The Barbara Bates Center for The Study of the History of Nursing at Penn Nursing is the preeminent center for scholarship in nursing history. The mission of the Bates Center is to ensure the generation of historical knowledge, scholarship, and research on healthcare and nursing history in the U.S. and across the globe.
Our priority is to increase our understanding of the importance of a historical standpoint to the development of effective health policy and patient care strategies. The faculty, fellows, and visiting scholars create scholarly papers and books that tie nursing’s history directly to current health topics. Our work in the history of nursing provides evidence necessary for a better understanding of the nation’s health care problems and the strategies required for resolving current critical issues.
Center faculty include internationally recognized and award winning nurse historians who carry out large scale federal and foundation funded research projects, teach School of Nursing history courses, as well as courses throughout the school’s curriculum, and serve as resources on historical knowledge and methods used in carrying out historical research projects. Our work is supported by the Center’s endowment, as is the extensive archival collection of photographs, artifacts, and the personal and professional papers of nursing leaders and clinicians, schools of nursing, visiting nurse associations, and other kinds of health care agencies.