History of Nursing in Pacific Canada

Teaching Nursing History Through Photographs : between realities, cultural constructions and social idealisations Vandenberg, Helen; Harrisson, Sandra; Galiana-Sanchez, Maria Eugenia; Sironi, Cecilia; Wytenbroek, Lydia; La Torre, Anna; Boschma, Geertje


Teaching nursing history through photographs: between realities, cultural constructions and social idealisations. Countless images of nurses have been captured on camera, but what do they tell us about nursing’s past? This symposium examines historic photographs of nurses at various periods in history and from a range of social and national contexts in Europe and Canada. The purpose is to show how the analysis and interpretation of an image may form a way to gain a deeper understanding of nurses’ critical role in maintaining people’s health. Secondly, we demonstrate how photographs can be used as an intriguing educational strategy to teach nursing history. In a panel presentation with a brief discussion period, we will present and explain a series of historical photographs, either as slides or within a short video, and applying multiple analytic lenses, including gender, race, religion, nation and place. What determines an adequate and critical representation of nursing’s past? What culturally significant meanings are encoded in the images? These and other critical questions about identification and selection of photographs of nursing’s past will be addressed. In the process we intend to share a compelling approach to teaching nursing history that can be taken up in a wide range of educational programs or workshops in nursing around the world.

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