A safety net: use of pseudonyms in oral nursing history

Margaret McLeod, Karen Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
88 Downloads (Pure)


This paper explores the use of pseudonyms in a historical study that weaves oral testimony throughout the narrative. The research was undertaken to unveil the experiences of Australian Army nurses in Malaya's Communist insurgency (1948-1960). Thirty-three women from the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps served in this conflict termed the Malayan Emergency, but only four nurses could be located for this study. After almost fifty years of silence the female nursing voice emerged as the informants spoke at interview of their unique personal and military experiences in Malaya. It is acknowledged that assigning the nurse informants pseudonyms, as opposed to using their names, constitutes a significant deviation from the established traditions of oral history. However, it is argued that the use of pseudonyms provided an opportunity for candid disclosure by the nurses on a range of topics whilst keeping the informants safe from adverse public or military scrutiny.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-113
Number of pages10
JournalContemporary Nurse
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - May 2007


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