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Nursing stories from WWI unveiled

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RCN, Molly Case, urses in wartime, exhibition, writerin-residence, never forgetWartime nursing brought into the digital age as personal stories of First World War nurses uncovered.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is creating a new online resource showcasing the long-lost stories of nine nurses from the First World War.

By digitising personal scrapbooks and diaries, the project will build a bridge across the past century, connecting the stories of WW1 nurses to the tales of those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Using the nurses’ own words, sketches and photographs, the resource will reveal the true stories of defence nurses past and present, shining a light on unsung heroes of the nursing profession.

The project coincides with the RCN’s first ever defence nursing exhibition, taking place from April to September 2017. For further information follow #histnursing

The Royal College of Nursing’s Library and Heritage Centre is home to the largest nursing specific collection of materials in Europe, which can also be used for research into family history.

Registered nurse, published poet and performer Molly Case will feature as writer in residence during this time, drawing inspiration from nursing stories to create new material, teach creative writing workshops to nursing staff and the general public.

Born and brought up in south London, Molly Case received a First class degree in Creative Writing and English Literature from Bath Spa University during which time she spent two years as a care worker, looking after people with dementia.

After Bath, she decided to pursue a career in nursing and is currently working at King’s College Hospital, London, as a cardiac nurse.

She hopes to get poetry into more hospitals by setting up a team of volunteer poets to provide bedside workshops bringing the immediacy of poetic creativity to those who may not have thought about writing before.

In April 2013 she achieved national recognition after performing her poem ‘Nursing the Nation’ at the Royal College of Nursing, gaining over 350,000 views on YouTube in just a few months.

Molly has since performed her poetry up and down the country, at Glastonbury Festival, for example, and all over Europe. She is also a multiple slam winner and met the Queen at Buckingham Palace as part of the Contemporary British Poetry celebrations.

Her debut collection of poetry, ‘Underneath the Roses Where I Remembered Everything’, was published by Burning Eye Books.

Sarah Chaney, the RCN’s Audience Engagement Manager, said: “This unique project will breathe new life into long-archived artefacts.

“These diaries and scrapbooks reveal so much about the nurses who created them, and it will be fascinating to uncover what life was like for those caring for others during the First World War.

“This is about more than history, it is about storytelling, which is why we’re so excited to welcome Molly Case as our first ever writer in residence.

“As a nurse and poet she can draw together the intricacies of nursing with the magic of words to inspire a whole new generation of nursing stories.”

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