Nurses tell their stories.
Subject: Nurses (Training)
Foundations (Endowments) (Services)
Pub Date: 08/01/2012
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: August, 2012 Source Volume: 18 Source Issue: 7
Topic: Event Code: 280 Personnel administration; 360 Services information
Product: Product Code: 8043100 Nurses NAICS Code: 621399 Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 301648852
Full Text: A nurses' oral history project, funded by the Nursing Education and Research Foundation (NERF), is underway, with three pilot interviews completed with nurses who trained in the 1950s.

The project is a re-start of one begun in 1982 to establish a nursing oral history collection. At that time, many nurses and former nurses were interviewed and 185 tapes stored in the Alexander Turnbull Library. The project was updated in 1991 with the addition of two sections: the transfer of nursing education from hospital schools to the education sector; and NZNO as a trade union.

The current project will run over the next two years and focus on stories of nurses who completed their basic education during the 1950s and 1960s. It is anticipated 60 nurses from a wide range of practice areas will be interviewed. The key issues to be explored with the interviewees are: the social content in which they trained and worked; consumerism and feminism; changes in technology and medicine; specialisation and nursing; psychiatric nursing services; labour issues; nursing and gender; nursing Maori; nursing curriculum changes and nursing education; and the constant reviews of, and changes to nursing education during '50s and '60s.

A proposal from the University of Auckland's Uniservices Limited secured the $200,000 funding for the project. The team conducting the interviews is lead investigator, historian Linda Bryder, and the interviewers, nurse academics Margaret Horsburgh and Kate Prebble, and an historian with an interest in nursing history, Debbie Dunsford.


Bryder believes nurses' experiences during the chosen decades reflect many of the changes that occurred for women in the post-World War Two era. "Following the war, nursing services were beset by serious manpower problems. There were serious shortages of candidates for schools of nursing," she said.

NERF secretary Jill Clendon is very excited the project is now underway. "It is great the original project has been reinvigorated. It will be very exciting to hear the nurses' stories and I'm sure they will become a valuable national resource," she said.

A website to store the stories and enable easy access to them will be developed. The stories will also be lodged at the Alexander Turnbull Library.

In her June report to NERF, Bryder outlined project progress, including ethics approval, interviewer training, the establishment of a project office in the university's history department and a critique of the three pilot interviews for interview technique and the suitability of the topics and questions.

Nurses who trained during the 1950s and '60s who would like to share their experiences are invited to complete a survey at http://surveys. The survey takes about 20 minutes but does not have to be completed in one session.
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