Nurses' Voices: Memories of Nursing at St. George's Hospital, London, 1930-1990

By Boschma, Geertje | Nursing History Review, January 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Nurses' Voices: Memories of Nursing at St. George's Hospital, London, 1930-1990


Boschma, Geertje, Nursing History Review


Nurses' Voices: Memories of Nursing at St. George's Hospital, London, 1930-1990 By Carol McCubbin and Ines Warsop (with project research members Kath Start, Clare Quinn, and Georgina Aronin) (London: Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences-Kingston University and St. George's, University of London, 2010) (148 pages, £25.00 cloth)

This book provides invaluable memories and experiences of nurses at St. George's Hospital in London and a wealth of beautiful pictures. It commemorates the essential contribution nurses made to this hospital's development and to nursing care generally. The book is one of the outcomes of the Nurses' Voices Oral History project, which was initiated with support of the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences at Kingston University and St. George's University of London when it became apparent during preparations for the 250th anniversary of St. George's Hospital and Medical School that information and documentation about the integral role that the nursing staff had played in the development of the hospital was largely unavailable. In response, the project research team, under the leadership of Carol McCubbin and Ines Warsop, designed an oral history project to explore the memories, experiences, and perspectives of nurses and the development of nursing by means of recorded interviews with retired and currently practicing nurses at St. George's.

The hospital was founded in 1733 at Hyde Park Corner in the heart of London. It experienced many changes and adaptations to new situations and locations throughout its history. Among many influential nurses who contributed to the hospital and nursing, the most famous one of all was Florence Nightingale. She was the first woman to become elected as a governor to St. George's in 1880. The book's prime focus is on the period from 1930 to 1990 and includes interviews with 134 participants who all trained or nursed at St. George's in those years. The Nurses' Voices Oral History project has generated an invaluable oral history collection and archive that provides historians, nurses, and others interested in the history of nursing, the opportunity to research this important part of nursing history.

The book is divided into nine chapters, arranged according to important themes arising from the interviews, including "becoming a nurse"; "nurse education"; "nurses' uniforms"; "life on the wards"; "social life and celebrations"; "influential nurses"; "war, disasters, and epidemics"; "clinical practice and medical innovations"; and the last chapter focuses on the different locations, from Hyde Park to Tooting. …

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