UBC School of Nursing Display: Nursing Education in the Public Health Era 1925-1941

Please visit the new nursing history display at the UBC School of Nursing to learn more about public health nursing education from 1925-1941.

Display created by Nan Martin and Geertje Boschma

The display includes many unique and interesting artifacts and photographs from and about this era, especially related to UBC’s public health nursing diploma and degree programs, public health nursing uniforms, and influential nurses such as Mabel Grey and Monica Green.

*Display created in partnership with the Consortium for Nursing History Inquiry at UBC School of Nursing and the BC History of Nursing Society


UBC School of Nursing Display: “Almost a 100!” The Origin of Nursing Education at UBC

Established in 1919, the UBC School of Nursing has almost 100 years of experience educating nursing leaders and innovating research. We have an international reputation for research and scholarship, guided by a vision of excellence in nursing education, research and practice.

Display prepared by Nan Martin and Geertje Boschma, Summer 2018

The UBC School of Nursing is home to the first degree program in nursing in the Commonwealth and was one of the first academic programs established at UBC after the university’s inception in 1915.



Display Honours Ethel Warbinek & Nursing Students

The current nursing history display at the UBC School of Nursing: “Nursing History and Students” honours Ethel Warbinek, Assistant Professor Emerita, and the long history of nursing students.

Display by Nan Martin, BC History of Nursing Society. Photo credit: Nan Martin

Ethel Warbinek is an accomplished educator and avid keeper of nursing history, earning several awards of distinction over the course of her prolific career and volunteer work. Click here to visit her entry in the BC History of Nursing Society’s “Pages of History” project to learn more about her contributions and recognitions.

The display will be up until May at the UBC School of Nursing (across from the main office). Come by to celebrate nursing students and a prominent educator and historian!


Welcome Visiting Scholar: Dr. Kate Prebble

The Consortium welcomes Dr. Kate Prebble as our newest visiting scholar, arriving in June, 2015.

Dr. Prebble joins us from the University of Auckland, where she is a Nurse Historian and Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing. She writes: “I have had a long career in mental health nursing as a clinician, academic, and professional leader. My primary research interest is in the social history of mental health nursing. My recent historical projects include topics such as the role of District Inspector in New Zealand, mental health nursing in the Waikato, and post-WWII immigration of psychiatric nurses. I have completed oral history collections in nursing and forensic history.”

While visiting, Dr. Prebble will provide a guest lecture on her work in the history of forensic psychiatric nursing in New Zealand in the context of deinstitutionalization. The lecture is co-sponsored by The Critical Research in Health and Healthcare Inequities Unit at the UBC School of Nursing. You can view the Event Poster Here.

For more of Dr. Prebble’s recent research, see her article in the Journal of Law and Medicine (December 2014), entitled: New Zealand’s mental health district inspector in historical context: ‘The impartial scrutiny of a citizen of standing.’

For more information, please email us at nursinghistory@nursing.ubc.ca


Health History Lecture Review


This lecture was delivered by Dr Lesley McBain, PhD for the March 2015 Health HIstory Lecture, Consortium for Nursing History Inquiry, Nursing at UBC.

Summary: Following World War II, provincial governments began extending healthcare to residents living in northern remote communities in Canada as a way to “modernize” the vast region and to pave the way for increased resource extraction. Small outpost nursing stations were established as part of a public health program across the north where public health nurses, often working alone and facing a number of challenges, delivered health care services to the primarily Aboriginal population. Lesley McBain introduced four perspectives as a way to understand and place in context the nurses’ experiences and interaction with northern communities. These included: the geographical notions of place and region; nursing notions of distal nursing – a framework offered by Ruth Malone – that explains the way nursing practice and interaction with users of service is dependent upon relational proximity that might get interrupted or be constrained by larger spatial-structural influences, such as – in this case – the federal – provincial division of health care delivery; the notion of modernization; and lastly, perspectives of colonization and internal colonization, which in this case referred to the way the North was viewed as a colony of the south from an intraprovincial point of view. These influences on nurses’ work and interaction with the local communities meant that the nurses’ roles and their perceptions of the communities where they worked were often ambiguous and contradictory, resulting in a mixed experience for nurses and patients alike. Drawing from the nurses’ personal correspondence and interviews, Lesley McBain gave insightful examples of nurses’ interactions and experiences, illustrating the perspectives about the places where nurses worked and the people they provided services to during a time of significant change.

For further details please refer to the recording of the talk, which has been made available by UBC IK Barber Learning Centre’s Community Outreach Program – Accessible Here.

Dr. Lesley McBain is Associate Professor Department of Indigenous Languages, Arts, and Cultures (DILAC), First Nations University of Canada. She received her doctorate degree in Geography from the University of Saskatchewan and has a Masters and Bachelors degree in Geography from the University of Saskatchewan.She is the Consortium’s 2015 Visiting Associate Professor.

If you want to read more about Lesley McBain’s research on the history of nursing in northern communities, see: McBain (2012) “Pulling Up Their Sleeves and Getting on with It: Providing Health Care in a Northern Remote Region,” Canadian Bulletin of Medical History, 29 (2), 309-328. This article is available on line through open access at: http://www.cbmh.ca/index.php/cbmh/article/view/1513

The UBC School of Nursing Consortium for Nursing History Inquiry Lecture Series is collaboration with the UBC Library and IK Barber Centre.

Lesley McBain


Lyle Creelman DVD Now Available

In May 2009, on the occasion of its 90th Anniversary, the School of Nursing produced a DVD celebrating the life and career of nursing leader Lyle Creelman. Spanning the 1930s to the 1970s, this unique DVD showcases interviews with Creelman, photographs of her long career with the World Health Organization, and passages of her writing.

The DVD is now available through UBC Library: We invite you to view it here.


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)

Welcome Visiting Associate Professor: Dr. Lesley McBain

The Consortium welcomes Dr. Lesley McBain as our newest visiting associate professor. She is joining us in February and March of 2015.

Dr. McBain has a PhD in Geography from the University of Saskatchewan and is currently an Associate Professor in Indigenous Studies at the First Nations University of Canada. Her research focuses on health care delivery in rural and remote regions of Saskatchewan, in both the historical and contemporary contexts. Dr. McBain is involved in a number of on-going research projects, one of which examines the delivery of dementia care services in First Nation reserve communities and non First Nation communities to determine if there are areas of collaboration between the different jurisdictions.

While visiting, Dr. McBain will guest lecture on “Place and Nursing in Remote Northern Communities: A Historical Perspective” and work with graduate students interested in historical approaches to nursing research and using place in historical and contemporary analyses.

For more information, please email us at nursinghistory@nursing.ubc.ca




Reminder – Nursing History Symposium

The second annual Nursing History Symposium is coming up quickly. We will be meeting on Thursday, November 20th at 10:00 in the School of Nursing. To whet your appetite, we invite you to check out this Q & A with Symposium speakers Linda Quiney and Mona Gleason.

It is not too late to register for the event. Simply follow this link.

See you Thursday!