Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing

Sioban Nelson


“The study of the history of the professions and the politics of health is critical to understanding contemporary health care, its challenges and its potential solutions.”

Dr. Sioban Nelson is a leading nursing scholar. She has published eight books (six edited collections and two monographs), including the acclaimed Say Little, Do Much: Nursing, Nuns, and Hospitals in the Nineteenth Century. With Suzanne Gordon, she edited the prize-winning Complexities of Care: Nursing Reconsidered, a groundbreaking work on the challenges facing contemporary nursing. Her latest book, Notes on Nightingale: The Influence and Legacy of a Nursing Icon (co-edited with Anne Marie Rafferty), honours the centenary of Florence Nightingale’s death.
Dr. Nelson served as editor-in-chief of the journal Nursing Inquiry for 12 years. Currently, she is co-editor of the interdisciplinary Culture and Politics of Health Care Work series for Cornell University Press.
The former head of the School of Nursing at the University of Melbourne in Australia, Dr. Nelson has a background in international projects, including a multidisciplinary World Bank initiative in Central Java to capacity build graduate health science education. She is a university lead on the Toronto/Addis Ababa collaboration and has been a leader in international engagement at the University of Toronto.
She was a commissioner on the Canadian Nurses Association National Expert Commission for the Future of the Health Care System that launched the “A Nursing Call to Action” report in June 2012. Dr. Nelson is also member of the Board of the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing and co-chair of a review by the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences on Scope of Practice in the Health Professions.
Her historical interests include the investigation of the impact of the Rockefeller Foundation on global nursing in the mid-20th century and the transnational history of nursing; her policy interests include professional regulation, competency, mobility and the global health workforce.

  • Academic Credentials
    1997 to 2001 – Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Melbourne, Australia
    1996 – PhD, Griffith University, Australia
    1985 – Nursing Certificate, Royal Darwin Hospital, Australia
    1976 – BA (Hons), La Trobe University, Australia
  • Publications
    Dr. Nelson’s PubMed link is available here.

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