Icons, Trailblazers, and Symbols of Virtue: Nurses in Public Memory
The joint conference of the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine and the Canadian Association for the History of Nursing, held during the Congress 2019 at UBC from June 1 – 3, was host to a special program celebrating the centenary of the UBC School of Nursing. In a pre-lunch seminar session Geertje Boschma (UBC) and Margaret Scaia (UVic) examined the beginning decades of the first nursing degree program in Canada. They highlighted the contextual influences of public health and higher education that shaped the course of the degree program, and explored its meaning for women who took the program in the 1950s and 1970s. Following a festive luncheon, sponsored by the UBC School of Nursing and the Consortium for Nursing History Inquiry, the program concluded with an open, interdisciplinary round table session on the commemoration of nurses in public memory, entitled “Icons, Trail-blazers and Symbols of Virtue.” Five presenters – Jill Campbell-Miller (Carleton University), Sioban Nelson (University of Toronto), Sarah Glassford (Prov. Archives of New Brunswick), Andrea Mcenzie (York University) and Peter Twohig (St. Mary’s University) explored the multiple uses of commemoration in and of nursing and caring work and engaged the audience in vivid debate on commemoration, nursing, and professional history.