Papers of Johanna Gibson

Scope and Content

This collection consists of the following items:

The Story of a Nursing Activist in England - memoir by Gibson concerning her time as a nursing activist in London between 1968 and 1969.

Administrative / Biographical History

Gibson, Johanna [c.1948-] nurse and activist. Gibson was born in the Netherlands and moved to Britain after completing her education to work as an au pair. In May 1967 she enrolled as a State Registered Nursing student at the Prince of Wales Hospital Training School in London, which was affiliated with St. Ann's Hospital. The training school attracted a wide range of nurses from around the world. In 1968 Gibson saw Patricia Veal and her supporters on television protesting about nurses working conditions, which raised her awareness of these issues. She became more involved with protesting and raising awareness of nurses working conditions, helped organise demonstrations and joined the Nurses Action Group. Gibson found it difficult to find support for the Nurses Action Group among her fellow nurses and in the wider community, and the NAG eventually folded in Autumn 1969. Although she was among the top students in her year, Gibson failed the theoretical part of her final exams twice which she believed was due to disapproval of her activism. She worked as a nurses aid in a nursing home while preparing for her second theory exam. In late 1970 Gibson returned to the Netherlands to wait for her emigration papers that would enable her to go to work in Canada, and then moved to Ottawa in Nov 1971 where she worked as an administrative assistant on a pulmonar/y ward. Later on she worked as a ward clerk and as a nurses aid, and in 1980 obtained her Registered Nursing Assistant qualification with Distinction. Gibson then went to work in a chronic care hospital. She then decided to return to her nursing studies and graduated as a Registered Nurse in May 1989. Gibson then took a post as a team leaded in a chronic care institution, and obtained a further qualification in Palliative Care. As of 1995 she was undertaking a part-time degree in nursing, and was planning on enrolling in a Masters program.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact the RCN Archives in advance of their first visit.

Other Finding Aids

Most recent online Royal College of Nursing Archives Catalogue available at

Conditions Governing Use

Royal College of Nursing