Joint Head of the Royal College of Nursing Library and Archive Service, and RCN Professional Lead for History of Nursing
Suicide The Passing Bell – Sources for those Unspoken
The Passing Bell was the obituaries column for the British Journal of Nursing, one of the few sources to use the word ‘suicide’ when writing about a nurses’ death. The stories of those who died by suicide were often left unspoken – causes for their deaths obscured. This paper will look at when and where suicide of nurses was discussed openly, and investigate which sources are more likely to yield results. It will look at some of the language used and how best to be creative when searching for the unspoken words that were never put to paper.
This paper will explore the RCN Library and Archive Collections for sources that consider the mental health and self-care of nurses, rather than their patients. As a membership organisation the Royal College of Nursing has led the way in reviewing, reporting and promoting the health of nurses; and I will feature some of the past campaigns that have brought attention to this important work.
I will highlight the increasing number of RCN historical sources that are available to researchers online and give examples of how to access and search these. It will also reference wider physical sources within the RCN collections that require on site research visits.
My paper will include sharing details of an exciting and significant online resource for the history of nursing that we will be launching in 2022.
Teresa is Joint Head of the Royal College of Nursing Library and Archive Service, and RCN Professional Lead for History of Nursing. Previously she was Head of Special Collections, The Women’s Library. She’s led a number of initiatives to make collections more accessible and increase engagement with researchers and the wider public.