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Nursing and higher education - natural allies

journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-26, 13:06 authored by Jacinta Kelly
On Remembrance Day, all efforts are spent to remember those who fell in the various wars that have taken place and continue to take place all over the world. We are urged to observe a solemn two minute silence in remembrance of a time when people and everyday living was thrown into utter chaos, displacement and tragedy. It is often said that under normal conditions, nursing, while recognised as artistry and grace, is also a very involving and demanding way of life, sometimes tough and uncompromising. In circumstances of war demands on nursing are amplified and sources of sustenance are essential when spirits and resources flag. Beneficial alliances are required and are often formed in the most seemingly unlikely places. The artistry of nursing and academia are, and have been for some time, considered uncomfortable bedfellows. Nursing could not conform so readily to academic standards and conventions. To quiet amazement, during the Second World War (1939-1945) academic anxiety was quickly dispelled and nursing and academia were found to be natural allies. This came about when examination halls at the University of Cambridge were used as an annexe of Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Patient belongings were stowed carefully in rising shelves and where previously students, patrolled by invigilators, pored over examination questions at writing tables, nurses now cared for large numbers of patients in collapsible beds, notably with signature envelop corners still very much on point. Nursing and academia combined to accommodate family with seating and cups of tea and occasionally entertained with piano and song in the spacious and salubrious oak panelled hall. With the presence of tin helmets and military kit serving as the only reminders that a war raged across the world and nurses cosily housed in the university senior common rooms; all combined to ensure everyone suffered under the most comfortable circumstances.



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Publication title

British Journal of Nursing




Mark Allen Healthcare


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Legacy Faculty/School/Department

ARCHIVED Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education (until September 2018)

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