Nurses Voices from the Northern Ireland Troubles

5th November 2015

The conflict in Northern Ireland had a huge impact on the wellbeing of nurses and other health professionals. Recently research starts to focus more on the helpers and how they coped with their work and traumatic experiences. Here some extracts from the book:

"The worst of times brought out the best in people - The Northern Ireland Troubles were a devastating time for the whole community. Between August 1969 when British troops were deployed (following severe civil unrest) and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, more than 3,600 people were killed and tens of thousands injured.

For the healthcare professionals who cared for the victims and their families, the worst of times brought out the best in people. Nurses cared for their patients under extremely testing conditions - from hospital wards under guard by security personnel who often became the target of armed paramilitaries, to community interfaces where staff had to negotiate barricades in order to see their patients at home.

The resilience of the nursing workforce was outstanding as they carried out their roles, day in, day out, holding the hands of the dying, treating the wounds of the injured and supporting the recovery of all those affected by the conflict.

Nurses rose to the challenge of caring for people from any background, perpetrators or victims of violence. All were their patience.

Whatever each day threw at them, Northern Ireland nursing staff showed enduring patience, determination, fortitude and courage.


The History of Nursing Network in Northern Ireland has gathered stories from nurses, midwives and health visitors who worked during the period of civil unrest in Northern Ireland from 1969 to the Belfast Agreement (1998).

These stories add to the untold stories of a community under strife and demonstrates the impact civil unrest had on nurses who were also part of the community they served."

Nurses' Voices from the Northern Ireland Troubles

ISBN: 978-0-9574308-7-7         £25.00