Your web browser is outdated and may be insecure

The RCN recommends using an updated browser such as Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome

Unmasked Exhibition

Exhibitions in Scotland

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the personal and professional challenges that nursing and healthcare professionals face every day. The public looked to them as masked heroes but many felt they were just doing their job.

Yet this pandemic, like others before it, exposed the risks taken by nursing professionals at work. Over 850 healthcare workers are thought to have died after contracting COVID-19 in 2020. The pandemic was not equal, impacting on some staff more than others, particularly those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The risk of infection occurred everywhere that nursing took place: whether in the community, in care homes, in mental health or in maternity wards.

This exhibition looks behind the masks, to explore the thoughts, feelings and experiences of nursing staff during COVID-19 and past pandemics.

If visiting in person, the exhibition is open Monday to Thursday from 10am until 4pm.

The exhibition is also available in online.

black and white photo of healthcare worker in PPE with text reading 'unmasked real stories of nursing in covid19'

30 Nov 2023 - 16 May 2024

Learning Hub, RCN Scotland Headquarters (Edinburgh), 42 South Oswald Road, Edinburgh, EH9 2HH

Nursing in COVID-19 - RCN Scotland member stories

Nursing staff played a crucial role in caring for people during the COVID-19 pandemic. This video shares some of the personal and professional challenges nursing staff faced during 2020 and 2021. The quotes used in the film as real lived experiences voiced by actors.

Previous events in our current exhibition series:

Exhibition launch: UNMASKED: Real Stories of Nursing in COVID-19Ā 

Watch the launch of our new exhibition revealing the real experiences of nursing during the COVID-19 pandemic and past pandemics. Hear from Professor Christine Hallett and Amanda Gwinnup on the parallels and differences between nursing during COVID-19 and the 1918 Flu Pandemic, and from Professor Jason Leitch CBE, National Clinical Director of Healthcare Quality and Strategy at the Scottish Government on innovations from the pandemic that may shape future pandemic responses and what has been learnt from COVID-19. At the event we also had a script reading by China Plate Theatre of Humans Not Heroes and view a new short film reflecting the lived experience of nursing staff in Scotland during COVID-19 gathered using SenseMakerĀ®.

Our previous exhibition and events

Exhibition graphic, reads A History of Care or Control? in green font on pale blue background. Paper doll cutout figure representing a nurse in top right corner.

Watch videos of our previous exhibition events:



Exhibition launch event

Learning disabilities professionals explain what we can learn from the experiences of people with a learning disability in the past and more recent history of learning disability nursing, and explore how care for people with learning disabilities has shifted over time with reflections on learning disability nursing today.

A conversation with Learning Disability Nurses

What is it like working as a learning disability nurse? And what do such nurses do? Watch this recording of a panel of learning disability nurses discussing these questions and more at RCN Scotland HQ in Edinburgh.

Celebrating Learning Disability Nursing

Learning disability nurses help people of all ages with learning disabilities to maintain their health and wellbeing and to live their lives as fully and independently as possible. Join our finalists in the Learning Disability Nursing Category of our RCN Scotland Nurse of the Year Awards for an evening of celebration and discussion.  These nursing staff have succeeded in raising standards of care for their patients and clients and have made an outstanding contribution to person-centred care, innovation and high quality services that make a difference.

Page last updated - 21/12/2023