Discovering and sharing the history of Scotland’s island communities

Hebridean Heroines

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Twentieth Century Queen’s Nurses

Keypoint: This book provides a fascinating insight into the lives of women from the Western Isles of Scotland who worked as district nurses in the mid-twentieth century. 

Contents: Leaving behind their close knit island communities, these intrepid women undertook the long journey by sea and rail to the mainland of Scotland to train as nurses and midwives.  The majority carried out Queen’s district nurse training and maintained that it ‘prepared them to go to the desert to work’ if necessary.  Most of them eventually returned to the islands, to work in a role that required strength of body and mind. 

District nurses worked long hours and were always available when called, regardless of hour, weather conditions or remoteness. Here they describe in their own words their everyday lives, giving us an insight into the challenges they faced and revealing the resilience and strength of character required to do the job.  These women were true Hebridean heroines, regularly going beyond the call of duty without thought for their own comfort, yet maintaining that ‘I was only doing my job, which I loved’.  These stories are their legacy.

About the author: Catherine Morrison completed her General nurse training in Glasgow and subsequently worked as a staff nurse in the Southern General Hospital before training as a midwife in Renfrewshire and then carrying out Queen’s training in Edinburgh. She spent six years working in Canada before returning to Glasgow to take up a ward sister’s post. After some years in Glasgow she took up a post as district nurse in Bernera, Isle of Lewis.  Catherine continued working as a community nurse, becoming community manager and latterly a teaching fellow at Stirling University Campus for nurses in Stornoway. In 2008 she won the Royal College of Nursing’s UK Community Nurse award for initiating an overnight nursing service. 

Categories: Memoir, History, Nursing

Readership:  General