Skip to main content

COVID-19: Presence of the Past

Historians cut through the noise in the media with expertise relevant to a reasoned societal response and nursing. 

- Cynthia Connolly, PhD, RN, FAAN

As we struggle to make sense of the unfolding public health directives about the current coronavirus pandemic, looking at lessons from past pandemics can help. In times like these, nurses and nursing care have played a critical role in saving lives and relieving suffering. By looking to the past, we can begin to understand both the effectiveness and challenges related to quarantines and social isolation.

Nurses and COVID-19: The Presence of the Past



Bates Center in the News

 - Drs. Cynthia Connolly, Patricia D’Antonio, and Julie Fairman in Nursing Outlook: Reforming Nursing Registration: Lessons from Pandemics

- Dr. Julie Fairman in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine: Epidemics from the Perspective of Professional Nursing: Beyond Germs, Public Health, and Pot Banging

 - Drs. Cynthia Connolly, Patricia D’Antonio, and Julie Fairman, policy brief - In Whose Best Interest: Nursing Regulation during a Crisis

- Dr. Julie Fairman was quoted in Nursing Forum: Comparing the Spanish flu and COVID‐19 pandemics: Lessons to carry forward

- Drs. Julie Fairman and Connie Ulrich in The Hill: COVID-19: How RNs can help overcome public vaccine hesitancy

- Drs. Cynthia Connolly, Patricia D’Antonio, and Julie Fairman discussed the role of nurses and the nursing profession in the history of pandemics on CHSTM’s Historical Perspectives on STEM - Nursing and COVID-19

- Dr. Julie Fairman in American City Business Journals: States Grant Nurse Practitioners Full Practice Authority

- Dr. Julie Fairman in American City Business Journals: Covid-19 Changes Nursing, Resurrects Discussion of Public Health Needs

- Drs. Patricia D’Antonio, Mary Naylor, and Linda Aiken in Research in Nursing & Health: Nursing Research is Coronavirus Research

- Drs. Julie Fairman, Cynthia Connolly, and Patricia D’Antonio in The Hill: Nurse Practitioners Need to be “In”

Advisory Board member Vanessa Northington Gamble, MD, PhD, on The Last Word with Lawrence  O’Donnell

- Dr. Julie Fairman was quoted in the Washington Post: The history and mystery of Purell, the most sacred goo of our new era

- Drs. Julie Fairman, Cynthia Connolly, and Patricia D’Antonio in The Philadelphia Inquirer: Coronavirus nursing shortage? Three ways to get more nurses — now.

- Dr. Patricia D’Antonio: Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane:  Lessons from 1918

- Dr. Patricia D’Antonio was quoted in The Philadelphia Inquirer: The world has suffered through other deadly pandemics. But the response to coronavirus is unprecedented.

- Dr. Patricia D’Antonio in American Journal of Nursing’s Off the Charts1918 Redux: Supportive Nursing Care for the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Courageous Care


Calm, Cool, Courageous: Nursing and the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

 - The COVID Tracking Project, a crowdsourced digital archive documenting the face of the pandemic in the U.S.

- Here are a selection of relevant open-access books - Please note that access is subject to change

American Association for the History of Medicine COVID-19 Teaching Resources and Materials for Historical Research