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Nursing Studies marks diamond jubilee

Edinburgh is celebrating the 60th anniversary of Europe’s longest-standing university nursing department.

Royal and civic receptions, major conferences and special lectures have been marking the start of Nursing Studies at the University in 1956.

On 19 April, the University’s Chancellor, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, joined former nursing graduates and University staff to celebrate how Edinburgh has helped transform the profession.

HRH The Princess Royal unveils plaque at Nursing Studies

Pioneers and trailblazers

When Edinburgh nursing students entered the wards in the early 1960s they blazed a trail in a profession that until then had not seen nurses educated in a university setting.

“Nursing was run in a military fashion. No one asked questions about what they were asked to do. They did as they were told. The degree nurses were encouraged to question what they saw and look for how things could be done better. They were pioneers of the profession.”

Dr Sheila RodgersHead of Nursing Studies

Today all nurses in Scotland require a degree.

A royal appointment

Princess Anne met some of the first graduates from the course during the reception at the Old Medical Quad on Teviot Place.

Earlier this year the Royal College of Nursing International Nursing Research Conference was held in Edinburgh to coincide with the anniversary.

On 3 November the biannual Elsie Stephenson memorial lecture, named after the course’s first director, will mark the diamond jubilee.

Honouring the past; looking to the future

Leaps in the Dark, an alumni conference, will be held on 4 November. It will bring together the diverse group of nursing graduates to document the bold steps taken by individuals and groups during the department’s history.

Nursing Studies at Edinburgh has maintained a vital role in the profession. It continues to undertake ground-breaking research and prepare future leaders through a sustained programme of quality teaching and clinical experience.