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Previous events

Missed out?

Many of our past events are available to watch online, as well as short interviews with our speakers. 

See below for a selection of these films, or for the full list of past events, visit the RCN's YouTube page.
CTA youtube library events

The Metamorphosis of Autism: A History of Neurodiversity

What is neurodiversity and where has it come from?

Increased diagnostic rates of autism, the rise of the neurodiversity movement, and growing journalism have recently fuelled autism's fame and controversy. Historian Bonnie Evans explores the metamorphosis of autism, explaining our current understanding of autism by linking it to a longer history of child development.

This session was held in RCN London HQ and online in July 2022

A History of Learning Disability and Human Rights

In this talk, Liz Tilley and Steven Hardy ask why upholding the rights of people with learning disabilities continues to be so difficult to achieve.

In many ways the past few decades have been a revolutionary period for people with learning disabilities, culminating in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). However, successful implementation of the CRPD has been a complex business, constrained by the legacy of historic legislation, structures, systems and attitudes. This talk looks back to the UK's Mental Deficiency Act of 1913 and the emergence of eugenics, which marked the beginning of the incarceration of people with learning disabilities on a widespread scale.

This event was held online in July 2022.

A History of Sickle Cell Disease and Race in the NHS

Join historian Grace Redhead, specialist nurse consultant Lola Oni and nurse and sickle cell patient Gildé Nsianguana to find out more about the history of sickle cell disease and treatment in the UK.

The British welfare state was founded on and supported by migrant, Black and Asian labour. However, these workers’ own healthcare and welfare entitlements were often neglected. Nowhere is this more visible than in the history of sickle cell anaemia, a genetic condition that is more common in people of African, South Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean descent.

This event explores the history of sickle cell and race in the UK, and the work of healthcare professionals to push for improved health care and better pain management during sickle cell disease crisis.

This event was held online in June 2022

From Community to Hospital and Back Again: A History of Care

Simon Jarrett and Lynette Kennedy explore how care for people with learning disabilities has shifted over time, and how community care functions today.

Before the early 19th century, people with learning disabilities were largely ignored in healthcare and medicine. Since practitioners were paid by results, care of those who were considered “incurable” was not a priority. So these people lived in, and relied on the support of, their communities. It was only with state medicine in the nineteenth century that efforts to care – and control – people considered disorderly and unmanageable began. 

This event was held online in June 2022.

RCN Wales Journal Club June 22

Bestselling author Amanda Prowse and son Josiah Hartley discuss their new nonfiction work 'The Boy Between'. 

Josiah was nineteen with the world at his feet when things changed. Without warning, the new university student’s mental health deteriorated to the point that he planned his own death. His mother, author Amanda Prowse, found herself grappling for ways to help him, with no clear sense of where that could be found. Here, they discuss the book they wish had been there for them during those dark times.

This event was held online in June 2022. 

A History of Learning Disability: Exhibition Launch

Jonathan Beebee, RCN Professional Lead for learning disability nursing, chairs this event marking the opening of the A History of Care or Control? 100 Years of Learning Disability Nursing exhibition. 

Hear from Steve Walden and Owen Barden about what we can learn from the experiences of people with learning disabilities in the past, and Bob Gates on the more recent history of learning disability nursing. Gavin Harding tells us about his life and achievements as the first person with a learning disability to get an MBE and his work at NHS England with Sarah Wright, and Sarah Leigh explains why hospital passports are essential, speaking from personal experience seeking support for her son, who has a severe learning disability.

This event was held at RCN London HQ and online in May 2022

In Conversation with Nursing Pioneers: Nursing and Politics

This event, hosted by Jim Campbell of the World Health Organisation (WHO), was the third in a series highlighting significant contributions to nursing.

Hear from a panel of RCN Fellows – David Benton, Jane Salvage and Neslyn Watson-Druée – about the past, present and future of nursing and politics, and why nurses and the public should engage with the political context of healthcare.

This event was held online in May 2022.

Women listening to women

A History of Self-Injury & Mental Health Activism

In this talk find out about the gendered stereotypes of self-harm, and how pioneering women-led services like Self Injury Support have countered them. Chaired by Hannah Cadogan, our speakers were Sarah Chaney, Jeanette Copperman, Rosie Wild and Sandy Walker. They explore what we can learn from the fascinating story of this confidential peer to peer listening service, which has been the subject of a two year oral history research project, Women Listening to Women, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

This event was held online in April 2022.

Angels on Horseback: Midwives in the Mountains

In this special event, Vari Drennan and Chris Holme explore rural community nursing in the UK and US.  

'Attention nurse graduates – with a sense of adventure! Your own horse, your own dog, and a thousand miles of Kentucky mountains. Join my nurse brigade and help save children’s lives. Write to M Breckinridge, Kentucky, USA.'

This advert, posted in British nursing journals in the 1920s, invited nurses to join a new Frontier Nursing Service (FNS) in Kentucky. Its founder, Mary Carson Breckinridge, based many elements of her service on the Highland and Island Medical Service (HIMS) in Scotland. Hear from the creators of a new documentary about these “angels on horseback” , set within the context of district and community nursing in the UK. 

This event was held online in April 2022.

Yatdjuligin - Training the 'Natives' as Nurses: Voices from the Colony

The annual RCN History of Nursing Forum lecture was given by Professor Odette Best, from the University of Southern Queensland

Best is a Wakgun clan member of the Gorreng Gorreng Nation and holds a Boonthamurra Bloodline with adoption ties to the Koomumberri, Yugambeh People. She is a Professor and Associate Head: Indigenous Research and Community Engagement, School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Southern Queensland. It was whilst undertaking her PhD on Aboriginal women as Registered Nurses in Queensland 1950-2000 that her passion was realised in uncovering this largely untold historiography. Best is passionate about uncovering and documenting Aboriginal women’s nursing and midwifery histories.

The event was held online in March 2022

A History of Diabetes: Care in Context

Marking the centenary of the first use of insulin, this event explores the past and present of diabetes care

Historian of medicine Martin Moore gives an overview of diabetes care across the twentieth century, while retired nurse Tom Rush describes how - following his own diagnosis - he has worked to support People Living With Diabetes. 

This event was held online in March 2022.

 

A Home for Nursing

In this virtual tour of the RCN HQ, Librarian Janan Nuri delves into the history of the buildings, their famous residents – and ghosts – and the creation of a home for nursing.

20 Cavendish Square was built in 1729, and has many original features, including a grand neoclassical mural-painted staircase. The most famous resident was Liberal MP Herbert Henry Asquith, who lived here until he became prime minister in 1908. The building was purchased by Lady Cowdray for the RCN in 1920; 20 Cavendish Square became the Cowdray Club (a club for nurses and professional women opened in 1922) and a new, purpose-built College was added at the rear, formally opening in 1926. On March 1, 1922, the Royal College of Nursing Library and Archive was founded.

This event was held online in March 2022, to celebrate 100 years of our library. 

 

The Heart of the Matter

Professor David Thompson explains how the role of the cardiac nurse has evolved from one of “human monitor” to providing holistic care.

In the 1960s, cardiac nursing was a physical and technical job. Over the years, nursing has expanded to encompass the psychological, social and spiritual aspects of care, and to include families and carers in decision-making.

Yet there are new challenges facing nursing: the ageing population, social isolation and multiple conditions. 

This event was held online in February 2022.

Nursing a Global Pandemic

Our final event in our series recording the nursing experience of the COVID-19 Pandemic looks at nursing around the world.

Professor Dame Anne Marie Rafferty interviews Cecilia Malabusini, Dr Priscar Sakala Mukonka and Calanit Key to hear nursing perspectives from Italy, Zambia and Israel.

This event was held online in December 2021.

Nursing a Pandemic: Vaccinating the Nation

For the 10th event in our series recording the nursing experience of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we focus on vaccination in the UK.

RCN Professional Leads Helen Donovan and Heather Randle speak to Louise Cahill, Clinical Coordinator of a vaccination centre in Newport, Wales, and Carole Phillips, Clinical Director for Brunel Healthcare Primary Care Network.

This event was held online in November 2021.

Explore your nursing family history

Hear about the history of Black nurses in the UK and find out how to trace your own nursing family history.

TV director Tim Kirby describes his work on the BBC documentary Our NHS: A Hidden History, for which he managed to trace the stories of 30 nurses from Barbados. This is followed by a practical lesson in using nursing registers to uncover your nurse ancestors with Teresa Doherty, Joint Head of the RCN Library and Archive Service.

This event was held online in October 2021.

 

In conversation with nursing pioneers

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson hosts a panel of nursing experts, to find out why patients need well-educated nurses. 

Hear from a panel of RCN Fellows – Hilary Chapman, Brendan McCormack and Sonja McIlfatrick - about the past, present and future of nursing education, and why patients need well-educated nurses.

This event was held online in October 2021.

Maybe I don't belong here: With David Harewood

Actor David Harewood in conversation with mental health workers Simon Arday and Kojo Bonsu.

In this special event co-produced with members of the RCN's Mental Health Forum Ethnic Minority Sub-group, actor David Harewood spoke to us about his new book Maybe I don't belong here: A Memoir of Race, Identity, Breakdown and Recovery (Pan Macmillan, 2021).

David was in conversation with Simon Arday (Nurse, Mental Health Network Manager & Representative for Parity of Esteem) and Kojo Bonsu (Peer Involvement Worker), exploring what it means to be a person of colour navigating the mental health system.

This event was held online in October 2021.

Nursing a Pandemic: Learning Disability Nursing

In the 9th event in this series, we hear from professionals who have spent the pandemic supporting people with learning disabilities. 

RCN Professional Lead for Learning Disability Nursing Jonathan Beebee speaks to Steve Hardy, Mark Topps and Rebecca Crossley, who have all worked in different capacities through COVID-19 providing specialist support and working to get the vaccine to their patients and clients.

This event was held online in September 2021.

Nursing a Pandemic: Newly Registered Nurses

In the 8th event in our Nursing a Pandemic series, we look at how newly registered nurses have found the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interviewers Kendal Moran and Jessica Sainsbury, co-leads of the RCN Newly Registered Nurses Network, speak to critical care nurse Kayte Powell and learning disability nurse Daniel Branch.

This event was held online in September 2021.

Germs and Governance: Book launch

For the online launch of a new book edited by Anne Marie Rafferty, Marguerite Dupree and Fay Bound Alberti, we heard about the past, present and future of infection prevention and control.

Through short talks and panel discussion, find out how the relationships between doctors and nurses, hospitals and communities, have shaped infection control practices.

This hybrid event was held online and in person in August 2021.

Nursing a Pandemic: Future Nurses

In the 7th event in this series, we look at the student experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Student Mental Health Nurse James Savage and Professor of Nursing/Deputy Vice Chancellor Brian Webster-Henderson join interviewer Cyzel Gomes, Student nurse in adult nursing, to talk about how the pandemic has affected students' work, studies and the future of their nursing careers.

This event was held online in July 2021.

The Future of Nursing History

This event was organised by the RCN History of Nursing Forum and the UK Association for the History of Nursing (UKAHN) 

We hear from four historians about new and exciting research. Rebekah SloaneMather is investigating a set of First World War nurses' autograph books, Charissa Threat introduces her first book, Nursing Civil Rights, which explores gender and race in American army nursing, Sheri Tesseyman is studying the effect of staffing changes in American hospitals in the mid-twentieth century and Sonya Grypma looks at transnational nursing history, especially Canadian, American and Chinese nursing networks.

This event was held online in July 2021.

The Politics of Nursing History

This event was organised by the RCN History of Nursing Forum and the UK Association for the History of Nursing (UKAHN).

We hear from Anne Summers about her research into British military nurses between 1854 and 1914, Peter Nolan on the history of mental health nursing, Karen Flynn on Black Caribbean and Canadian women in nursing and Anne Marie Rafferty on nursing politics in the twentieth century. Chaired by Jane Brooks, our panellists revisited their influential texts, reflecting on the process of their research and what has changed since, as well as considering the future directions of nursing history.

It was held online in June 2021.

Nursing a Pandemic: Fighting for the Frontline

In the sixth event of this series, we will hear from people who have supported nursing staff in the workplace during the pandemic, often while being directly impacted themselves.

We are joined by Derek Browne, Senior RCN Officer based in RCN Wales, Maggy Heaton, staff-side Chair at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Neil Thompson, RCN Steward and Safety Rep based in Nottingham. Our guests are interviewed by RCN Deputy President Tracey Budding.

This event took place online in June 2021.

Nursing a Pandemic: Nursing Support Workers

In the fifth event of our series recording the nursing experience of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we hear from three people who have worked in essential support roles.

Ofrah Muflahi, RCN Professional Lead for Nursing Support Workers, speaks to Associate Practitioner Kevin Morley,and Nursing Associates Sagila Thiruthanikasalan and Monica Korpal.

This event was held online in May 2021.

In conversation with nursing pioneers

Nurse and author of The Language of Kindness Christie Watson hosts this event highlighting significant contributions to nursing.

Hear from three RCN Fellows – Jane Ball, Tara Bartley and Ruth Oshikanlu – about the challenges and opportunities the COVID-19 pandemic has presented for nursing.

This event was held online in May 2021.

Inclusion Cafe: Neurodiversity

At this session of our bi-monthly online club for RCN members, we explored stories and experiences of neurodiversity in the healthcare profession. 

In this clip, hear from Dr Rachael Major, nurse and educator who has conducted research into neurodiversity in nursing and Fraser Smith, who has over 20 years of experience in elderly and learning disabilities care.

This event was held online in April 2021.

Nurses that Roared

Julie Attenborough and Lisa Reynolds share the stories of nurses who have challenged the status quo throughout history.

Throughout history, nurses have raged and roared, disrupting the status quo and challenging established norms. In this talk Julie Attenborough and Lisa Reynolds fill some of the gaps in the popular history of nursing, from which nurses whose images do not fit a standard mould have been omitted or adapted.

This event was originally held online in April 2021.

Nursing a Pandemic: Leading through COVID

This is the fourth event in our series documenting the nursing experience of the ongoing pandemic.

In this event we explore what nursing leadership through COVID has been like. RCN Regional Director Estephanie Dunn talks to nurses Trish Armstrong-Child, registered general nurse and Chief Executive of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, and Trish Bennett, Chief Nurse at Mersey Care.

This event took place online in April 2021.

History of Nursing Forum annual lecture 2021

Black Nurses, Enslaved Labour, and the Royal Navy, 1790-1820.

Nursing historians usually examine the period after Florence Nightingale and focus on the establishment of a white middle-class professional identity, like Nightingale herself. But what about Black nurses before Nightingale?

For the annual History of Nursing Forum lecture, Dr Erin Spinney discusses the employment of Black nurses in the West Indian naval hospitals of the Royal Navy in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. 

This event was held online in March 2021.

Nursing and suffragette HERstories

Janan Nuri takes us on a guided tour of nursing and women's history for International Women's Day.

This illustrated online event explores how the militancy of the suffrage movement began at the doorstep of what is now the Royal College of Nursing's Headquarters in London. Hear about nurses who officially recorded themselves as 'protesting nurse suffragette' and suffragist in the 1911 census, as well as discovering some of the exclusive nursing and women's clubs of Marylebone.

This event was originally held online in March 2021. 


Follow the tour for yourself on your mobile phone by downloading the Useeum app.

Nursing a Pandemic: Mental Health

Our series documenting the nursing experience of the ongoing pandemic continues.

In this edition, we hear from two nurses with different experiences in mental health care during the pandemic. Douglas Hamandishe is a mental health nurse and digital influencer. Roland Dix is a Consultant Nurse in Psychiatric Intensive Care & Secure Recovery at Gloucestershire Health & Care NHS Foundation Trust. They were interviewed by Catherine Gamble, Head of Nursing Education, Practice and Research at South West London & St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust.

This event took place online in February 2021.

Inclusion Café Book Club

In another edition of our Inclusion Cafe Book Club, we chat to Rachael Ridley, the first openly trans nurse in the country.

Interviewed by Craig Davidson, Rachael shares her experience of health care and approaching medical professionals about transitioning. 

The event was chaired by Janan Nuri and took place online for LGBT+ History Month, in February 2021.

Nursing a Pandemic: Care Homes

This second event in our series documenting the ongoing pandemic looks at the nursing response in care homes.

Hear from two nurses with different experiences working in and managing care homes during the pandemic. Interviewer Susan Aitkenhead, Director of RCN Scotland, speaks to Dr Jane Douglas QN RN, Chief Executive of QME Care and the Scotland Rep on the RCN's Independent Health and Social Care Sector Strategy Programme, and Duncan MacDonald, House Manager at an Erskine Care Home.

This event took place online in February 2021.

Pictures of Nursing

What can picture postcards tell us about the history of nursing, and images and stereotypes of nursing over the years?

Julia Hallam curated the Pictures of Nursing travelling exhibition and digital resource, for the National Library of Medicine, NIH, Washington, DC. Hallam tells us more about the years 1890 - 1910, a period known as the golden age of the postcard, and traces the dominant trends in the public image of nurses and nursing that emerge at this time.

This event was held online in February 2021.

Florence Nightingale Comes Home

Hear from the team at the Florence Nightingale Comes Home project at the University of Nottingham. 

Homes can be both comforting and troubling places as Professor Paul Crawford, Dr Anna Greenwood and Dr Richard Bates share in their new book, Florence Nightingale at Home (Palgrave: London, 2020). In this talk they share a new understanding of how Nightingale’s experiences of domestic life and her ideas of home influenced her writings and pioneering work, and explore the legacy of this for nursing today.

This event took place online in January 2021.

It's Not All Blood and Guts: My Amazing Life as an A&E Nurse

For International Men's Day, hear from Gary Jones about his 40 years in A&E nursing, through a time of dramatic changes in the NHS.

Gary Jones has faced many challenges in his 40 years of A&E nursing. He reveals all in this talk based on his recent memoir, It’s Not All Blood And Guts. From his early days as a hospital cadet, through to running his own consultancy, expert witness and training company, we hear some fascinating, sometimes shocking, patient stories. He also shares what it was like starting out in a predominantly female profession in the 1970s. 


This event took place online in November 2020.

Nursing a Pandemic

The first in our new series of online events recording the nursing experience of the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.

In this first event, hear from two people involved in health care in different capacities during the early days of the pandemic. We hear from Chris Carter, who was seconded from his role as senior lecturer at Birmingham City University to be the second Matron for Critical Care at University Hospital Lewisham, and Rose Gallagher, the RCN's Professional Lead for Infection Prevention and Control who has been providing specialist advice throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. The interviewer is Dame Professor Anne Marie Rafferty, RCN President.

This event was held online in November 2020.

Nursing Whilst Black

For Black History Month 2020, this talk explored BAME leaders in nursing, past and present.

Who were the Black nurses earlier in the twentieth century who led the way for future generations? Chaired by Estephanie Dunn, RCN North West Regional Director, we heard from historian of nursing Dr Claire Chatterton about the history of Black nurses in the UK, and Yvonne Coghill CBE, head of the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard programme, on the legacy of this history today. 

This event was originally held online on 30 October 2020.

Jack's Story: Reflections of an Ex-POW on becoming a mental nurse

For World Mental Health Day 2020, Peter Nolan shares the story of Jack, a Prisoner of War who became a mental health nurse.

In this online event, Peter shares reflections from an oral history covering Jack's time in captivity, the shooting of his boyhood friend, Alfie, and the hard labour he had endured while suffering from extreme weakness due to starvation. Peter recounts experiences that Jack had long buried inside him and which aroused strong feelings of anger, regret and contrition.

This event was hosted online in October 2020.

Crimson Tea Parties presents: Nursing myth busters

Can you sort your Sairey Gamps from your Florence Nightingales? 

In this online event the team from Crimson Tea Parties give us a history of nursing through fashion. Susanna Cordner (London College of Fashion) and Stephanie Wood (Victoria & Albert Museum) explain what nursing uniforms can tell us about the image of nursing, and how nursing attire has featured beyond the hospital, from fancy dress to haute couture.

This event was held online in September 2020 in aid of Bloody Good Period:

https://actions.bloodygoodperiod.com/d/donate

The poetry of nursing: Romalyn Ante and Molly Case

Nurse and poet Romalyn Ante talks with nurse, poet and author Molly Case.

Romalyn Ante left her home country of the Philippines in 2005 when her mother, a nurse in the NHS, brought the family to the UK. Now a Specialist Nurse Practitioner, Romalyn reads from her debut poetry collection Antiemetic for Homesickness. 

This event begins with a reading by nurse and author Molly Case, followed by a conversation between our speakers as they explore what writing and creativity means to them as nurses.

This talk was hosted online in September 2020.

A Reappraisal of Nursing before Nightingale

Nursing did not begin with Florence Nightingale. But what was it like before?

In this online talk Professor Alannah Tomkins, University of Keele, joined us to share her research into the nurses before Nightingale. Her talk challenges the image of drunken, misbehaving nurses in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, revealing a diversity of employment experiences that did not generally end in disgrace. Alannah is introduced by Pauline Walsh, RCN Education Forum.

This talk was hosted online in September 2020.

Inclusion Cafe Book Club

A new bi-monthly online book club for RCN members to learn more about diversity in nursing and beyond.

At this first meeting, we heard from Young Historians Kaitlene Koranteng and Debrah Igbinedion. They told us more about the Young Historians Project - a youth-driven initiative, centring young Black people in the production of Black history in Britain - and chatted with former RCN president and clinical nurse specialist Dr Cecilia Akrisie Anim CBE, about migration and her nursing journey. The event was chaired by RCN Professional Lead Ruth Burey.

This first book club was held online on 2 September 2020.

 

Healthy Libraries: How we can support wellbeing

In September 2020 the Royal College of Nursing Library and Archive Service hosted an online workshop exploring the unexpected role libraries play around user wellbeing.

This recording captures a talk by Catherine Gamble, RCN Professional Lead for Mental Health. Cath gives an overview of the context we are now living in, the mental health challenges for the nursing workforce, and some hints and tips on how librarians can support students and library users in stressful times.

This conference was hosted online on 3 September 2020.

Emblems of Resilience: ‘Spanish Influenza’ to COVID-19

Hear from speakers Christine Hallett, Olivia Gordon and Amanda Gwinnup at the University of Huddersfield, as they explore nursing from 'Spanish' influenza to COVID-19.

This new research looks into the mirage of safety and control presented by those who nursed during the influenza pandemic one hundred years ago, as well as the toll this mask of resilience took upon those nurses. A century on from that, the speakers examine what we can learn from this amidst COVID-19. 

This event was originally held online in August 2020.

 

Total Pain: Cicely Saunders and the History of Emotions

Hear about the pioneering work of Cicely Saunders and what her legacy means for end of life care today.

Hospice pioneer Cicely Saunders championed better end of life care by acknowledging the emotional impacts of dying. In this talk, hear from researcher Joseph Wood who explains Saunders' concept of 'total pain.' Our second speaker Heather Richardson, Joint Chief Executive of St Christopher’s Hospice, talks about Saunders' legacy and end of life care today.

This event was originally held online in July 2020.

Nightingale's Legacy with Professor Anne Marie Rafferty

Two hundred years on from Florence Nightingale's birth, Professor Anne Marie Rafferty explores what we can learn from Nightingale's legacy.

In light of the challenges that 2020 has brought society and health care, RCN President Anne Marie Rafferty explores what we can learn from Nightingale's work and how her legacy continues to shape the profession today.

This event was originally held online in July 2020.

 

Hidden Lives, Untold Stories: Nurses Beyond Nightingale

This talk celebrates the 27 nurses added to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) for the 2020 Year of the Nurse.

Hear from a group of nurses and historians who wrote the new entries for the ODNB, a joint project between the RCN and the UK Association for the History Nursing (UKAHN).

This event was originally held online in June 2020.