Using photo analysis to examine the history of nursing in political spheres: Canadian and European perspectives

2023 Nursing History Symposium Webinar

The Webinar’s recording has now been archived in the UBC Library Open Collection, and assigned a persistent link, as follows:

Title: Using photo analysis to examine the history of nursing in political spheres : Canadian and European perspectives
Item URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/86672


A panel presentation by representatives of the Canadian and European Associations for the History of Nursing, and hosted by the UBC Consortium for Nursing History Inquiry 

A free online event via Zoom. Once you register (for free) you will receive a zoom link closer to the time to join the webinar.

Date & Time

Tue, November 21, 2023

Considering the time difference with European partners, the panel is presented at 9.00 – 10.30 am in BC (Pacific time in Canada), and 18.00 – 19.30 pm in Europe (mid-European time). Please adjust your participation time accordingly when joining from other time zones.


Panel presenters:

  • Helen Vandenberg, PhD RN (University of Saskatchewan, Canada, CAHN past president and current treasurer)
  • Peter Twohig, PhD (Saint Mary’s University, Canada, current CAHN president)
  • Geertje Boschma PhD RN (University of British Columbia, Canada, CAHN past-president)
  • Maria Eugenia Galiana Sanchez PhD RN (University of Alicante, Spain, current EAHN president)
  • Anna La Torre RN, MA, PhD Candidate (Faculty of Nursing, University of Milan, and current EAHN communications officer)
  • Hugo Schalkwijk, PhD candidate (University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Netherlands, current EAHN vice president)

Panel presenters and members of the respective Canadian and European Associations of the History of Nursing will present and examine a series of photographs representing key events in the history of nursing from various perspectives, time periods and national and international contexts. The panel will show how photographs can provide insight into nursing’s past that may not necessarily be captured by document analysis alone and may invite reflection on the ways in which nursing has interacted with different political influences. Recording of the presentation, previously presented by the respective organizations at the 2023 AAHN conference, will be made available through the Open Collection of the UBC library following the webinar.


Black History Month 2022: Celebrating the Contributions of Black Nurses to Health Care (recording)

Dr. Lydia Wytenbroek (Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing), doctoral student Ismalia De Sousa and BSN students Tamasha Hussein, Kelly Nguyen, Ariel Tzu-Han Chiao, Brandon Moeller and Merielle Moffatt varied out a Black History Month project that included a curated physical display, a virtual “walk through” of the display (recorded), and a 55 page flipbook (see below). We hope that these resources will encourage our audience to take a deep dive into the significant contributions of Black Nurses in Canada and across the world who paved the way to a better healthcare. We encourage self-reflection on how historical events and the professionalization of nursing have contributed to current health and social inequities.

Display: We organized a display in the School of Nursing (in front of the administrative offices). The display was available starting on February 4, and remained on exhibit for a couple of months.

Virtual “Walk Through” of Display: A one-hour virtual “walk-through” of the display was offered on Tuesday, February 15, 2022 from 12 – 1 pm.

RECORDING: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/82869


Flipbook: This flipbook is part of a virtual and curated display, Black History Month 2022 – Celebrating the contributions of Black nurses to healthcare, presented and co-created by nursing students and the Consortium for Nursing History Inquiry in the UBC-V School of Nursing: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/82869

Twitter chat: Dr. Lydia Wytenbroek, Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing, and doctoral students Eunice Bawafaa and Ismalia de Sousa will chat with historians of Black history. Last week of February – date TBA.


Nursing Artifacts & Nursing Uniforms: Preserving Nurses’ Cultural History

On November 23rd, 2021 from 12:00 – 1:30 PST,  the UBC Nursing History Consortium, UBC-V Nursing & BC History of Nursing Society are hosting a free online webinar, “Nursing Artifacts & Nursing Uniforms: Preserving Nurses’ Cultural History.” You can find the program and registration link for the event here: https://nursing.ubc.ca/news-events/events/04-oct-2021/nursing-artifacts-and-nurses-uniforms-preserving-nurses-cultural

Looking forward to seeing you then!


March 25: History of Nursing Lecture: Black Nurses, Enslaved Labour, and the Royal Navy, 1790-1820

Annual History of Nursing Forum Lecture: Black Nurses, Enslaved Labour, and the Royal Navy, 1790-1820

25 March 2021, online

Dr Erin Spinney reveals the history of Black nurses before Florence Nightingale in the annual History of Nursing Forum Lecture. It will take place on 25 March at 6 PM.

Nursing historians usually examine the period after Florence Nightingale and focus on the establishment of a white middle-class professional identity, like Nightingale herself.

But what about non-white nurses before Nightingale? For the annual History of Nursing Forum lecture of the Royal College of Nursing, Dr Erin Spinney discusses the employment of Black nurses in the West Indian naval hospitals of the Royal Navy in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. She considers how eighteenth-century understandings of tropical diseases contributed to Black labour in medical settings, how the Royal Navy navigated its relationship with enslavement, and the working conditions of these nurses.

Erin Spinney is a sessional lecturer at the University of Lethbridge. Her research interests focus on nursing, labour, environmental, and medical history in the long eighteenth-century British Atlantic World. She has published on eighteenth-century naval nursing and environmental history.

Please register to attend and a link will be circulated in advance with instructions on how to join the event. All tickets must be booked individually.

Register Here


AAHN Talking History Webinars 2021

Talking History 2021

A Series of Monthly Webinars on the History of Nursing.

Join us for new, original research in the history of nursing. Nursing CEs will be given.

Free for members –  While free to members, donations to defray the cost of the webinar are welcome.
$25 per session for non-members**

Webinar Sessions

February 20, 2021 11am-12:30pm EST
Midwifery and Race

Moderator: Winifred Connerton

Presenters Topics
Melissa Sherrod Meddlesome Midwifery: Institutional Racism as a Factor in Unnecessary Cesarean Deliveries
Eileen J.B. Thrower “With no Words to Get Me Out”: Elizabeth Sharp and the Development of Nurse-Midwifery in Georgia
Charlotte Swint Margaret Charles Smith Midwife from Eutaw, Greene County, Alabama

March 19, 2021 11am-1pm EST
Nursing Education

Moderator: Dominique Tobbell

Presenters Topics
Carole Bennett Negotiating the landscape of racism History in the making
April Matthias Untangling Typhoid: Comparing Early 20th Century Instruction for Quality, Evidence-Based Nursing Care
Janet Engstrom Physical, Intellectual, and Moral Courage: The Pioneering Work of Mary Bristow Willeford
Hrag David Yacoubian From Witnessing a genocide to establishing American style nursing education  and hospitals: U.S. nurses in the near east 1915-1923


*Note there is a fee for these panels if you are not a AAHN Member.


Upcoming Panel: Black (in)Visibility: Black Nurses in Canada who Paved the Way

The Consortium for Nursing History Inquiry in the School of Nursing is holding a panel discussion for Black History Month called: Black (in)Visibility: Black Nurses in Canada Who Paved the Way. This panel will recognize the significant contributions of Black nurses to health care in British Columbia and Canada. The panel will feature a keynote address by renown historian Dr. Karen Flynn, an Associate Professor in the Departments of Gender and Women’s Studies and African-American Studies Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Flynn’s book Moving Beyond Borders: A History of Black Canadian and Caribbean Women in the Diaspora won the Lavinia L. Dock Award from the American Association for the History of Nursing. The panel will also feature Dr. Lydia Wytenbroek, an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at UBC, who will discuss the importance of historical scholarship as a form of inquiry; Ismalia De Sousa, a doctoral student at UBC School of Nursing, who will be presenting initial findings of her project on the history of Black nurses and midwives in BC, and which offers a new perspective on Black women’s nursing work in the BC health care context; and Dr. Dzifa Dordunoo, President of the Coalition of African, Caribbean and Black Nurses in British Columbia and an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of Victoria, who will provide a concluding commentary. This panel is free and open to the public.

Register Here: https://nursing.ubc.ca/events/2021/black-nurses-who-paved-way


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


Call for Papers! Joint CAHN-ACHN & CSHM Conference 2019

Call for Papers

Joint Conference: Canadian Society for the History of Medicine (CSHM) and Canadian Association for the History of Nursing (CAHN)

June 1-3, 2019

University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC

 The 2019 joint meeting of the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine and the Canadian Association for the History of Nursing will take place June 1-3, 2019 at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, unceded  xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) territory. In conjunction with the 2019 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, the Programme Committee calls for papers that address the theme of this year’s Congress: “Circles of Conversation.”

Scholars are invited to present research on the broadly-defined histories of medicine, healing, health, and disease that explores conversations, debates, and dialogues on these themes at the local, provincial, national, and global levels. The programme committee also welcomes papers that critically and creatively explore the relationships between historians of health and medicine and the communities they influence and are influenced by, with a particular interest in relationships between historians and Indigenous communities. Proposals on topics unrelated to the Congress theme are also welcome. Please submit an abstract of less than 350 words and one-page CV for consideration by November 30, 2018 by e-mail to Dr. Whitney Wood at whitney.wood@ucalgary.ca. The Programme Committee encourages proposals for organised panels of three (3) related papers; in this case, please submit a panel proposal of less than 350 words in addition to an abstract and one-page CV from each presenter. The Committee will notify applicants of its decision by January 30, 2019. Those who accept an invitation to present at the meeting agree to provide French and English versions of the accepted abstract for inclusion in the bilingual Programme Book.

Questions can be addressed to the Programme Committee Co-Chairs:

Dr. Margaret Scaia, University of Victoria (mrscaia@uvic.ca)

Dr. Whitney Wood, University of Calgary (whitney.wood@ucalgary.ca)

Please visit the official Website for Congress 2019 for more information

(including for accommodation options)


Appel de communications

Colloque conjoint de la Société canadienne d’histoire de la médecine (SCHM) et de l’Association canadienne pour l’histoire du nursing (ACHN)

Du 1erau 3 juin 2019

Université de la Colombie-Britannique


Le colloque conjoint 2019 de la Société canadienne d’histoire de la médecine et de l’Association canadienne pour l’histoire du nursing aura lieu du 1er au 3 juin 2019 à l’Université de la Colombie-Britannique, à Vancouver, en territoire xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) non cédé. Conjointement au Congrès 2019 des sciences humaines, le Comité du programme lance un appel de communications portant sur le thème du congrès de cette année, à savoir « Cercles de conversation ».


Les chercheurs sont invités à présenter des recherches sur l’histoire de la médecine, de la guérison, de la santé et de la maladie au sens large qui explorent les conversations, les débats et les dialogues sur ces thèmes à l’échelle locale, provinciale, nationale et mondiale. Le Comité du programme accueille également les communications qui explorent de façon critique et créative les relations entre les historiens de la santé et de la médecine et les communautés qu’ils influencent et qui les influencent, en prêtant un intérêt particulier aux relations entre les historiens et les communautés autochtones. Les propositions sur des sujets autres que le thème du Congrès sont également bienvenues. Veuillez soumettre un résumé de moins de 350 mots et un CV d’une page pour examen d’ici le 30 novembre 2018 par courriel à Whitney Wood, whitney.wood@ucalgary.ca. Le Comité du programme encourage également les propositions d’organisation de panels composés de trois (3) communications. Dans ce cas, veuillez soumettre une proposition de panel de moins de 350 mots, accompagnée d’un résumé et d’un CV d’une page pour chaque présentateur. Le Comité informera les candidats de sa décision d’ici le 30 janvier 2019. Ceux qui seront invités à donner une présentation s’engagent à fournir une version en anglais et en français de leur résumé accepté, qui figurera au document de programme bilingue.


Les questions peuvent être adressées aux coprésidentes du Comité du programme :

Margaret Scaia, Université de Victoria (mrscaia@uvic.ca)

Whitney Wood, Université de Calgary (whitney.wood@ucalgary.ca)