A special issue on the history of nursing education

Quality Advancement in Nursing Education/Avancées en formation infirmière [QANE-AFI]

Congratulations to the journal of the Canadian Association for Schools of Nursing for a special issue on the history of nursing education:

The History of Nursing Education | L’histoire de la formation en sciences infirmières

With guest-editors:

Dr. Sioban Nelson, University of Toronto and Dr. Pauline Paul, University of Alberta

Nelson, Sioban and Paul, Pauline (2020) “The History of Nursing Education | L’histoire de la formation en sciences infirmières,” Quality Advancement in Nursing Education – Avancées en formation infirmière: Vol. 6: Iss. 2, Article 1.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.17483/2368-6669.1267

Visit the journal’s website for a full view of the special issue! [https://qane-afi.casn.ca/journal/vol6/iss2/1/]

Nursing History Collection at UBC Rare Books and Special Collections

Celebrating Nurses and Health Care Professionals at RBSC


Saskatchewan million dollar campaign, June 17, 1922. SPAM461C.


Happy Nurses Week! Among the variety of fascinating, thought-provoking, and celebratory commentaries about nurses this week, here’s the link to one from UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections Librarian, Krisztina Laszlo

Celebrating Nurses and Health Care Professionals at RBSC


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: https://www.ubc.ca/



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

Special Event! Commemorating Nursing: 100 years of Academic Nursing at UBC 1919 – 2019

Notice of Special Program Event at the 2019 CSHM-CAHN Conference!

Commemorating 100-years of Academic Nursing at the University of British Columbia, 1919-2019

Group photograph of Donelda Ellis and third year UBC Nursing students at Grace Hospital
c/o UBC Archives Photograph Collection (10.14288/1.0163551)

When: June 3, 2019

Where: UBC Campus

What: 1. Pre-lunch panel, 2. Celebratory luncheon with student awards, 3. Post-lunch joint roundtable with the Canadian Historical Association

Pre-Lunch Panel Session

In 1919 UBC established Canada’s first university degree program in nursing, a virtually unheard of step, especially in the Commonwealth at large. Perhaps the new university in BC, only established in 1915, “as the last provincial university founded in Canada,” might have been flexible and open to new (public health) endeavours in ways that its well established counterparts in the core of Empire were not. Hence UBC made history with opening its doors to nursing as its first women’s education program, a choice not favoured by the BC Clubwomen for example, who rather would have preferred a program in home economics, — perceptibly a more fashionable and uplifting avenue towards academic education deemed appropriate for women. Nursing’s first director, Ethel Johns, had a seminal role in the introduction of a degree program in nursing. Her participation in influential nursing projects and research abroad brought international prestige and critical expertise to the program.

How did nursing education fare in a male-dominated university, with cultural codes of gender and class imposed upon a program that seemed to be more “pragmatically conceived than philosophically inspired?” And what is the meaning of commemorating nursing in the larger public debate over commemoration, statues and naming? A pre-lunch panel explores the wider British Columbian and Canadian context of the fledgling academic nursing program and the evolution of academic nursing. Following lunch, a joint roundtable with Canadian Historical Association will reflect on the meaning of commemoration, with a focus on the recollection of nurses in public memory.

Nursing Education at UBC starting in 1919: Forging an Academic Degree for Nurses Geertje Boschma (University of British Columbia)

Career Aspirations of B.C. Women Interested in Post-Secondary Education in the 1960s and 1970s                                                                                                                 Margaret Scaia (University of Victoria)

Panel Chair(e): Alison Phinney (University of British Columbia


Post-Lunch Interdisciplinary Session

This roundtable centers on the commemoration of nurses in public memory across a number of contexts. By critically examining representations of nurses as icons, trailblazers, war heroes, and symbols of virtue, discussants will unpack the power and meaning of the commemoration of nursing, and, more broadly, women’s caring work. In the context of current public debates on the nature – and political correctness – of historical plaques, monuments, and statues, and the broader symbolism of assigning place names, this roundtable explores the multiple uses of commemoration in and of nursing and health-related caring work. Brief presentations by five historians of medicine and nursing will be followed by discussion with the audience.

Pictures, Plaques, and Statues: The Real and False Utilities of Commemoration                Jill Campbell-Miller (Carleton University)

Florence Nightingale: Defining Iconography and Monumental Challenges                    Sioban Nelson (University of Toronto)

Imagining and Remembering Wartime Nursing                                                            Sarah Glassford (Provincial Archives of New Brunswick)

After the Armistice: Documenting War, Commemorating Peace in Canadian Nurses’ War Memories                                                                                                                   Andrea McKenzie (York University)

Health Care Workers, Policy Makers, and Historical Memory                                            Peter Twohig (St. Mary’s University)

Chair(e): Whitney Wood (University of Calgary)


For information on the joint CSHM – CAHN conference at Congress, visit

Canadian Association for the History of Nursing: https://cahn-achn.ca/

Canadian Society for the History of Medicine, annual conference: https://cshm-schm.ca/

View the Program Here!

For general information on Congress, visit


Register for Congress Here

UBC School of Nursing Centenary Display: II

Members of the BC History of Nursing Society and the Consortium for Nursing History Inquiry have created the second instalment of a new display in the School of Nursing in celebration of the School’s Centenary.

This display features artifacts and archival documents that highlight the School’s history from the 1970s to the 1990s. Please visit it at the School of Nursing on the third floor of UBC Hospital from May until September 2019.