Why the Angela Boškin Faculty of Health Care?

Who was Angela Boškin?

From the historical perspective, Angela Boškin (b. June 6, 1886 in Pevma pri Gorici) was an extremely important figure for nursing in Slovenia. She was the first schooled nurse working in the field of social work and health care. She obtained her degree in 1918 from the first school for social work in Vienna; her profession was that of a ‘social care nurse’. After returning to Slovenia, she at first found it hard to gain employment due to the fact that health care and social care institutions had long been cooperating only with nuns. However, the social care and health care policy makers of the time soon realized how valuable her knowledge was for the then poorly organized health and social services. In February 1919, Angela Boškin thus became the first ‘social care nurse’ (nowadays a community health nurse) through a decree, starting her career in Jesenice where she stayed until 1922. In was in Jesenice that she founded the first counselling office for mothers and infants in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, to which Slovenia belonged at the time, and quickly gained trust among the more progressive women and health care organizations. The establishment of counselling offices proved to be a success and the practice later spread throughout the country. Angela Boškin continued her career at the Institute for Social Hygiene Care of Children in Ljubljana as the head nurse. She was among the initiators of the first school for nurses in Ljubljana, which started operating in 1924 at the previously mentioned Institute. Ms. Boškin worked there as a lecturer and had her degree from Vienna officially recognised. Those were the beginnings of organised professional nursing education in Slovenia.

In 1927, the birth of a new profession led to the founding of the first professional organization—‘Organization for final-year nursing students’. The Organization grew into an association of which Angela Boškin remained an active member for years to come, serving also as its Chair. In 1928, Ms. Boškin published an article entitled ‘A new women’s professional organization’ in the magazine Women’s Movement. She was a committed advocate of women’s rights to education and professional development, which did not meet with approval among the more conservative circles, including some doctors. Next, Angela Boškin worked for ten years in the town of Trbovlje, at the local counselling office for mothers and children. Working conditions there were very hard as the community was affected by poverty and a low level of education; in addition, Ms. Boškin also had to deal with abandoned children and teen prostitution. Nevertheless, she was successful in her work because she managed to reduce child mortality and maternal mortality rates. From 1939, she worked at the Hygiene Institute of Ljubljana where she led the awareness raising campaign among the general population. During World War II, Ms. Boškin served at the tuberculosis clinic in Škofja Loka. She was very protective towards locals who faced ethnic cleansing attempts and also protected members of the underground resistance movement. Tired and worn out from strenuous work, Angela Boškin retired in 1944 and moved to her home village, Pevma pri Gorici. For her work, she was awarded the ‘Gold medal’ by the Association of Nursing Societies of Slovenia in 1969 and the Yugoslavian ‘Order of Merit for the People with Silver Rays’.

Angela Boškin Faculty and her influence on our work

I became more closely familiar with the life and work of Angela Boškin during the accreditation process of the College of Nursing Jesenice. I was the first dean from the profession for which the College educated its students. It was by no means an easy feat to establish the first independent Slovenian college in this field which would not be part of a university. Many opposed the accreditation of the college and doubts often arose as to whether a college which was not part of a university could offer high-quality education. In addition to my professional experience and knowledge, Angela Boškin’s visionary, pioneering work served as an inspiration to me as the dean during the demanding process of establishing the College. I can now say that the figure and work of Angela Boškin are deeply embedded into our values, mission, vision, and the activities being implemented.

All of us who are working towards advancing the Faculty of Health Care Jesenice are constantly aware of the social responsibility we hold for the development of nursing, its professionalization and laying the foundations to help nursing evolve into a scientific discipline. Through innovative approaches and research work spanning several years, we are steadily increasing the understanding and awareness of how important it is to provide high-quality education for nursing professions—something Angela Boškin already talked and wrote about.

Since 2008, we have been organizing conferences and discussions on the importance of nursing development in Slovenia based on research and evidence-based practice, and the importance of self-assessment and self-improvement among nurses.

By broadening their perspective, we encourage nurses to become active in new fields of work and research which have become indispensable in today’s society, including health promotion and chronic patient care. We also draw attention to the vulnerability of the elderly and other social groups, promote the importance of quality and safety in health care, and advocate the much necessary changes in the organization of Slovenian health care system and the implementation of interprofessional health care provision.

A great deal of emphasis has been placed on laying the standards of professional and scientific literacy as part of the Faculty’s study programmes and professional/scientific events organized by the Faculty. Master’s nursing students and bachelor’s degree holders have significantly contributed to the advancement of the Slovenian Nursing Review by raising its publication standards.

We have investigated the understanding of nursing professionalization among nurses in Slovenian hospitals and their awareness of the responsibility that comes with implementing advanced practice in nursing—the basis for assuming responsibility and implementing new nursing practices which are closely connected with the development of specializations and knowledge at the level of master’s and doctoral degree programmes.

We developed guidelines for nursing education at the level of higher education which were subsequently adopted by the Nurses and Midwives Association of Slovenia as the national guidelines for this field.

As part of a national project, the Faculty of Health Care Jesenice is now developing a competency model for all levels of nursing education and a model for establishing nursing in Slovenia as a scientific discipline. Our annual international scientific conference, providing nursing and health care researchers with the opportunity of participating and networking since 2008, is also widely recognized.

The Faculty has significantly contributed to promoting the professional identity of nursing graduates by introducing a professional pledge named after Angela Boškin in 2011, which has since been suggested as the national pledge for all bachelors of nursing by the Nurses and Midwives Association of Slovenia. Also since 2011, the Faculty has presented Angela Boškin awards to the best graduate and master’s students, and Angela Boškin recognitions to higher education teachers for their outstanding work and contribution towards the Faculty’s development.

The Faculty now

In the academic year 2016/17, the Faculty of Health Care Jesenice (FHCJ) is celebrating its tenth anniversary as a higher education and research institution. Therefore, this is the time to reflect on our past work and make plans for the future.

We see ourselves as a faculty that importantly contributes to advancing the nursing profession in the health care system and the society at large. To date, we have produced over 250 graduates, with students having the possibility of pursuing a degree at all three levels of higher education. In addition to the higher education programme Nursing Care, the Faculty now offers two master’s degree programmes: Nursing Care and Health Promotion, and a doctoral programme with three study fields: Nursing Care, Health Promotion, and Health Care Management.

The Faculty enjoys wide recognition for its high-quality pedagogic process, excellent employability of graduates, fast-paced growth of research work in Slovenia, and international cooperation. Owing in large to the well-established international and national research activities and its great efficiency, the College of Nursing Jesenice was able to reorganize into a faculty in 2014.

From the initial idea of a regional college, we have grown into a faculty connecting, directing and actively contributing towards the development of nursing as a scientific discipline in Slovenia.

The professional work of educated Slovenian nurses started with Angela Boškin in Jesenice. She was an expert who “transformed the profession of a social care nurse into a mission, which is the most anyone can do for their profession”. According to historian, Professor Zvonka Zupanič Slavec from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, “Angela Boškin is among the ten most deserving individuals in the history of health care in Slovenia”.

It is with great respect and a sense of responsibility that, with her relatives’ consent, we assume the legacy of Angela Boškin’s pioneering work as the first social care nurse who embarked on her professional career in Jesenice. We will be proud to keep the memory of her life-long work alive by renaming our faculty into the Angela Boškin Faculty of Health Care.

Dr Brigita Skela Savič, Associate Professor


Anon, 1969a. Naša prva medicinska sestra Angela Boškinova. Obzornik zdravstvene nege, 3(3), pp. 123-130.

Anon, 1969b. Letošnje leto smo sklenili s proslavo 50-letnice dela medicinskih sester v Sloveniji. Obzornik zdravstvene nege, 3(4), pp. 185-187.

Anon, 1970. Gradivo II. Skupščine Zveze DMS Slovenije dne 5. in 6. XII. 1969. Obzornik zdravstvene nege, 4(1), pp. 1-7.

Bandur, S. 2016. Angela Boškin je bila slovenska Florence Nightingale. Delo, 3. 3. 2016. Available at: http://www.delo.si/prosti-cas/zanimivosti/angela-boskin-je-bila-slovenska-florence-nightingale.html [Accessed 2. November 2016].

Korenčan, A., 2009. Življenje in delo Angele Boškin. Gorica: Goriška Mohorjeva družba.

Skela Savič, B., 2016. Smernice za izobraževanje v zdravstveni negi na študijskem programu prve stopnje Zdravstvena nega (VS). Jesenice: Fakulteta za zdravstvo Jesenice. Available at: https://www.fzab.si/uploads/file/zaklenjeno_Koncne%20smernice_RSKZN_Strateski%20svet%20ZN_BSS_OZN.pdf [Accessed 2. November 2016].

Skela Savič, B., Pesjak, K. & Lobe, B., 2016. Evidence-based practice among nurses in Slovenian hospitals. International Nursing Review, 63(1), pp. 122-131.

Visoka šola za zdravstveno nego Jesenice, 2011. Prisega Angele Boškin za diplomante programa prve stopnje Zdravstvena nega (VS). Jesenice: Visoka šola za zdravstveno nego Jesenice. Available at: http://www.fzab.si/uploads/file/Prisega_Angele_Boskin_zaklenjena.pdf [Accessed 2. November 2016].

Thus, on January 27, 1919, the first decree was passed in Slovenia and Yugoslavia on the placement of a social care nurse, the forerunner of modern-day community nurses and social care workers.
    Due to its importance we are transcribing the decree in its entirety:

Ref. no. M 285/19                        Ljubljana, January 27, 1919

To Ms.
Angela Boškin                    in Ljubljana
                                           Maria Theresa Road, cabin for the sale of carts

In answer to your request dated January 8, 1919, we are informing you that you have been accepted to the post of a social care nurse based in Jesenice. You will cover the locations of Koroška Bela, Javornik, Sava, and Jesenice. Your work will include visiting prepartum and postpartum women, teaching them to adhere to hygiene standards after delivery and showing them how to correctly care for their newborns. You will be given a furnished apartment in the hospital for miners and railroad workers free of charge, complete with lighting, heating and free meals. Your social care work will provide you with an income of K 300 (three hundred crowns) per month. Your job shall begin on Monday, February 3. Please call on Alojzija Štebi, supervisor for youth care, on the morning of Friday, January 31, to receive further instructions.

National Government of Slovenia, Ljubljana
Department for Social Care
For head of the department:
(signed by Štebi)