The History of Nursing group grew out of a concern with the preservation of the provincial nursing heritage. Prior to the formation of the B.C. History of Nursing Professional Practice Group, the History of Nursing Interest Group met for approximately a year. This group had been part of an RNABC History of Nursing Advisory Committee, which was an ad hoc committee of the RNABC Board. This committee had been formed in 1988 to determine what should be done with a history project that had been started for the RNABC’s 75th anniversary in 1983. The Committee had also become concerned about oral history tapes that the RNABC had begun to collect.
The first meeting of the B.C. History of Nursing Professional Practice Group of the RNABC was held May 3, 1990. Their objectives are to provide a forum through which those interested in the history of nursing in British Columbia can exchange ideas and information; to encourage interest in the history of nursing in British Columbia; to promote study and research in the history of nursing in British Columbia; to encourage the preservation of materials related to the history of nursing and the lives of individual nurses; to encourage the teaching of nursing history in educational programs; and to disseminate information about the RNABC to its members. It is open to all nurses and other persons with an interest in the history of nursing who are eligible for membership and have paid required fees.
The stated goal is “to have a provincial history of nursing center in the Lower Mainland that is linked online with other agencies and/or schools of nursing in the province holding nursing artifacts or other archival materials”. Nurses, it was argued, must understand the challenges and opportunities of the past in order to prepare direction for the future. Efforts were made to incorporate nursing history into the curricula of nursing schools and faculties.
The administrative activities of the Group are carried out by an elected Executive Committee composed of a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Recorder, and Committee Chairs. Positions carry two year terms. The first President, Beverly Du Gas (1990-1993) was followed by Helen Shore (1992-1994), Ethel Warbinek (1994-1998), Helen Shore (1998-2000) Sheila Zerr (2000-2003) Lois Blais (2003-2006), and Ethel Warbinek (2006-2008). When the RNABC changed its status and name to become the College of Registered Nurses of B.C., the History of Nursing group became the B.C. History of Nursing Society in 2008.