing History, and BC’s History of Nursing Society at Woodward Library.

The morning began with Dr. Geertje Boschma, professor in UBC School of Nursing and Katherine Miller, Nursing Librarian greeting the 36 guests gathered to learn more about how UBC Library and Archives are supporting UBC and community researchers on the history of nursing.

Aleteia Greenwood opened the presentations with a brief history of the library, amalgamation of branches through the years and unique collections. She also highlighted the contributions of Lee Ann Bryant, former Nursing Librarian. This was followed by a panel presentation and conversation with:

  • Amber Saundry, Digital Repository Librarian gave a presentation written in collaboration with Larissa Ringham, UBC Digital Projects Librarian, “Preserving Nursing and Health History in a Time of Digitization and Open Collections”
  • Krisztina Laszlo, Archivist UBC Library Rare Books and Special Collections shared about “Archival Records and Nursing History”,
  • Claire Williams, MAS/MLIS Candidate, “Archiving Networks of Support” – Positive Women’s Network.
  • Erwin Wodarczak, Acting Head UBC Archives “Records and Collections on Nursing History in UBC Archives”
  • Dr. Helen Vandenberg, Assistant Professor, University of Saskatchewan College of Nursing and UBC alumni (presenting virtually).

Watch the video of panel members sharing their thoughts and expertise by clicking HERE

After the panel presentations, guests engaged with the Woodward Library’s spaces and nursing history resources collections and artifacts with a “Walkabout”. In the Charles Woodward Memorial Room, two display cases contain nursing history artifacts from infant feeders to Ethel Johns’ nursing medals. In the display case next to the Memorial Room, the Consortium for Nursing History and UBC School of Nursing displayed a visual history of the School of Nursing from 1900s until 1990s. The McKechnie Room hosted a display of books from Xwi7xwa and Woodward Libraries, a poster by Katherine Miller “Collections and Research Services”, a display of new books published by UBC Press on nursing history, and a booth from the Consortium for Nursing History Inquiry at UBC Vancouver.


Here a group of nursing students view the Infant Feeders Collection at the Charles Woodward Memorial Room. Collection held by UBC Archives. Photo Credit: UBC Library Communications


A participant explores a display by the BC History of Nursing Society in the Sherrington Room at UBC Woodward Library. Photo Credit: UBC Library Communications.


A Symposium Participant views the “Master of Sciences” and “Masters of Spirit” Tapestries in the Charles Woodward Memorial Library Room. Photo Credit: UBC Library Communications.

Thank you to the organizing committee from UBC Library: Aleteia Greenwood, Robert Janke,  Krisztina Laszlo, Jing Liu, Katherine Miller, Larissa Ringham, Amber Saundry, Erwin Wodarczak; and from the campus and community: Dr. Geertje Boschma, professor in UBC School of Nursing; Catherine Haney, PhD candidate School of Nursing; BC History of Nursing Members: Nan Martin and Kathy Murphy.

Thank you to UBC Library colleagues for your contributions and support: Carolyn Carvajal, David Cumming, Katherine Hill, Anne Miele, Zofia Szuberla and the Information Desk team at Woodward Library; Kim Lawson and Eleanore Wellwood, Xwi7xwa Library; Chelsea Shriver, Rare Books and Special Collections; Michelle Blackwell and her Communications Team.

A special thank you to UBC-IT for their support of the symposium, using technology to include Dr. Vanderberg, and special guest history of nursing author, Glennis Zilm, and for recording the symposium.

We invite you to come see the special exhibits, which will be on display until the end of April 2018.

The recording of the Nursing Symposium is available in cIRcle:

See more photos here!

Nursing History Symposium 2018

Register for the 2018 Nursing History Symposium


(Click Images to Enlarge)

Click Here for More Details and Registration

Presented by: UBC librarians, archivists, the UBC Consortium for Nursing History Inquiry, and the BC History of Nursing Society

Time: 10 am – 2 pm

Venue: Memorial Room, UBC Woodward Library, 2198 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver, BC [MAP]; Disability Access


Twitter: @ubcnursing #nursinghistory


REGISTRATION (lunch included)

General ticket: $15

Reduced ticket (students & retirees): $10


UBC Centennial Nursing History Symposium

Learning Across Borders: Nursing Education, Practice, and Transnational Migration in the Long-20th Century

Dr. Kathryn McPherson, Associate Professor in Gender, Feminist, and Women’s History at York University and author of the seminal text, Bedside Matters: The Transformation of Canadian Nursing, 1900-1990 gave the keynote lecture. In her lecture, “Learning Across Borders: Nursing Education, Practice, and Transnational Migration in the Long 20th Century,” McPherson spoke to the way recent international scholarship in nursing history has helped us think more critically about the divisions within nursing education – how questions of nursing education have been caught up in larger political and cultural debates about skill, gender, nationalism, and religion.

Keynote Speaker Dr. Kathryn McPherson

Following the keynote, expert scholars in nursing education, Dr. Veronica Strong-Boag, Dr. Sally Thorne, and Assistant Professor Emerita Ethel Warbinek gave a response as a lead-in to discussion with the audience about the future, promise, and persistent challenges of nursing education and academic nursing programs.

Watch the Webcast

This webcast was sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. The event “Almost a 100: University Nursing Education for the Future” was hosted by the UBC School of Nursing Consortium for Nursing History Inquiry as part of the UBC Centennial celebration.

Health History Seminar Webcasts

Please follow the links below to view talks from this year’s Health History Seminar Series. Both Webcasts have been made available by the Irving K Barber Learning Centre.

Dr. Sally Mennill: 
Reducing Risk: Caesarean Section at Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital, 1950-1970  (Presented January 29, 2015)


Dr. Lesley McBain: 
Place and Nursing in Remote Northern Communities: A Historical Perspective (Presented March 11, 2015)

Nursing History Symposium 2014: Webcasts and Comments From Panel Members

On November 20, 2014, Dr. Mona Gleason and Dr. Linda Quiney presented their work at the annual Nursing History Symposium followed by comments from a panel of scholars in related areas. We have collected additional comments from these panel members to share here. Please enjoy their reflections.

In the morning, Mona Gleason (Professor, Educational and Child Studies) explored how health professionals have contributed to conceptions of “the healthy child” in early twentieth century Canada. View Dr. Gleason’s presentation here.

Dr. Judith Lynam (Professor, School of Nursing) and Dr. Gladys McPherson (Assistant Professor, School of Nursing) responded to this work.

In the afternoon, Linda Quiney (Independent Scholar) shared her investigation of Canadian women as Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurses during and after World War One. View Dr. Quiney’s presentation here.

Glennis Zilm (Honorary Professor, School of Nursing) and Dr. Susan Duncan (Associate Professor, Thompson Rivers University School of Nursing) responded to this work.

Dr. Gleason and Dr. Boschma

Dr. Gleason and Dr. Boschma

Dr. Vertinsky, Dr. Gleason and Dr. Lesley McBain

Dr. Patricia Vertinsky, Dr. Mona Gleason and Dr. Lesley McBain