Fortitude exhibition.


Healthcare workers’ experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic

Exhibition 25 September 2023 – 24 May 2024 Royal College of Physicians, London. 


‘The pandemic really brought out the good in people, it seemed to illuminate our strengths and fortitude in the face of an ever-evolving virus.’

RM, clinical microbiology fellow, north-west England


fortitude (noun): courage in pain or adversity


In January 2021 the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) museum created a survey to collect and record the experiences of RCP members and other healthcare professionals working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From trainee doctors and consultants to GPs and physician associates, survey respondents from over 20 medical specialties and professions described how their lives were transformed. With their permission, the RCP is privileged to share their experiences, in their own words. 

These stories may be challenging to read and hear. They are honest and speak of suffering, chaos and exhaustion. They are also inspiring, filled with compassion, courage and joy. Some stories may contradict our own understanding of the pandemic, and others caution and urge us to learn from these experiences.

The objects, images, written accounts and recordings in the exhibition were donated to the RCP via the survey, and the quotes are taken directly from donations.


This exhibition contains images, descriptions and audio recordings relating to illness, death, grief and trauma

Share your experience

If you are a healthcare professional and would like to share your experience of working during the COVID-19 pandemic you can do so via the COVID-19 survey


‘I hope that the sharing of our experiences can help people to glean some further understanding and show some greater compassion for all those that have toiled, sacrificed and suffered in the last few years … Though it may be difficult and they may want to turn away, I hope they don’t so we can all build a deeper understanding of what so many like me have experienced in the healthcare profession.’

YT, palliative medicine ST5 (specialty training year 5), London

Fortitude online exhibition

Can't make it to the exhibition? Explore the digital version below.

Upcoming exhibition events 

Visit exhibition events -  a linked public event programme will be run alongside the exhibition.

  • First Thursday of the month, RCP Museum Lates
  • Monday 23 October (RCP at Regent's Park, London) Event: Ker-pow! How Science superheroes crushed COVID
  • Monday 30 October (RCP at The Spine, Liverpool) Event: Ker-pow! How Science superheroes crushed COVID
  • Further exhibition events to be announced.