South Asian Nurses Oral History Project (2023)

We are currently in the process of conducting interviews of South Asian nurses who worked in BC. We have a team of 6 interviewers. More news to come!


The purpose of this UBC Consortium for Nursing History Inquiry project is to explore the histories and experiences of retired South Asian nurses who practiced in BC prior to 2020. For much of the twentieth century, nursing histories written by nurses focused on the stories and experiences of white nursing leaders. When social historian Kathryn McPherson wrote her seminal book Bedside Matters (1996) on Canadian nursing history in the 1990s, she argued that whiteness was central to the definition of nursing professionalism in Canada. This led other scholars to employ the analytical categories of race, gender, and class in new analyses of nursing in Canada. In the 2000s, historians began to focus on the histories of Black and Indigenous nurses in Canada (Flynn, 2011; McCallum, 2014). Despite more recent attempts to tell the stories of Black and Brown nurses, there remains little work done on the history of South Asian nurses in Canada. This study will contribute to this gap in the literature by focusing on the stories of South Asian nurses who lived and worked in British Columbia from the early twentieth century to 2020. A key component of the project is to conduct oral history interviews with retired South Asian nurses who have practiced in BC