An exhibition at the Royal College of Nursing in Marylebone, London, aims to showcase the stories of nurses who may have been overlooked in the past, having faced challenges of racism, homophobia and other discrimination in their profession. Hidden in plain sight: Celebrating nursing diversity includes letters, photographs and personal items from RCN members, detailing their diverse experiences.
Wendy Irwin, head of equality and diversity at the RCN, explained to History Extra: “This exhibition is an attempt to ensure that our archives and our memories of nursing are as representative as possible. There was a recognition that stories drawn from black and minority ethnic nurses, lesbian nurses, nurses from a south Asian background, deaf nurses, and many others remained hidden histories.
“There would have been numerous barriers facing many of these women, from racism to homophobia and as a result, there would have been opportunities that weren’t available to them. Our view was that the profession was poorer for those stories not being told.”