The Early Years of the NHRU – Les premières années de l’URHN

Appel à communications : Colloque annuel de l'Association canadienne pour  l'histoire du Nursing – Centre d'histoire des régulations sociales

Looking Back on the Early Years of the NHRU and Its Founders

Dr. Sarah Glassford, University of Windsor

[La traduction française est accessibe ici]

I arrived at what was then the Associated Medical Services (AMS) Nursing History Research Unit (NHRU) in July 2007 fresh from my PhD defence, as its first (I think?) postdoctoral fellow. At only two years old, the NHRU was still in its infancy at that time. I had only a passing acquaintance with the History of Nursing and History of Medicine scholarly communities, and no nurse training, so I was not sure what to expect from a history cluster in a School of Nursing. Coming from an Arts and Humanities background it was odd to know I would have an office down the hall from rooms where student nurses learned practical skills, in a building attached to a large hospital complex. A member of my doctoral committee and a couple of PhD peers, however, assured me that I would be in very good hands, and my email contact with the unit through the SSHRC application process was friendly and encouraging. The NHRU turned out to be a great little outpost of history in a sea of health sciences, and a wonderfully supportive context in which to make the transition from student to professional.

Upon finally meeting unit co-founders and nurse-historians Dr. Meryn Stuart, Dr. Jayne Elliott, and Dr. Cynthia Toman in the unit’s little pod of offices in the Roger Guindon building (*I’m not sure I could successfully navigate its confusing corridors and stairwells anymore!), my initial impressions were of a diverse set of personalities: blunt, suffer-no-fools Meryn; soft-spoken Cynthia; briskly efficient Jayne. I wasn’t entirely wrong but, as usual, first impressions revealed only a small part of the larger picture. I soon realized this tight-knit trio had honed their effectiveness as a team to the point where they seemed to have their own short-hand in conversation and email. I later learned that this nuanced understanding of each other’s strengths, weaknesses, interests, and approaches had emerged in part through the hard work of establishing a strong nursing history presence at the University of Ottawa and securing funding from AMS and the university to create the NHRU. There must have been occasional tensions or disagreements between the three of them, given that they worked so closely together, but if so these incidents never seemed to interrupt the smooth flow of the unit’s daily life.

By the time I arrived, Meryn, Cynthia, and Jayne were proud of what they had already accomplished in the unit’s first two years and had at least half a dozen projects on the go – but since all three of them were nearing retirement age, they were also thinking ahead to the future of the unit and the legacy they would leave. The addition of Marie-Claude Thifault to the ranks of nurse-historians in the School of Nursing was an important step already taken in this direction, securing both a smooth leadership transition as well as a stronger French-language basis for the bilingual unit. During my two years in the unit I watched Meryn, Cynthia, Jayne, and Marie-Claude focus on attracting graduate students, developing innovative courses and methods of course delivery, securing other postdoctoral fellows, and making connections with scholars in other disciplines at the university whose research revolved around the history of health and health care. All of this was done in addition to their various regular teaching, research, service, and/or administrative responsibilities. Perhaps it was simply a shared sense that the unit had to prove itself in its early days to justify its funding and/or ongoing university support, but I think the high degree of productivity was also a shared personal characteristic of these four scholars. They were people who got things done.

By the time my fellowship ended it was clear to me that the creation of the unit by the three founders was not a move to garner prestige or monopolize scarce resources, but rather the result of a real passion for grounding student nurses and the nursing profession in a sense of the past, while at the same time enriching the study of history by using nursing as a window into the histories of women, labour, health care, and society. The degree to which the NHRU has continued to grow and thrive since the departure of its three founders is therefore, in my opinion, a testament not only to the impressive efforts of their successors, but also to the solid groundwork the founders established. Meryn Stuart, Cynthia Toman, and Jayne Elliott conceived of a Nursing History Research Unit that would benefit not only themselves and their students, but also those who would follow them, and indeed the nursing profession at large – and they did all they could to build it that way.

Dr. Sarah Glassford is Archivist and Librarian at the Rare Books & Special Collections of the Leddy Library at the University of Windsor. 

15 ans de l’Unité – Unit 15th Birthday

Créée en 2005, l’Unité de recherche sur l’histoire du nursing fête cette année ses 15 ans. À cette occasion, nous avons voulu célébrer les femmes qui ont contribué à sa création puis à son développement. Pour ce faire, nous publierons régulièrement, au cours des prochaines semaines, des textes d’hommage à nos fondatrices, Meryn Stuart, Cynthia Toman et Jayne Elliott, rédigés par d’ancien.ne.s membres ou des ami.e.s proches de l’Unité.

Created in 2005, the Nursing History Research Unit is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. On this occasion, we wanted to celebrate the women who contributed to its creation and then to its development. To do this, we will regularly publish, over the next few weeks, tribute texts to our founders, Meryn Stuart, Cynthia Toman and Jayne Elliott, written by former members or close friends of the Unit.

Les « vieux » appellent à l’aide humanitaire

Le 10 novembre prochain, notre directrice Marie-Claude Thifault participera à une table-ronde sur le modèle québécois de prise en charge des personnes âgées.

Après les fous crient au secours (1961)… les vieux appellent à l’aide humanitaire (2020) : des ratées pour le modèle québécois ?

10 Novembre 2020

11:00 – 12:30 HNE

À propos de cet événement

Cette table ronde propose un point de vue interdisciplinaire sur les négligences révélées à l’égard de nos aînés. La pandémie qui a été particulièrement meurtrière dans les CHSLD a provoqué du même souffle un constat et l’émergence de réflexions multiples sur la place qu’occupent les personnes âgées au sein de la société. Des perspectives du point de vue de la psychologie, de la sociologie et de l’histoire seront abordées pour réfléchir ensemble sur les enjeux de société entourant le vieillissement de la population et les structures de soins pour les personnes du quatrième âge.

  • Martine Lagacé : Le narratif de la vulnérabilité en temps de Covid-19 : entre abandon et protection des personnes aînées
  • Martin Meunier : Rapport aux aînés, rapport au passé? La crise des CHSLD comme révélateur de l’état de la société québécoise?
  • Marie-Claude Thifault : En temps de pandémie : la création d’un espace-récit

Participer à la réunion Zoom https://uottawa-ca.zoom.us/j/92720719980?pwd=aEpydnpicWYyZllobDZhbXhnekdhZz09

ID de réunion : 927 2071 9980Code secret : F9hma8Une seule touche sur l’appareil mobile+12042727920,,92720719980#,,,,,,0#,,844244# Canada+14388097799,,92720719980#,,,,,,0#,,844244# Canad

Concours photovoix du Congrès (annulé) de l’ACHN/CAHN meeting’s (cancelled) photovoice contest

Toutes les propositions du concours de photovoix (incluant les deux gagnantes) qui avait été organisé dans le cadre du congrès, malheureusement annulé, de l’Association canadienne pour l’histoire du nursing, peuvent désormais être visionnées ici :

All the propositions made for the photovoice contest (including the two winners), originally organized for the Canadian Association for the History of Nursing annual meeting that was cancelled, can be seen here :

Les archives sensibles

Le CHRS organise une rencontre avec notre membre Isabelle Perreault le mercredi le 11 novembre 2020 à 12h sur Zoom à destination de ses étudiant.e.s.

Sujet : Discussion autour des archives sensibles
Invitée :  Isabelle Perreault, membre régulière au CHRS et professeure au département de criminologie de l’Université d’Ottawa

Cette discussion avec Isabelle portera sur les archives « sensibles ». Depuis près de 20 ans, elle travaille à partir de dossiers psychiatriques, d’enquêtes du coroner et de décisions judiciaires. Cette rencontre sera l’occasion de discuter des enjeux méthodologiques et éthiques lorsqu’on récolte, analyse et diffuse des résultats de recherche à partir de dossiers nominatifs, de traces visuelles et de correspondances personnelles. Bref, à partir de ses projets et de vos projets de recherche respectifs, cette rencontre donnera lieu à des échanges et alimentera des réflexions sur les manières de (re)donner la parole aux personnes qui se sont suicidées, qui ont été psychiatrisées et institutionnalisées ou encore marginalisées et/ou criminalisées.

Si vous êtes intéressé.e par cette activité, communiquez avec petit.kim@uqam.ca pour vous inscrire, elle vous enverra un lien zoom quelques jours avant la rencontre.

La dimension politique des régulations sociales

L’équipe du Centre d’Histoire des Régulations Sociales vient de faire paraitre un ouvrage collectif sur la dimension politique des régulations sociales du XIXe au XXI siècles, intitulé Question sociale et citoyenneté. Notre directrice Marie-Claude Thifault y signe un article sur les malades psychiatriques francophones comme citoyens de « seconde classe ». Les détails de cette partuion sont à découvrir sur le site de l’éditeur.

Infolettre URHN – NRHU Newsletter 2

Nous avons le plaisir de vous transmettre la deuxième infolettre de l’Unité revenant sur les activités et bonnes nouvelles des derniers mois et annonçant quelques-unes des activités à venir de nos membres.

We are very happy to share with you the latest newsletter of our Unit. It takes a look back at our last months activities and presents some of our members’ activities to come.