Exhibition: “Wake Up Slackers!” The Great Registration Controversy

This exhibition CLOSED on Wed, 18th Mar 2020

This exhibition has finished.

Coronavirus: Events may be cancelled and venues closed at short notice, you are advised to check on their websites before making a trip.

Cost: Free of Charge

After decades of campaigning by nurses, the Nurses Registration Act was finally passed in December 1919. It marked the recognition of nursing as a profession. But registration was not without controversy. Different nursing organisations clashed over stridently opposed ideas. Meanwhile, “anti-registration” views remained strong. The College of Nursing called for its members to get involved in politics by demanding: “wake up slackers”!

This exhibition commemorates 100 years of nursing registration in the UK by delving into the heated arguments that characterised the registration debate. Antagonistic and often entertaining, the theme also encourages us to reflect on the future of nursing. Is a nurse born or made, Edwardian campaigners wondered. How do we teach or examine care? And is compassion an innate trait or something that can be taught?


The venue is fully wheelchair accessible. There is a hearing loop in the lecture room. We can offer large print copies of presentations if requested at least a week before the event. Assistance dogs are welcome.

If you have any other needs, please email us at [email protected] and we will assist you wherever possible. Advertised start times are when the doors open. Talks usually begin 30 minutes later. Check back nearer the time for the full programme. Where possible, we film events and put them up online. Check our website for footage of past events. https://www.rcn.org.uk/library/exhibitions-and-events/previous-events

View our Terms & Conditions for events here. https://www.rcn.org.uk/library/about-us/library-and-heritage-centre


Royal College of Nursing Library & Heritage Centre,

20 Cavendish Square,

Map of Royal College of Nursing Library & Heritage Centre