Purpose of Oral History Project:

    To examine the history of nursing education through the personal perspectives
    of  students and, where possible, nursing faculty:

Project Goals

  •     To preserve the real life experiences of nurses by recording  their stories, in their own words.  Many histories record the life of an ‘important’ figure or event.  I believe that it’s important  to look at the experiences of the all nurses
  •     To review stories and identify themes, educational philosophy;and  compare past, current and future

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?

Your career

    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.

Oral History Project

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,

Contact: dmichaels@nursingeducationhistory.org