CfA Workshop: “Nursing care in times of epidemics and pandemics – historical and ethical issues”

Deadline for abstracts: November 30th, 2020

Deadline for manuscripts: July 31st, 2021

About the Workshop

The "European Association for the History of Nursing" and the “European Journal for Nursing History and Ethics” invites to submit contributions to an international workshop on this topic, where precirculated papers will be discussed. Depending on the development of the COVID-19 pandemic, the exchange can thus take place in person or online. It is desirable that the original papers will be published in the European Journal for Nursing History and Ethics, 4th issue 2022 (see:

About the topic

The COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge of historical significance. For the first time since the 1950s and 1960s, the persuasion of being an immunized society was shaken. Diseases and pandemics were long portrayed in public history as historical events that modern scientific medicine was able to happily overcome thanks to the invention of antibiotics and vaccination programmes. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the perspective on the history of epidemics; currently the question arises how we can learn from past pandemics today. At the same time, the recent discussion shows that in the context of pandemics, ethical challenges to the health care system – such as questions of distributive justice – are becoming particularly acute. Last but not least, against the background of the COVID-19 crisis, society is becoming increasingly aware of the crucial importance of nurses in the health care system.

The workshop aims on the one hand to make nurses visible as actors in the history of pandemics in the various European countries, and on the other hand to discuss ethical challenges for nurses in both historical and current contexts.

Possible historical topics are:

·         Care during the cholera epidemics in the 19th century

·         Role of nurses and nursing practices during the influenza pandemics of 1889-1895 ("Russian Flu"); 1918-1920 ("Spanish Flu"), 1957 ("Asian Flu") and 1968-1970 ("Hong Kong Flu")

·         Care of endemically occurring infectious diseases: tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, typhoid, dysentery

·         Dealing with sexually transmitted diseases in nursing care: syphilis, HIV and AIDS, etc.

·         Role of nurses in vaccination programmes

·         Hygiene knowledge as nursing knowledge

Possible ethical topics could refer to the current ethical challenges for nurses in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, but could also address the dealing with other infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, AIDS, syphilis:

·         Triage and intensive nursing care

·         Protection against infection and restrictions on freedom

·         Scarcity and distribution of resources

·         "Missed nursing care"

·         Moral distress

·         Dealing with stigmatised diseases

·         Nursing care of older people and people in vulnerable life situations in a pandemic: the health system response

The aim of the workshop is to bring historical and ethical research on nursing in times of epidemics and pandemics into dialogue with each other.

Please submit your abstract (max 500 words) in English and separately a short CV by November 30th 2020 to Prof. Dr. Susanne Kreutzer and Prof. Dr. Karen Nolte.