Pamela Wood

Historical Imagination: The Past is Always Present

The past is always with us, so why not utilise it in nursing education? Engaging with the past means we use our historical imagination, not only to learn about nursing in decades gone by but to see the present in a new way. This presentation will show how nurse educators can use the past and draw on students’ historical imagination. As a particular example, it will show how ideas and practices related to preventing and treating wound sepsis 100 years ago can challenge us today.



Associate Professor Pamela Wood, PhD, RN.  Dr Pamela Wood is an internationally recognised researcher in nursing history and has published extensively in this field. Her PhD in history explored the meaning of ‘dirt’ in nineteenth-century colonial New Zealand and the way it shaped ideas about public health. Her research now focuses on what has shaped people’s health beliefs and practices, and the way nurses in the early twentieth century adapted their hospital training to create new services and nursing practice in the marginal areas of rural backblocks, urban slums and war. She has a particular interest in exploring how nurses and nursing students today can use their historical imagination in addressing current professional issues. Dr Wood has extensive experience in undergraduate and postgraduate nursing education in New Zealand and Australia. She is currently Associate Professor at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Napier, New Zealand, and Director of the Nursing and Health History Research Programme in its Centre of Health Research.