Voices of Queen’s Nurses
Broadcaster Pennie Taylor interviewed nine retired Queen’s Nurses as part of the Voices of Experience project. Watch them here: https://www.qnis.org.uk/queens-nurses/voices-of-experience/
Norman Macdonald’s insightful and detailed account of Annie’s life. See pp 40-47 here: http://www.ruralgp.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/DewarBookletPDFWeb.pdf
Annie also appears in the silent documentary Forgotten Frontier (1931) about the Frontier Nursing Service in Kentucky. She’s seen receiving the wounded man (62m 20s onwards) and then on the phone with the surgeon.
Ida’s autobiography was published by the Gullane and Dirleton History Society: https://www.qnis.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Ida-Sowler-Autobiography.pdf
The Moving Image Archive has a very short clip of the Belhelvie district nurse inspecting children in 1935.
Highland Doctor is a 1943 documentary (20 mins) on the Highlands and Islands Medical Service. Director Kay Mander makes a brief cameo appearance as a cycling district nurse.
Surgeon Joseph Bell’s role as the model for Sherlock Holmes is recalled by Arthur Conan Doyle in this 1927 newsreel clip.
Margaret’s Pod (2010) is a beautiful short animation (3m) in which a district nurse (+ computer + granddaughter) helps a granny in Bute cope with her COPD.
The Royal College of Nursing archive, based in Edinburgh, holds most of the historical documents relating to the QNIS. The Wellcome Library is the main repository for the Queen’s Nursing Institute in England.
Also worth a look are local libraries and the NHS regional libraries in Scotland although they mainly concentrate on hospital records:
- Lothian Health Services archive
- NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde archives
- NHS Grampian archives
- Dundee archives
- Newspapers also published some details of Queen’s Nurses when they qualified. The British newspaper archive is a good resource.
- Ancestry Institution website
The Excellent Women, the Origins and history of Queen Margaret College, by Tom Begg (John Donald, Edinburgh, 1994) offers interesting perspectives on the earlier work of Christian Guthrie Wright and colleagues setting up the Edinburgh School of Cookery.
Hebridean Heroines by Catherine M. Morrison (Islands Book Trust, Laxay, Isle of Lewis, 2017) has fascinating first-hand insights based on interviews with Queen’s Nurses in the Outer Hebrides from the 1940s to the 1970s.
A History of the Queen’s Nursing Institute by Monica E. Baly (Croom Helm, 1987), a comprehensive history of the Institute for its centenary focussing mainly on England with sections on Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
Nursing Research by Lisbeth Hockey (Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh 1985). As well as a range of academic publications Lisbeth Hockey also wrote this humorous, self-deprecating take on the lessons she learned from nursing research.
Wide Neighborhoods by Mary Breckinridge (The University Press of Kentucky, 1952). Autobiography of the founder of the Frontier Nursing Service including her inspirational tour meeting Queen’s Nurses in the Hebrides.
Transplant, the autobiography of Ekke von Kuenssberg (published privately, 1993)
A Leap in the Dark by Rosemary Weir (Hypatia Trust, Penzance 1996) tells the story of the first 40 years of nursing studies at Edinburgh University.
Call Me Sister by Jane Eadon (Black and White Publishing, Edinburgh, 2014) chronicles her time as a district nurse in the Highlands in the 1960s. Jane was one of the last Queen’s Nurses to qualify at Castle Terrace.
Improving the Common Weal, Aspects of Scottish Health Services 1900-1984
by Gordon McLachlan (ed) (Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust, 1987) includes a chapter on nursing pp 459 to 479.
Educating Nurses in Scotland, A History of Innovation and Change 1950-2000 by Rosemary Weir (Hypatia Trust with RCN Archives, Penzance 2004) .A review of nursing developments in the 20th century.
To care and educate: the continuity within Queen’s nursing in Scotland, c. 1948-2000 by Janet Greenlees, provides a comprehensive history based on the testimony of Queen’s Nurses.
‘From the castle to the cottage’: Queen’s Nurses and health inequalities in Scotland, c. 1955–1975 Flucker, A. & Greenlees, J. 2014 Caring for the Poor in Twentieth-Century Scotland: Report of a Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland/Glasgow Caledonian University workshop held in Glasgow, 11–12 September 2014. Greenlees, J. (ed.). Edinburgh: Queens Nursing Institute for Scotland,
Almoners/Medical social workers
Another group concerned with the sick poor were hospital almoners. Queen’s Nurses explicitly distanced themselves from them in the pre-NHS era of charitable hospitals. Chris Nottingham and Rona Dougal trace the later development of almoners into medical social workers in Scotland.
A parallel development to the Institute, the Deaconess open in 1894 and also trained nurses, primarily for overseas missionary work for the Church of Scotland. It was modelled on the Deaconess movement in Germany where Florence Nightingale first trained. Esther McNeil and colleagues explore its history here.