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Hospital voices: Guy’s and St Thomas’

An oral history of nurses’ and patients’ experiences of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London was commissioned by the Florence Nightingale Museum. The project was funded by the Museum, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital charitable foundation and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education’ project team acted as consultants, advisers and managers of the project.

About the Florence Nightingale Museum

Florence Nightingale museum logo

The Florence Nightingale Museum is a small London museum set in the grounds of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, overlooking the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. Dedicated to the life and times of Florence Nightingale, the museum’s exhibits tell the story of the world’s most famous nurse and one of the most influential women of the 19th century, including her life, the Crimean War and her nursing legacy up to the present day.

The oral history project

The project collected 69 hours of audio interviews plus 13 digitally filmed interviews, along with some old and new photographs and documents. The findings were interrogated to identify links between the words of Florence Nightingale and those of the oral history participants. There were many direct links, seven of which were explored more fully:

  • Nursing as an art
  • Leadership
  • Infection control
  • Nursing duties
  • Patient care
  • Community
  • Progress and innovation.

Florence Nightingale museum exhibition

The oral history collection, focused around these themes, was used as the basis for new a museum exhibition, ‘Hospital Voices’. This interactive exhibition demonstrated how, through the use of oral history, a new historical resource can be developed to work alongside existing traditional collections to bring a legend to life.

The exhibition, which included a range of graphic panels along with listening posts with audio extracts plus a short film, opened on 12th May 2007 and was voted ‘number 1 museum new exhibition’ in The Times.