GivingTuesday Campaign 2023

#GivingTuesday is quickly approaching!

In 2008, former curator Paul Robertson opened the Service to Humanity: Nursing Education at Kingston General Hospital gallery. Since then, it has been enjoyed by thousands of museum guests. But 2008 was a long time ago, and at the museum, we know many other aspects of Canada’s nursing heritage deserve to be represented and celebrated.

This #GivingTuesday, we are asking for your support as we work to revitalize the way we tell the story of Canada’s nursing history and change the focus from nursing education to the skilled and often challenging work of a professional nurse.

From now until #GivingTuesday, November 28th, we will share some of the stories and artifacts that, with your support, we hope to feature in an updated gallery dedicated to Canada’s hard-working nurses who give of themselves daily. Watch this page for updates!

What is #GivingTuesday?

#GivingTuesday is the world’s largest generosity movement.

#GivingTuesday is a time when Canadians, charities, and businesses come together to celebrate giving and participate in activities that support charities and non-profits; to thank, help, give, show kindness, and share what they have with those in need.

Every act of generosity counts. Everybody has something to give.

To support our #GivingTuesday campaign, please click the donate button on Tuesday, November 28th.

Sharing New Stories at the Museum of Health Care

Nurses are on the front line when health crises strike, caring for patients in sometimes impossible circumstances. That can be said for current health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, but also past health crises like the tuberculosis epidemic in Canada in the early to mid-20th century.

Though hidden in the background of this picture, nurses like these at the Muskoka Cottage Sanitorium in 1903 were responsible for the care of patients with tuberculosis, with the constant threat of catching the deadly disease themselves. Public health nurses were also dispensed to visit the homes of tuberculous patients, provide post-sanatorium follow-up, educate, provide sputum boxes and disposable cheese-cloth handkerchiefs, and conduct disinfections.

To support our #GivingTuesday campaign, please click the donate button on Tuesday, November 28th.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, over 4000 Canadian nurses volunteered to work to save the lives of soldiers overseas. This second generation of Nursing Sisters or “Bluebirds” were a well-trained work force that benefitted from the medical innovations of the First World War. As seen in this picture, Nursing Sisters not only received soldiers freshly wounded from battle, but aided in their recovery following ground breaking plastic surgery and other treatments. But who were these women? Why did they enlist? What were their perceptions of their service? We hope to highlight these stories and more!

To support our #GivingTuesday campaign, please click the donate button on Tuesday, November 28th.

Even today, the cap is an iconic symbol of nursing (just look at any nurse Halloween costume). When nursing was being established as a profession involving standardised education and expectations, caps served a special role in identifying nurses as highly trained professionals. There have been many different styles of caps designed for different times and different places, and drawing inspiration from other kinds of headgear. Some evoked the veil of a nun, to recognise the legacy of religious nursing. Some were based on the caps of female domestic servants, intended to hold the hair back, although increasing stylization made nurses’ caps less practical and more decorative as time went on.

The Museum holds a large collection of these spectacular caps!

To support our #GivingTuesday campaign, please click the donate button on Tuesday, November 28th.

Leading home and community care since 1897, the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) was one of the first organizations in Canada to provide home nursing care and public health nursing. It was founded in Ottawa, Ontario on 9 January 1897 and created by Lady Aberdeen, wife of Canadian Governor General Lord Aberdeen as a gift for Queen Victoria’s Diamond 60th Anniversary of her ascent to the throne.

The VON was established to ensure that care was available, affordable and accessible to everyone in Canada — no matter where they lived. VON was among the first in Canada to offer prenatal education, well-baby clinics, school health services, visiting nurses and coordinated home care programs. The organization remains an innovators and trailblazer in home and community care to this day.

Help us celebrate the public health nurse!

To support our #GivingTuesday campaign, please click the donate button on Tuesday, November 28th.

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