The Chair of Nursing Studies was established in 1972.
In 1954, a proposal was made for a Nurse Tutor Course to be located entirely within the University setting. Funding was sought from the Rockefeller Foundation for the foundation a Nurse Training Unit. This was granted in 1956, following a visit from Mary Elizabeth Tennant, Assistant Director of the Rockefeller Foundation's International Health Division.
In 1956, Elsie Stephenson (1916-1967) was appointed as the first director of the newly founded unit, with a remit to develop nurse education and to establish a research base for the discipline. The unit was initially based in George Square but in 1957 moved to Chalmers Street and was renamed the Nursing Studies Unit.
In 1959, Audrey L. John achieved the first PhD in Nursing for her thesis 'A Study of the Psychiatric Nurse and his/her Role in the Care of the Mentally Sick'.
In a pioneering move, 1960 saw the first nursing registration programme integrated with a five-year Master of Arts. In the same year, a two-year programme in Advanced Nursing Education with Registered Nurse Teacher status was established.
In 1962, the first International School of Advanced Nursing Studies was founded at the Unit, with support from the World Health Organization, offering programmes to overseas students in nursing administration or education.
In 1963, the University of Edinburgh created a Faculty of Social Sciences, incorporating the renamed Department of Nursing Studies. In the same year lecturer Kathleen J. W. Wilson published the major nursing textbook Anatomy and Physiology (now in its 12th edition) in collaboration with Janet S. Ross. The first edition of the International Journal of Nursing Studies was also published with Elsie Stephenson as honorary editor.
In 1965, the Integrated Degree programme as replaced by the BSc Social Science (Nursing).
In 1967, Elsie Stephenson died at the tragically early age of 51. The Elsie Stephenson Fund was set up with the purpose of 'increasing opportunities for some of the best brains in Britain to develop their gifts to the full in Nursing and to encourage the Nursing profession to make appropriate use of all the tools and skills relevant to it'.
In 1968, Margaret Scott Wright (1923-2008) was appointed as Stephenson's successor. In the same year, the Edwina, Countess Mountbatten Trust was set up to support undergraduate students who wished to observe nursing practices in different parts of the world.
In 1971 Margaret Scott Wright was appointed to the first Chair of Nursing Studies in Europe. The Scottish Home and Health Department give financial support for the establishment of the first Nursing Research Unit in a European university, with Lisbeth Hockey (1918-2004) appointed as its first director.
1973, the Inaugural Elsie Stephenson Memorial Lecture was delivered by Professor Helen Carpenter of the University of Toronto.
In 1975, certificated courses in nurse teaching and administration were replaced by Masters degrees in Nursing Education and Nursing Administration.
In 1976, Margaret Scott Wright left to become Director of the School of Nursing at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia. She was succeeded by Annie Altschul (1919-2001), who had lectured in the department since 1964.
In 1979, an innovative MSc in Health Education was established in collaboration with the Health Education Board for Scotland.
1980 The Elements of Nursing: a Model of Nursing based on a Model of Living by Nancy Roper, Win Logan and Alison Tierney (lecturer), the first UK model of nursing is published. 1986 The undergraduate programme is renamed BSc (Nursing). 4th Elsie Stephenson Memorial Lecture: Trends in Transatlantic Nursing: Recent and Prospective, Professor Margaret Scott Wright, Calgary University. 1987 Clinical Excellence in Nursing: International Networking Congress jointly hosted by the Department of Nursing Studies, the RCN and Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honour Society of Nursing. 1989 Helen Sinclair becomes Head of Department. A lectureship in Anatomy and Physiology is funded by Dr Kathleen Wilson; Dr Roger Watson is appointed. 1990 5th Elsie Stephenson Memorial Lecture: Opportunities for the Nursing Profession in the 1990s, Christine Hancock, General Secretary, RCN. The undergraduate degree is offered as an Honours degree in recognition of its academic content. 1991 25th Anniversary of the Nursing Studies Association with a commemorative edition of Nurse Education Today. A special issue of the International Journal of Nursing Studies commemorates 25 years since the death of Elsie Stephenson. 1986 – 1995 Change & Development 1996 – 2005 From Strength to Strength 1996 Dr Kath Melia becomes the fourth Chair of Nursing Studies. Nursing Studies 40th Anniversary celebrated with guest lecture by Dr Anne Marie Rafferty, Director, Centre for Policy in Nursing Research. 1997 Dr Alison Tierney receives a Personal Chair in Nursing Research. 1998 RCN International Nursing Research Conference hosted by Nursing Studies. 1999 7th Elsie Stephenson Memorial Lecture: Connections between service and academe, Dr Linda Pollock, Nursing Director, Lothian Primary Care Trust. 2001 Undergraduate programme revised to increase community emphasis and renamed Bachelor of Nursing with Honours. Festschrift for Professor Annie Altschul in association with the UK Centre for Nursing History, University of Manchester. 8th Elsie Stephenson Memorial Lecture: Opinions, Evidence and Aspirations in Nursing Practice, Professor Karen Luker, University of Manchester. Dr Rosemary Mander appointed Head of School of Nursing Studies. 2002 Professor Alison Tierney awarded the CBE for services to nursing research and education. 2003 The University undergoes major restructuring and Nursing Studies moves as a subject area to the School of Health in Social Science. Professor Kath Melia appointed the first Head of the School; Tonks Fawcett is appointed Head of Nursing Studies. 9th Elsie Stephenson Memorial Lecture: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, Dr Beverley Malone, General Secretary, RCN. 2004 Nicola Lester wins the Nursing Standard Award for Student Nurse of the Year. 2005 Nursing Studies at Edinburgh ranked top in the UK in The Guardian’s university league table for nursing and midwifery. Dr Rosemary Mander receives a Personal Chair in Midwifery. 2006 – 2016 Innovation & Progress for the Future 2007 Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL), is incorporated into the nursing curriculum. Deborah Ritchie appointed Head of Nursing Studies. 2010 Professor Pam Smith appointed Head of Nursing Studies. Online undergraduate and postgraduate programmes developed for the Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN), at the University of Malawi. 2011 Professor Charlotte Clarke is appointed Head of School of Health in Social Science. 2012 Tonks Fawcett receives a Personal Chair in Student Learning (Nurse Education). 10th Elsie Stephenson Memorial Lecture: Elsie Stephenson’s Legacy: Nurse Leaders in Universities Today, Professor Fiona Ross, The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. Risk and Dementia Care: Approaches to Everyday Living, co-authored by Professor Charlotte Clarke awarded first prize in the BMA Book Awards. 2013 Innovative Masters of Nursing in Clinical Research established. The 100th Nursing Studies PhD is awarded to Juan Du for her thesis “The Unrecognised Role: hospitalbased nurses’ experiences of health promotion”. Annie Altschul Memorial Lecture: ‘The Changing Face of Mental Health Nursing in the 21st Century, Jane Bunclark, Consultant Nurse, South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. 2014 Dr Sheila Rodgers appointed Head of Nursing Studies. Shion Gosrani wins the 2014 Undergraduate Award in Nursing & Midwifery Category. 11th Elsie Stephenson Memorial Lecture: Avoiding Black Holes: Nursing and the Care of Older People and their carers living at home, Professor Claire Goodman, University of Hertfordshire. 2015 Nursing Studies at Edinburgh ranked top in the UK in The Guardian’s university league table for nursing and midwifery for the tenth year in succession. 2016 Nursing Studies hosts the 100th RCN International Nursing Research Conference. 1981 25th Anniversary of the Department of Nursing Studies. Dr Lisbeth Hockey is awarded the OBE in recognition of her contribution to nursing research. 2nd Elsie Stephenson Memorial Lecture: Past Aspirations – Present Hopes, Phyllis J Runciman, Queen Margaret College. 1983 Dr Lisbeth Hockey retires; Dr Penny Prophit, from the University of Louvain, Belgium, becomes the second Director of the Nursing Research Unit. Professor Altschul awarded the CBE for her commitment to nursing. 3rd Elsie Stephenson Memorial Lecture: A Time for Vision, Dame Catherine Hall, Chairwoman, UKCC. 1984 Dr Penny Prophit, becomes the third Chair of Nursing Studies; Dr Alison Tierney becomes the third Director