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Royal College of Nursing Representing nurses and nursing, promoting excellence in practice, shaping health policies

Meet the Team

An expert team passionate about celebrating nursing history

Alison ODonnell

Alison O’Donnell

Interim Forum Chair - Dec 2019

Retired Lecturer in Nursing and Honorary Lecturer, School of Health Sciences, University of Dundee

Alison qualified as a nurse in 1980 and had various posts working in the NHS, before undertaking a clinical teaching course at Queen Margaret University College in 1985. She undertook a BA in Education at the University of Stirling after this and also completed a diploma in nurse education in 1992 at Stirling. 

An MSc followed and then, Alison gained her PhD in April 2010 from the University of Dundee; in 1999 she was awarded a Monica Baly Bursary which enabled her to extend her scholarship of the holocaust and nursing by consulting archival sources in the USA. In 2002, she was awarded a Carnegie Trust Travel Award which enabled her to visit the Hilde Steppe Archive in Frankfurt, the Hadamar Asylum, and the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp and Museum in Berlin, in 2004.

In 2014, Alison retired early from her post as a lecturer in nursing to concentrate on nursing history; she has an honorary lecturer post where she supervises 2 PhD students, works for QNIS with an interest in history, is a member of the RCN History of Nursing Steering Group and volunteers one half day a week in the RCN archives at South Oswald Road, Edinburgh. 

Jane Brooks

Jane Brooks

Lecturer, University of Manchester

Jane teaches across all levels of both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Her research interests include the history of older adult nursing and more recently nursing work in the Second World War. She is Deputy Director of the UK Centre for the History of Nursing and Editor of the Bulletin of the UK Association for the History of Nursing. Her interests that she will be bringing to the History of Nursing Society are the translation of research for the public arena and engaging both new and experienced nurses and nursing students in the history of their profession.

Judith Devine

Judith Devine

Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing, University of Bradford

Judith  qualified as a mental health nurse and worked in a variety of acute and community settings before moving into pre-registration nursing teaching in 2005.  She teaches mental health nursing and is currently responsible for delivering nursing history content on pre-registration and nurse associate programmes at the University of Bradford, as well as being Joint Programme Lead.

Judith was a member of the recent Heritage Lottery Funded RCN Service Scrapbooks Project and involved as part of a team of volunteers transcribing and researching World War 1 Nursing diaries and this experience led her to apply to become more involved in the History of Nursing Society.  

Research interests include Asylums and The First World  War and mental health nursing education. 

Margaret Graham

Margaret Graham

Retired Senior Nurse Manager (Public Health)

Margaret trained at the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) and Purdysburn Psychiatric Hospital Belfast, where she completed a dual qualification. Margaret resigned as a ward sister to travel to Australia where she worked and traveled until returning to Belfast to undertake the Health Visitor certificate. Margaret worked as a public health nurse in Belfast, where her career developed into management. Margaret also worked at the Department of Health & Social Services as Business and Contracts Manager for post-registration nursing, with responsibility for commissioning education and training. 

Margaret is lead for the History of Nursing Society in Northern Ireland. Under her initiative, the society gathered narratives in Northern Ireland from nurses who had worked through the period of civil unrest known as the Troubles. These were published in Nurses' Voices from the Northern Ireland Troubles. In 2015, a BBC programme inspired by the book was aired regionally. 

Along with other members of the society in Northern Ireland, Margaret presented the book at RCN Congress 2014 under Inspirational Nurses. 

Panagiotis Poimenidis

Panagiotis Poimenidis

Panos qualified as a register nurse in Greece in 2006. He has worked in a variety of acute and outpatients’ settings. In 2012 he moved to London to further his career. Since 2014 he has worked at Guys and St Thomas Trust (GSTT).

Panos has an interest inpatient and staff experience and the last four years he has been involved in a variety of projects and activities.  In 2015, he became a volunteer at the Florence Nightingale Museum and has participated in various exhibitions and events.  Panos main role was to share his nursing experience, either to health care students or to the public, he has also been involved in leading Art tours for patients and staff at St Thomas Hospital with the collaboration of Guys and St Thomas Charity Art collection department. 

As a member of Guys and St Thomas LGBT (+) Allies forum, he promotes diversity and equality for patients and staff by creating visibility and participating at London Pride and many other of events at GSTT. For all of the aforementioned activities, Panos was awarded with the title Next Generation Florence Nightingale Nurse.

In 2017, as a member of RCN History of Nursing society he contributed to an exhibition about diversity in nursing with entitled Hidden in Plain Sight: Celebrating Nursing Diversity organised by RCN Library and Heritage department.  

Dianne Yarwood

Dianne Yarwood

Retired Nurse Educationalist

Diane qualified as a general nurse in 1968 in Cardiff, but spent the rest of her career working in various London hospitals and schools of nursing, including Guy’s, Charing Cross and The Royal London. Over the years she studied biological and behavioural sciences at degree and masters levels, but throughout that time was an amateur, but enthusiastic historian, having first studied the history of nursing as part of the London University Diploma in Nursing in the 1970s. Dianne has been an RCN member since she was a student during the 1960s and has been a member of the RCN History of Nursing Society since its inception. She is currently secretary of the London & South East history of nursing group and is actively involved in an oral history project for the Charing Cross Hospital Nurses League.


Professional Lead: Teresa Doherty

Page last updated - 24/05/2019