Valentine’s Late: Open Hearts, Racing Pulses

Wednesday February 12th 2020

Valentine’s Late: Open Hearts, Racing Pulses
Suturing, Justine Desmond

For Valentine’s Day we are teaming up with the Royal College of Nursing for a Lates event. Join us to explore the rich feelings associated with the operating theatre, from compassion and romance, to anxiety and fear. Make your own medical romance cover, play doctor and nurse Top Trumps, join a mystery treasure hunt, and hear short talks on the often surprising history of emotions in healthcare. 

Date: 12th February 2020

Time: 6:00pm to 9:00pm 

Place: The Royal College of Nursing, 20 Cavendish Square, London, W1G 0RN

Free entry but booking is essential. Please follow this link to the RCN's eventbrite to place your order.


Make your own Medical Romance Fiction

Pen your own stories and design your own cover art inspired by real-life medical romance fiction. Historians will be on hand to guide you through the tropes that populate this fiction and to discuss how the novels have shaped stereotypes about the surgical, medical, and nursing professions.

Agnes Arnold-Forster and Lauren Ryall-Waite, Surgery & Emotion, University of Roehampton

Doctors & Nurses ‘Top Trumps’

Develop your own versions of the classic card game using doctors and nurses from history and fiction. Determine the winning characteristics and compete to identify the most compassionate, empathetic, or skilful doctor or nurse.

Mike Brown and James Kennaway, Surgery & Emotion, University of Roehampton

Sleuthing with Cherry Ames

Can you help nurse detective Cherry Ames discover the identity of her mystery surgery patient? Follow clues around the building to solve the puzzle and gain your prize! Based on a 1950s nursing novel by Helen Wells.

Sarah Chaney and Frances Reed, RCN

Tracing Trauma: Feeling and Emotion in Surgical Illustration

What feelings are represented and prompted by clinical drawings, photographs, and cartoons? Guided by an art historian, visitors will be able to try their hand at sketching and interpreting some images of World War II facial reconstruction (courtesy of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgeons)

Christine Slobogin, Birkbeck

Suturing and Sympathy

The Royal College of Surgeons museums team will be offering surgical skills training led by medical and surgical volunteers. Try your hand at suturing with skin pads and instruments.

Hayley Kruger, RCS

Sculptural Snogging

Delve into the art and science of our mouths, kissing and sexual health by modelling and modifying an anatomical waxwork of your ideal luscious lips and tantalising tongue. Led by artist, doctor and dentist Simon Hall.

Simon Hall, University of Bristol

Could you be an Agony Aunt?

Take the quiz and match questions and answers on love, sex, and relationships from women’s magazines from the 1960s to 1980s to find out how you would fare as a twentieth-century agony aunt.

Daisy Payling and Kate Mahoney, Essex University

Communication in the Operating Theatre

Using anonymised footage of real operating theatre situations, attendees will get a sense of how operating theatres work and discuss surgical communication and emotions with expert theatre nurses and researchers.

Sharon Weldon, University of Greenwich

There will also be a series of short talks from expert historians

  • Feeling things in the Operating Theatre: The History of Surgery and Emotion, Michael Brown, University of Roehampton
  • Agony Aunts, Open Hearts, and Stiff Upper Lips: Emotions on the Problem Page, Tracey Loughran, Essex University
  • Sex & Scandal: 'Purifying' the Nursing Profession in the 1930s, Sarah Chaney, Queen Mary Centre for the History of the Emotions

Themed cocktails designed by Dan Cavill from Kilgrief and Comfort will also be available to buy and given away as prizes for successful completion of the Treasure Hunt!

Visitors will also be able to explore the RCN's new exhibition - Who Cares? A History of Emotions in Nursing - after hours.


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 and the team will assist you wherever possible. Advertised start times are when the doors open. Talks usually begin 30 minutes later. Where possible, we film events and put them up online. Check our website for footage of past events.

View the RCN's Terms & Conditions for events here.

Click here for more details