Join us for the Agnes Dillion Randolph Lecture

“We shall arrive at the ‘Utopia’ of nursing”:

Reconceptualizing Nursing Labour, 1945-1980

Peter Twohig, PhD

Oct. 27, 2020

12 p.m. (Eastern time) 

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Meeting ID: 932 3977 2328
Passcode: 192133

Following the Second World War, provinces across Canada struggled to meet their nursing labour needs. Provincial governments, hospitals, nursing organizations, and other groups employed a number of strategies--expanding educational opportunities, enticing nurses who left practice back to work, and embarking on community-based care models. But one of the most important strategies was the recasting of nursing labour to encompass not only registered nurses but also other kinds of workers, such as practical nurses, nursing assistants, and nurse aides.

In mid 20th-century Canada, there were significant efforts to improve the education of these kinds of workers, robust discussions about their specific duties, and considerable debate about whether such workers should be regulated. This presentation will consider the ways in which nursing labour was recast after the Second World War to create a credentialed community of practice that encompassed a number of different groups.

More about our speaker

Dr. Peter Twohig is a professor of history at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His research specialty is the organization of health care work. His books include Labour in the Laboratory: Medical Laboratory Workers in the Maritimes, 1900-1950 (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005) and Challenge and Change: A History of The Dalhousie School of Nursing, 1949-1989 (Fernwood Books Ltd, 1998). His current research, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, examines the ways in which different parts of Canada have responded to shortages of health-care workers through altering public policy, educational paths, and other means. His forthcoming book is Working in Care: Health Care Workers in Canada, 1950-Present.

Dr. Twohig is the 2020 recipient of the Agnes Dillon Randolph Award from the Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry at the University of Virginia School of Nursing. The Randolph Award, named in honor of one of Virginia’s early nursing leaders, recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the field of nursing history.

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