Press release

Handle with Care: Next generation Nightingales

Celebrating 150 years of the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at King’s College London, Wellcome Collection opens its doors for a late night extravaganza showcasing the complexity of nursing and midwifery care in the 21st century.

Co-created by the staff and students of the School, 'Handle with Care' explores the critical roles that science and the senses play in nursing and midwifery today and reflects on changing practice over the past 150 years, through film, performance, music, talks and a range of interactive activities.

Handle with Care
Friday 17 September 2010, 19.00-23.00
Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE
FREE entry, no need to book

The evening will unfold around a variety of 'stations' throughout the building, each exploring different aspects of modern nursing and midwifery practice. Find out why bikers need to look after their legs and meet a beekeeper to learn why honey isn't just spread on toast. How has nutritional care changed since Florence's day? Taste Crimean beef tea and traditional junket while learning about modern day nutrition and holistic health management. Explore efforts to tackle infant mortality and leave us your anecdotes for our memory cradle, or sit back and enjoy films such as 'Red Cross Pluck' in a short programme of silent films accompanied by live music. The new smart phone app 'Navigating Nightingale' will also be unveiled.

A talks programme will include insights about Florence from her biographer Mark Bostridge and army nurse Lieutenant Colonel Janet Pilgrim describing the challenges of contemporary nursing on the front line. Dubbed 'Florence of Arabia', Janet received the prestigious Royal Red Cross medal for outstanding services, devotion to duty and professional competence in British military nursing during the Iraq conflict.

A mini exhibition organised by the Design Council will showcase design solutions to address infection control, and improve patient dignity. See prototypes of innovative new products including a universal patient gown, a wipe-clean blood pressure cuff and a simple timing device to indicate how long an intravenous drip has been in place.

Professor Anne-Marie Rafferty, Dean of the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery said: "I am delighted that the School has co-created this innovative event - a cornucopia of care. It celebrates the creative contribution of nurses and midwives to the craft of care, building on the past as well as being focused on the future. The event brings together artists and designers with nurses, midwives, historians and biographers in a new creative collaboration. We are thrilled to be working with Wellcome Collection in this exciting way."

Ken Arnold, Head of Public Programmes at the Wellcome Trust, comments: "Nurses and midwives are often the unsung heroes of our healthcare system and few stop to consider the diversity and flexibility of their role. 'Handle with Care' invites visitors to celebrate 150 years of nursing as a profession and learn more about what it means to be a modern day nurse or midwife".

The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery was the world's first professional school of nursing and was established by Florence Nightingale in 1860. Today, the school develops leading-edge nurses and midwives of tomorrow - practitioners, partners, and leaders in their field.

As part of the 150th anniversary celebrations, the School have also convened an academic symposium, 'Navigating Nightingale', at Wellcome Collection on Saturday 18 September. The symposium will see the life and work of Florence Nightingale discussed from a wide variety of angles including war studies, history of medicine, celebrity and the media, religion, travel and life writing.