Teresa Doherty, Joint Head, RCN Library and Archive Service
The UKAHN Bulletin
Volume 10 (1) 2022

This fourth instalment of Gale’s award-winning Women’s Studies Archive programme, Female Forerunners Worldwide,[1] focuses on individual women and organisations around the world who have broken new paths in society through business, social reform, popular culture, health care, and more.

The content includes a focus on historical nursing journals held by the Royal College of Nursing Library and Archive Service.  Digitisation opens these titles up to an online audience and greatly improves access and searchability.  The journals are an untapped resource where browsing through multiple physical issues is not feasible.  Searching by personal name or by specific topics has never been easier!

The RCN Library and Archive Service holds the largest collection on nursing in Europe, and its historical collections are open by appointment to all researchers.[2] The headquarters in London are open to the public to view our history of nursing exhibitions.  The printed collections are held in London and the archives are held in Edinburgh, so please contact us to avoid a wasted visit!

As well as key UK journals the RCN contribution includes many international titles.  To our knowledge none of these are currently available online, and many are of rare journals which are not readily available in other collections.  The full list of twenty-two journals held at the RCN included in Female Forerunners Worldwide are as follows:

Australian Bush Nursing Journal; The Australian Nurses’ Journal; Bedside Nurse; The British Red Cross; Society Quarterly Review; The Catholic Nurse; District Nursing; Gown and Gloves; The International Nursing Bulletin; Jamaican Nurse; Nigerian Nurse; The Nightingale Fellowship Journal; Nurse Education News; Nurses’ Journal of the Pacific Coast; Nursing Notes; The Nursing Record; Nursing Times; Philippine Journal of Nursing; Quarterly Journal for Chinese Nurses; Queen’s Nurses’ Magazine; South African Nursing Journal; The Trained Nurse; and The Zambia Nurse

Some titles are very well known to researchers such as Nursing Times which published multiple issues per year.   Other titles such as Nigerian Nurse published for a shorter duration with only a few issues per year.  Each title holds incredible wealth of information on the history of nursing and bringing them together enables more comparative research to be undertaken.

In addition to the RCN contributions the Gale online collection includes the Annual Report of the Society for the Health of Women and Children from the Mitchell Library in Australia, and the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses Records 1908-1951 from the New York Public Library.

Access is mainly provided through academic libraries including the British Library – you may need to ask your librarian to arrange access.  RCN members will be able to access the resource using their RCN membership login details.

This online collection complements the Nursing Registers collection which we digitised in collaboration with Ancestry, you can find out more on our Family History page,[3] our Service Scrapbooks resource,[4] and our RCN Digital Archive[5] which has a growing number of freely available resources online.

We are very excited to be involved in this project and look forward to seeing the research that this resource will support.

Web links mentioned in the text

[1] https://www.gale.com/intl/c/womens-studies-archive-female-forerunners-worldwide

[2] https://www.rcn.org.uk/library/

[3] https://www.rcn.org.uk/library/archives/Family-history

[4] https://www.rcn.org.uk/servicescrapbooks/

[5] https://rcn.access.preservica.com/