How nurses were trained in the 1950's - UWE donates archive to Bristol Record Office

Issue date: 10 May 2012

Talei Masters and Helen Langton

UWE Bristol is marking International Nurse's Day by donating its collection of unique records of the training undergone by nurses sixty years ago to Bristol Record Office.

UWE's Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Professor Helen Langton, is handing over the collection of large handwritten ledgers on 11 May to Talei Masters, Senior Archivist, at a ceremony at UWE's Glenside campus, where today's nurses are trained.

Dr Langton said, “Nurse training in the South West has changed in many ways over the years. In the 1950's each hospital would have had its own training school, curriculum and ways of working. We now train health care workers across the area but still prepare nurses to provide care and compassion with the same values that tutors gave to their students 60 years ago. The difference of course today is that technology and advances in treatments and medications mean today's nurse has to be able use knowledge from a wide range of subjects.”

Talei said, “We are very pleased to receive these records, which complement earlier nursing records held at Bristol Record Office. Once catalogued, the ledgers will provide a fascinating resource for researchers to explore how nursing training developed during the first decade of the NHS.”

The idea for the handover came from Steve Booth, Associate Head of Department at UWE's Department of Nursing and Midwifery, who recognised that the records, complete with pictures of the trainee nurses in the 1950s and details of the curriculum they followed, was a priceless record of the nursing profession in the recent past.

He said, “By donating these records to Bristol Record Office, the archive will be properly preserved and will hopefully be of use to a wider audience of researchers”.

Today, UWE trains over 1000 health professionals each year and offers a wide range of undergraduate, professional and postgraduate courses for nurses and midwives using state-of-the-art equipment in Bristol and Gloucester.

Bristol Record Office is home to 800 years of Bristol's history and was established in 1924. It is housed in one of three former bonded warehouses standing in Cumberland Basin at the entrance to Bristol's Floating Harbour. It collects and preserves records relating to the city of Bristol and the surrounding area for current and future generations to consult.


Editor's Notes

The event will start at 12.00 noon with the handover taking place at 13.00 hours at UWE's Glenside campus. To attend contact Steve Booth on 01173281143

International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world every May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth. For more information see

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