Introduction - Origin of My Interest in Nursing History
I first became interested in the history of nursing when I began to think what it means to me to be a nurse. As I read about the history of nursing, I began to realize and appreciate the struggle of nursing to gain control of their practice, develop standards of care, earn a fair wage and through education to obtain the knowledge, skills and ability to give quality care to our patients, elevating nursing to a profession and gaining the respect of other professions.
I read about the pioneers of nursing and their experiences, many told in their own words. I believe that events are clearer and more 'real', when related by people who were there and were part of the event. When several people relate events it is likely that there will be different perspectives resulting in a three dimensional picture. On a personal level, as I looked at photographs of nursing students from the 1880's to the present time I thought about each and wondered who they were, and what their story was.. Where were the stories of the these nurses seen only in photographs - many without their names? I believe that the stories of nurses are too important to lose and that it is important to the history of nursing and nursing education to record these stories.
While it is not possible to obtain oral histories from some of the early pioneers in nursing, we are fortunate to have their written memoirs, biographies and in some cases journal articles or books that they have written. Unfortunately, many nurses did not leave a written record of their experiences. And in today's fast paced world with technology that allows for instant communication, e-mails and text messaging, read and then deleted, many stories are lost.
This lead to the oral history project and my nursing education website. The history of nursing education is the companion website to this website.
( https://www.nursingeducationhistory.org/home.html )
While interviewing nurses regarding their basic nursing education I discovered that they were eager to tell me about their life and career as Registered Nurse. I listened and realized that their stories were valuable additions to the history of nursing.
Material copied from https://www.nursingeducationhistory.org/home.html website and used with permission of Davida Michaels – sole owner, designer and webmaster,