Nursing is a diverse workforce
Nurses care for an increasingly diverse population. We are all different, and nurses see those differences every day, more intimately and personally than most. The history of nursing in the UK is an incredible story, rich with nurses from around the world, from different classes and cultures, an array of personal experiences and distinct life choices. Here at the RCN Library and Archive, we have begun the task of ensuring that this richness is recorded in history, expanding our collection to reflect this diversity and filling the gaps where we have no historical content at all. This journey has led to the exploration of previously untold stories, from the contributions of D/deaf nurses, to the experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) nurses working in the UK, through to networks of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT+) nurses. The more nurses reflect their communities, the better prepared they are to meet the needs of those communities.
We have been asking nurses how personal experiences enhance their work as a nurse. What richness do nurses as individuals bring to patient care? Or perhaps, some personal life choices may be simply incidental to one's work as a nurse. Here is a snapshot of stories that reflect the true diversity of nursing past and present.
This is an original copy of Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole's 1857 autobiography Wonderful adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands. When the War Office refused her request to work as a nurse in the Crimean War, she went anyway, and set up the ‘British Hotel’ to care for soldiers.
Right: Wonderful adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands