Purpose of Oral History Project:
To examine the history of nursing education through the personal perspectives
of students and, where possible, nursing faculty:
Background Information: Reason for Project
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 realized the importance of
education in providing nurses with the knowledge, skills and ability to give quality care
to our patients, elevating nursing to a profession and gaining the respect of other
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. 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.
Start of the Project
One day while exercising at the 'Y' pool, I met a woman who told me she recorded
personal oral histories for a living. As we talked and she discovered I was a nurse
interested in the history pf nursing, she suggested that I might want to record the oral
history of nurses. This suggested a different approach to discussing the history of
nursing education by utilizing both archival material and oral histories to write the history of the three main educational pathways leading to licensure as a registered nurse--Training School/Diploma, Associate Degree and Baccalaureate.
Participation in the oral history project is voluntary. Participants sign a permission form.The actual history recording takes place either in person or by phone. Oral histories are recorded using a hand-held digital recorder with a lapel microphone. Usually the entire session lasts approximately 45 minutes A transcript is made of the session and the participant has the opportunity of reviewing and correcting the document.
What information is included?
After asking the participant to provide general demographic information, such as name, school and date of graduation, in place of providing the participants with a written list of questions, I provide a general outline, and encourage the participant just to tell his or her story.
General information includes such areas as:
Name (This is for the record but private information such as your name will not
be included in any published work without your permission.
Dates - when you entered school and date of graduation
Some specific information such as:
Reason for entering Nursing School/ wanting to become a Nurse
Choice of school - reasons for choosing your specific school
The interview provides you with the opportunity to talk about your experiences both as a student and after graduation such as : Memories of your program - classes, clinical experiences or share clinical situation, patient situation hat 'sticks out' in your mind or an event or events that influenced you
What do you feel were/are the strengths of your program?
What changes, if any, would you like to see in nursing education?
What was your first job after graduation?
Further education - actual or contemplated
If interested in volunteering to share your history, please complete the form below.
Consider sharing your story – your journey through student days and your career can contribute to the shared history of nursing education and can inspire future men and women to seek a nursing career.
Your oral history can easily be recorded by phone, or thru internet communication technology - SKYPE,