The Big 7-Tea Celebration of Nursing in the NHS
An enthusiastic team of Nursing and Midwifery academics secured £1,500 of Public Engagement Funding and organised a public exhibition and NHS “Big 7Tea” on Thursday 5 July 2018 at Edinburgh Napier University’s Sighthill Campus to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the National Health Service (NHS).
Led by myself (Gillian Taylor), the five strong team spent several months pulling together a fun filled and informative day of activities for staff, students, health and social care professionals and members of the public to enjoy.
The free exhibition entitled “Celebrating 70 years of Nursing and Midwifery in our National Health Service (NHS) Scotland” aimed to raise awareness of the history and evolution of Nursing and Midwifery education, research and practice. In particular, we wanted to highlight the role of Nurses and Midwives within Scottish/UK society from the inception of the National Health Service (NHS) on 5 July 1948 to 5 July 2018 and gather hopes and aspirations for the future of the NHS in Scotland.
In support of the exhibition a series of decade posters with historical photographs and interesting facts from the 1940’s to present day were designed and displayed. Colleagues from Lothian Health Service Archive at the University of Edinburgh were helpful in pulling together historical images of Nurses and Midwives in action across various parts of the NHS in Scotland.
The team were also keen to raise awareness of academic and clinical career pathways within Nursing and Midwifery and opportunities for inter-professional education, research and practice and so they incorporated a quiz into the exhibition with prizes for the top three fully correct answers to all ten historical questions. The quiz promoted public participation and engagement with the exhibits – with some attendees requesting that the questions could have been easier!
An Edinburgh Napier University second year nursing student won the first prize of a £70 Blackwell’s Book Shop gift voucher, with second and third prizes being awarded to administration staff at the university who took part.
Professor Tracy Humphrey, Dean of the School of Health and Social Care at Edinburgh Napier University, launched the exhibit and the attendees enjoyed tea, coffee and seventy NHS inspired delicious cupcakes, courtesy of a local baker, which were quickly devoured!
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland also supported the event with a stand displaying key nursing artefacts, documents and images. One such object was the “Case of Memories” which contained District Nursing items or replicas (e.g. bandages, surgical spirit, antiseptic cream and nursing stories) designed to facilitate reminiscence and the sharing of memories. Alison O’Donnell from the RCN History of Nursing Forum, a keen nursing historian, attended and mingled throughout the day to answer questions from inquisitive visitors about the history of Nursing and Midwifery.
Two interactive trees, themed for autumn and spring, were also showcased and people invited to write and post their experiences of Nursing and Midwifery in the NHS and their hopes and aspirations for the future of the National Health Service.
A series of ‘vox pop’ videos was pre-recorded by the team, featuring retired and current nurses and academic staff, along with current students, talking about their experiences of working in the NHS and education . This was screened throughout the day so people could sit and listen to a range of real-life stories about what ward or community life is really like, and some of the changes throughout the history of the NHS.
The exhibition also raised money, via donations, for Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation by hosting a “Big7Tea”. A total of £138.06 was raised on the day! The team have decided to divide this money equally between NHS Lothian’s Labour Suite Education and Equipment Fund and NHS Lothian’s Specialist Palliative Care Fund.
A popular hit amongst visitors whilst browsing the exhibition was a selfie-booth, where old nursing uniforms and props could be worn, and images taken on a standalone machine that printed the photos for people to take away. The exact number of selfies taken cannot be disclosed but the machine almost broke down at one point in the afternoon from over use!
The organizing team are hopeful of taking the exhibition on tour as it has been very popular with staff, students and the public who dropped in to see it. Plans are in progress for showcasing the exhibit within the Scottish Parliament early in 2019, RCN Congress 2019 and a retired Queen’s Nurse gathering in Inverness on Saturday 1st September 2018. The team also hope that the materials produced and used within the exhibition can be used to support induction and teaching activities within the undergraduate Nursing and Midwifery Programmes.
Thank you again for awarding funding for this exhibition and to everyone involved in organizing the event, helping to secure such a successful day.
I gratefully acknowledge funding for this project from the School of Health and Social Care at Edinburgh Napier University (ENU) and the ingenious support of academic colleagues Siobhan O’Connor, Bruce Harper-McDonald, Margaret Moran and Connie McLuckie.
I would also like to acknowledge the invaluable support and expertise of ENU’s Marketing and Communications Business Partner Brenda McIlwraith.
Finally, I would like to mention the contribution and professional services provided by ENU’s Information Services, particularly Mark Pentler, Print Services and Facilities and Estates Department without whom the exhibition would not have been possible.