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With permission: Hannah by Jackie Laird

In January we eased gently into 2020, honoured that the World Health Organisation had identified this year as Year of the Nurse and Midwife. Given that many nurses have started their career doing nursing programmes at the University of Dundee and several thriving nursing programmes in the School of Health Sciences today we decided to celebrate this. We started making plans and the idea of a Time Capsule emerged which sparked a lot of interest. I have been a nurse for 30 years and so much has changed in that time, so we agreed we would collect significant items from 2020 and store these in a Time Capsule for our Future Nurses to find.

A small project team was set up to take this forward but by March the COVID-19 outbreak had arrived, and conversations moved to the worldwide pandemic. National advice was issued to wash our hands regularly to avoid catching it, and at University level I remember hand sanitisers appeared at entrances and receptions. Unknown to us at that time – life as we knew it was about to change dramatically and by the end of March the University of Dundee Campuses, like all other Universities, schools and most businesses were closed until further notice.

As a School with many nurse academics and student nurses, we reeled with the shock of what was happening but more so – what could we do to take care of this situation! As academics and teachers, we started to adjust to life working at home. However, while the Government’s guidance for the public was ‘Stay at Home’ many of our student nurses were going into work in health care settings to support the delivery of much needed lifesaving care to the public. Curiously, the media began to report nurses as ‘heroes’ or ‘angels’ and ‘working on the frontline’. These are terms we generally don’t relate to as nurses, working every day in our local hospitals and communities. In fact, nursing is far less ethereal, or war like and much more human, personal and practical. We have a strong professional code of integrity and trust, prioritising people and giving the compassionate care we would want for our own families. I have always been incredibly proud to be able to call myself a nurse and regard nursing as synonymous to healthcare. For me nurses are highly skilled and knowledgeable professionals who work incredibly hard, both to achieve a Nursing Degree and every day thereafter in the work they do.

We agreed that the Nursing Time Capsule project is even more important in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is our response to Nursing in 2020 and we are collecting significant objects, letters to the future, blogs, reflections or diary entries, poems from our nursing community over the course of this year. We are working with the University Archivist so we can safely store our precious items in a sealed box for 30 years when our Future Nurses, Students and Academics will open it and discover what we have left for them.

Calling all University of Dundee Nursing For further information please contact Emma Lamont. Email: nursing-timecapsule@dundee.ac.uk

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