Nursing History Symposium 2022


November 8, 2022 at 9:30 am PT
at the Cecil Green Park House, UBC-V Campus

Public Health and Pandemic Caring in Context

($10 admission – lunch will be served) and online via Zoom (free)*

with Dr. Esyllt Jones, University of Manitoba

Pandemic Caring: public health nursing and community in the history of infectious disease

The 1918-19 influenza pandemic demonstrated the power of nursing in a disease crisis. At the time, and later in the eyes of historians, nursing interventions were valued because they alleviated suffering and meant an increased chance of survival when there few medical treatment options. Much of this nursing care was delivered outside of formal hospital settings, in locales that blurred the boundaries between institution, community, and home. In local neighbourhoods, public health nursing and private nursing organizations had for decades served those with virtually no access to health care, in places where infectious disease was a constant risk and a leading cause of mortality and disability. This form of nursing – in homes, at mission houses, for private agencies such as the VON – played a role historically that we barely recognize today, when the face of pandemic nursing is that of critical care.

Historical resonances nonetheless abound. Public health leaders are now calling for a return to community and neighbourhood-level engagement and health care investment, partly in response to pandemic inequality and vaccine access. This paper will draw from historical analyses of community-level nursing in the past, and suggest ways in which nursing might engage with those success and failures.

Dr. Esyllt W. Jones is a professor of history at the University of Manitoba. Her research interests include history of health, public health and pandemic history. She is the author of Influenza 1918: Disease, Death and Struggle in Winnipeg, and co-editor of the recently published Medicare’s Histories: Origins, Omissions and Opportunities in Canada (2022).


9.30    Registration and refreshments
10.00  Opening Remarks –

Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, Professor and Director

Dr. Geertje Boschma, Professor
Reflecting on the Legacy of Helen Shore

10.20    Keynote with Dr. Esyllt Jones | discussion
11.15    Break

11.45    Panel discussion with:
Dr. Susan Duncan, Professor, School of Nursing, University of Victoria
Dr. Sonya Grypma, Adjunct Professor, School of Nursing, UBC-V

Dr. Alison Phinney, Professor, School of Nursing, UBC-V
Dr. Mariko Sakamoto, Alzheimer Society of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow,

School of Social Work, UBC
12.45    Closing remarks

12.50    Lunch


The recording of the 2022 Nursing History Symposium is now available with its permanent link in the UBC Open Collection of the UBC Library:

Public Health and Pandemic Caring in Context Item URI: