Intellectual disability nursing: An Oral History Project

Bob Gates, Colin Griffiths, Helen L. Atherton, Su McAnelly, Paul Keenan, Sandra Fleming, Carmel Doyle, Michelle Cleary, Paul Sutton

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This unique monograph, based on empirical research, used the oral history approach to explore the careers of 31 intellectual disability nurses from England and the Republic of Ireland; each with at least 30 years' experience.

We sought to understand motives for such long service to nursing practice. Some had worked in the intellectual disability hospitals of the 19th and 20th Centuries. In both jurisdictions these have almost closed and been replaced with smaller living configurations; subsequently few such nurses have experience of these institutions. This makes it important to hear their stories, which were digitally recorded; now forming a unique collection in the Royal College of Nursing's archives. These oral histories when synthesised with prevailing discourse of intellectual disability nursing from literature, and research put into perspective contemporary nursing workforce challenges faced by these nurses in both jurisdictions. Their stories are testament, amongst other things, to a strong 'sense of justice… doing the right thing and making a difference'. Some reported a 'very early interest in working with people with intellectual disabilities'. And at 'journey’s end' sadly, almost universally, they reported a sense of being 'undervalued'. Their narratives articulate enormous health and social care change witnessed over three decades or more. But above all else they give voice to commitment, dedication, and kindness to a vulnerable, and often marginalised people, those with intellectual disabilities, as such it gives voice to otherwise 'Untold Stories'.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBingley
Number of pages232
ISBN (Electronic)9781839821523, 9781839821547
ISBN (Print)9781839821554
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2020

Publication series

NameEmerald points


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