Lt Col (Retired) Keiron Spires QVRM TD
I trained as a general nurse in the Army Medical Services. After working in acute surgical areas I was seconded to The Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London, to train as a children’s nurse1,2. Following this, I worked on a children’s ward in a military hospital in Germany for five years. When I left the Regular Army and joined the Reserve, my military nursing career reverted back to caring for adult patients, specifically caring for the sick and wounded on operational service.
During the 1st Gulf War in 1990, I was a member of the Prisoner of War Guard Force, working from temporary holding areas in the desert, tasked with ensuring prisoners were cared for according to Geneva Conventions requirements, and dealing with their medical needs until they could be evacuated to a more permanent camp.
During my Army career I trained in Staff and Command duties, as well as qualifying as a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence Officer. I was Matron (Lieutenant Colonel) with 256 (City of London) Field Hospital from 2000 to 2003, then acted as second-in-command and Clinical Squadron commander until my final posting as a member of the Clinical Faculty at HQ 2 Medical Brigade, validating and training hospitals prior to deployment on operations. I was awarded the Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal (QVRM) in the New Year’s Honours list January 2006 in recognition of “devotion to duty and exemplary service”.
When I left Regular Army service in 1985 I joined the Charles West School of Nursing at The Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London. As a member of a team of nurse educators I helped to plan and deliver training to groups of children’s nurses. I also gave support by working alongside them in the hospital. My clinical speciality was in the acute and long term care of children and young people with a tracheostomy. I qualified as a Clinical Teacher and then as a Nurse Tutor (Lecturer)3,4.
As I continued to support nurse training, I developed interests and skills in using information technology both to deliver and to support education, and also to support nursing care. I designed and implemented a Nurse Education Records System (Nurse-Ed) for the Charles West School of Nursing, which was then developed commercially. I was also a member of the implementation team for the Patient Information System at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and a member of the NHS Training Directorate IM&T Education and Training Programme for Clinicians, Nursing Steering Group. In 1995 the school of nursing was integrated into London South Bank University as part of the move of nurse education into higher education.
I was involved in using technology to support learning and teaching in Higher Education for over 20 years, and during this period undertook an MEd eLearning from Sheffield University5, by eLearning. I have created Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) packages; used Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs); introduced blended learning into curricula; taught a validated module in a virtual world (Second Life); built and delivered Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and used professionally produced drama in online learning and teaching.
History has provided for my academic growth, and opportunities to present at international conferences. My PhD (completed in 2013) was on Nurses in the Boer War 1899-19026. My research data is available here.
I have been involved in a number of history projects on behalf of the QARANC Association and the Chief Nursing Officer (Army). I was a member of the Steering Committee of the UK Association for the History of Nursing (2016-2020), and I was Chair of the QARANC Association Heritage Committee (2014-2021), and a Trustee of the QARANC Association (2017-2021).
I was on the review panel for the 2015 UKAHN Seminar at the University of Worcester, and was the event organiser for the 2016 UKAHN Seminar which was held at the Former Army Staff College, Camberley. I was a member of the Steering Committee of the European Association for the History of Nursing (2016-2021).
Since 2014 I have been involved with an older persons theatre group. Their aim is to be socially inclusive, and I was invited to help them find a technology solution that would enable members of the company who could no longer manage performance spaces, to remain part of performances. I assisted with a production called ‘Exiles’ which highlighted the issues of exclusion and isolation. I was the Technical Director (funded by the British Council) for “Invisible People” an inclusive performance involving British and German older people in a performance space, integrated with British and German older people from their homes, using Skype and mobile technology at the ufaFabrik Boulevard, street art and environmental festival, Berlin, August 2015 and 2016.
I am both a Trustee of the Encore Theatre Company CIC and its Registered Company Secretary. The company is now the resident theatre company within the Institute of Health & Social Care, at London South Bank University, and is involved in performance projects, collaborative projects with other theatre groups, and also projects within the School working with staff and students (encoretheatrecompany.co.uk).
Conference Presentation “Second Life or Blackboard VLE?” at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference, March 12th 2010
Conference Presentation “Nursing in the Boer War” at the International Perspectives on Nursing History Conference, September 16th 2010, Royal Holloway, London.
Presentation at the Annual Bisley Lecture “Nurses and Nursing Care in the Boer War”. 20th August 2011 The Historical Breech Loading and Small Arms Association, Bisley, UK.
Conference Presentation “Prosopography of Nurses in the Boer War” at the International Perspectives on Nursing History Conference, August 9th 2012, Kolding, Denmark
Presentation given at the PhD Workshop, part of the UK Association for the History of Nursing Colloquium on the History of Colonial and Post-Colonial Nursing, “Nurses in the Boer War”. 3rd July 2013, Oxford, UK.
Seminar delivered at the University of Manchester, December 2014, “Ethics in historical research”.
Conference Presentation “Incorporating drama & episodic short film in health MOOCs” ITC eLearning Conference, Las Vegas, February 2015
Conference Presentation “The impact of Boer War veteran nurses on nursing in WW1” paper presented at the International Perspectives on Nursing History Conference, Dublin September 2015
Conference Poster “Comparing the writing of German and British nurses in WW1” poster presented at the International Perspectives on Nursing History Conference, Dublin September 2015
Conference Keynote “Inside the tent looking out. A military nurse’s view of military nursing history” at the UKAHN History of Nursing Colloquium 2016
Presentation at the Royal College of Nursing, “The Boer War: the birth of Army nursing”. London, May 2017.
Conference Presentation “Vergleicht man das Schreiben der britischen und deutschen MilitärKrankenschwestern im ersten Weltkrieg/ Comparing the writing of British and German Military nurses in the first World War” at the 2018 UKAHN History of Nursing Colloquium, University of Chester, with Lt Jack Potter QARANC.
Presentations with QARANC Association Heritage Committee members at The International History of Nursing Conference, “The development of Army nursing through the lives of 3 Army nurses; Gertrude Veysie (Crimea), Florence Nightingale Shore (Boer War & WW1), and May Chavasse (VAD WW1 and QAIMNSR WW2).”, Florence, Italy, February 2020.
Presentation at the Chief Nursing Officer (Army) annual CPD and celebration conference, “The History of Army Nursing through 20 objects”, National Memorial Arboretum, 10 June 2022.
Spires, KA. (1990) Information Technology: innovation in the curriculum. In: Penfold, S & Myles, A (eds) Curriculum Planning in Nursing Education, Edward Arnold: London
Spires, KA. (1992) From little acorns … an IT strategy for nursing education. Information Technology in Nursing. Sep; 4(3), pp8-9
Spires K. and Spires A. (2007) Nurses on the Veldt. Ancestors. June: pp12-18
Spires KA. (2009) Interprofessional Practice Teaching and Learning IN Sines, D., Saunders, M., and Forbes-Burford, J. (Eds) (2009) Community Healthcare Nursing 4th Edn. Oxford: Blackwell Science
Spires KA & Bates, DC (2014) Beatrice Allsop, une infirmière sur le front occidental. Soins, no 786 Juin 2014, 83-87
Coachman, WA. & Spires, K. (2015) The Exiles Project: allowing housebound people to participate online in live community theatre performance through social and digital media: Conference Paper presented at British Society of Gerontology ‘Emerging Researchers in Ageing’ Conference, Newcastle University; 06/2015
Spires, K & Potter, J. (2018) Comparing the writing of British and German Military nurses in the first World War . UKAHN Bulletin Vol 7(1) 2019.
Hallett, CE, Spires, A & Spires, K (2020) Professionalism, Patriotism and Purity of Purpose: Symbolism and Identity in British and other Allied Nurses’ Uniforms. IN: Hacker, B & Vining, M. Cutting a New Pattern. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press
- Registered General Nurse
- Registered Sick Children’s Nurse
- Recorded Nurse Teacher
- BA Nurse Education
- MEd eLearning
- PhD ‘Nurses in the Boer War’