Library Europe's largest nursing-specific collection

Oral History Collection

Oral histories

Over 600 recordings of individuals from across the nursing profession are available to users. Their life stories are an insight into their personal experiences of nurse training and clinical skills. Their voices tell how nursing practice has changed over time and how individual lives of nursing staff and patients were affected by the great social, political, economic and health changes that took place.

These nursing voices from across the UK reflect the diversity of our members, through dialect and accents you can hear unique stories, both sad and funny. There are 12 sub collections, 8 being research projects focusing on specific places or nursing specialisms give voice to the breadth of nursing specialisms, including district nursing, mental health, and tuberculosis.

The collection also includes interviews with some of the most inspirational nursing leaders, such as Annie Altschul, Baroness Jean McFarlane, Catherine Hall and Mona Grey.

RCN Members continue to add to the collection, via regular interviews with the RCN History of Nursing Society or specific projects such as the 2015 Defence Nurses Forum 1980s-1990s project. Digital recordings and transcripts are available for the majority of the collection which can be accessed by appointment either at RCN Archives in Edinburgh or at the Library and Heritage Centre in London.