Amazing Alumni Stories
UBC Nursing Alumni have made remarkable contributions as nurses, educators, scholars, and community leaders. We have been fortunate to have some of their stories documented and sent to us by members of the UBC Nursing community.
As our 100th Anniversary approaches, your Alumni Engagement Team is seeking to supplement these stories with 100 new ones - at least one from each graduating class. We look forward to hearing the stories of your time at UBC, what you have gone on to achieve, or tales of your colleagues' good works! And please send pictures! Need help? We're here for you.
1920s Amazing Alumni Stories
Mary Henderson was the youngest in a family of four children. She attended Queen Mary School in West Point Grey and Prince of Wales High School before entering UBC where she enrolled in the BASc (Nurs) program.
Following her graduation in 1929, Mary took a position as a public health nurse in Saanich with the BC Provincial Public Health Service. After a year, she returned to Vancouver and worked as a school nurse with the School Health Service. In 1939, she was awarded the prestigious Florence Nightingale Memorial Fellowship, unfortunately, because of the outbreak of WWII, the course was cancelled. So instead, she enrolled in the Administration and Supervision in Public Health Nursing course at the University of Toronto. She returned to Vancouver in 1941, and for the next three years was an instructor of nursing at UBC.
In 1944, she joined UNNRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) along with three other UBC graduates: Lyle Creelman 1936, Heather Kilpatrick 1931 and Frances McQuarrie 1936 (see photo, above-mentioned names present L-R, Mary far right). Traveling first to London, Mary was assigned to the El Shatt Refugee camp in the desert near Port Said. At the camp there were approximately 26,000 Yugoslav refugees, the majority women and children. The nursing staff slept in tents on army cots. Mary’s responsibility was to supervise the public health nursing program in the camps. In April 1945, she was transferred to Greece on the outskirts of Athens where there was a great deal of malnutrition, tuberculosis as well as malaria.
In 1945, Mary returned to Canada and resumed her work with the Metropolitan Health Services as supervisor of the School Health Service in Greater Vancouver and then became Director of Nursing until she retired in 1965. In an interview in 1988, Mary stated there was very good public health service and excellent doctors and public health nursing leaders. “It was run by nurses who graduated from UBC and who had very good background and training.”
Provided by the B.C. History of Nursing Society
Esther Naden Gardom was an alumna of the first graduating class of the new baccalaureate degree program at UBC. She had always wanted to be a nurse and, despite serious objections from her parents, she registered for the nursing program in her second year of study at UBC. Although scheduled to graduate in 1923, her completion was postponed as her mother had taken gravely ill. Thus, she graduated the following year with the class of 1924.
As a newly minted public health nurse, Esther went on to run the Moss Clinic in Saanich. The Model A Ford she drove on visits to her patients during those years leads to several amusing recollections. Due to the car’s inability to function in reverse gear, she was often forced to drive in circles to manoeuvre in and out of situations. On one occasion, it became necessary to deliver a baby in that same car; she tucked the infant close to her chest to keep it warm until she was able to reach the intended destination.
Esther was described by her daughter, Marguerite Lawson of Victoria, as a “tough bird” who loved the work of public health. However, under the conditions of the day, she was unable to continue the work after marriage because she had an employed husband. However, she assumed a role in the community as the person who was always called on for any type of health-related assistance. Esther became the matriarch of a large and vibrant clan. One of her nephews, Garde Gardom, rose to prominence as the 26th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. Before her death, Esther contributed to the oral history, which has become part of the collection of the BC History of Nursing Society
“Hurrah for a bowl of soup!” wrote Edith (“Toddy”) Tisdall, Class of 1929, in describing how in the Great Depression of the 1930s she, as the school nurse, and the local teachers of Kelowna had set up a hot-lunch program for school children. The program, which she described in the Public Health Nurses’ Bulletin, provided milk or vegetable soup and hot cocoa daily for 80 to 100 youngsters, of which about 70 were “free” cases. Those who could pay donated three cents for a lunch. “The personal thanks of some of the parents and the grateful looks on the youngsters’ faces has more than compensated for our efforts,” she recorded.
Edith White Tisdall was born in 1905 in Vancouver. Her entrepreneurial father was a retail merchant; by the time she entered the UBC School of Nursing in 1923, he had served two terms as a Member of the Legislature in Victoria, and was a long-serving city councilor and a short-term mayor for Vancouver. At UBC, “Toddy” was active in campus activities, including the Players’ Club, before she entered the clinical portion of the Nursing program at Vancouver General Hospital.
She graduated from both UBC and the Vancouver General Hospital in 1929. As one of the early UBC Nursing graduates she embraced the new field of Provincial Public Health Services, moving to Kelowna after graduation to become school nurse for the district. In another article for the Bulletin, she described the challenges. A major project when she first arrived in Kelowna was to arrange, with assistance of local dentists, to conduct a dental survey. The results showed that 94 per cent of the 850 students in the area needed dental care. Edith then began working with parents and local authorities to arrange the care, which almost immediately led to a marked improvement in general health of the children.2
Although she worked in nursing only until her marriage in 1932 to Harley Robert Hatfield, she maintained a life-long interest in public health nursing and maintained contact with classmates. Throughout her life she continued to subscribe to The Canadian Nurse. For most of her married life, the couple and their four children lived in Penticton, where her husband ran a major construction company, was involved in local politics, and had a life-long-interest in mapping the Cascade wilderness area. Edith died in 1984.
1 Public Health Nurses’ Bulletin, 1 (9), March 1932, pp. 31-32.
2 Public Health Nurses’ Bulletin, 1 (7), May 1930, pp. 23-36.
3 An Edith Tisdall Hatfield fonds is available in the UBC School of Nursing Archives maintained by the BC History of Nursing Society. A Harley Robert Hatfield fonds, and his collection of 152 wilderness area maps, is available in UBC Rare Books and Special Collections.
Information from B.C. History of Nursing Society, by Glennis Zilm, August 2010
Muriel Upshall, nickname “Uppy” was born in High River, Alberta on September 18, 1906. The family moved to Vancouver and Muriel attended Queen Mary Public School and Prince of Wales High School. She enrolled in the combined UBC/VGH nursing program in 1924, graduating from both in 1929.
Following graduation, she worked for the provincial Board of Health in Nanaimo for seven years before becoming the first public health nurse supervisor appointed by the Richmond School Board in 1936. Her salary was $150/month with a car allowance of $30. She was responsible for Bridgeport and Sea Island, assisted by UBC graduate, Eileen Williams BASc(N) 1936. They started two Child Health Centres and initiated tuberculosis home visiting. A program of preschool health supervision was also started at the Japanese kindergarten in Steveston. Remaining in this position for less than a year, she left to become the public health nurse at UBC’s Student Health Services. In 1950, her title was changed to Nursing Supervisor at a salary of $285/month.
During her time at UBC, she saw the Student Health Service grow from occupying a small army hut near the Administration building to one of the largest and most extensive in Canada, serving a student population of 14,534 in 1964. In 1951 the Health Service moved into the newly constructed Wesbrook Building. Services which previously had been preventive in nature, now encompassed a 26-bed infirmary, a clinical laboratory, and X-Ray unit. The Health Service was responsible for the control of communicable diseases on campus and now included psychiatric care.
Muriel described her role as: “In addition to giving direct care, the nurse must act as interpreter, teacher and advisor, being acutely aware of the young adult’s problems as many students are away from home for the first time....In addition to her educational and professional qualifications, the nurse who is to work in a University Health Service must be carefully selected on the basis of a mature, warm personality.”
Many students who visited the Student Health Service during the period 1937-1971, would have met and been cared for by Muriel Upshall.
She retired in 1971 and had a full and exciting life hiking and traveling to places such as Greece, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
Muriel died on August 12, 1989 at Amherst Nursing Home. A Muriel Upshall Memorial Scholarship fund has been endowed in her memory by friends and colleagues. Two $175 awards are open to both graduates and undergraduates and are made on the recommendation of the School of Nursing.
Written by Ethel Warbinek, BC History of Nursing Society
Beatrice (Bea) Fordham Johnson entered the newly formed Department of Nursing at UBC in 1919. She graduated from The Vancouver General Hospital Training School in 1922, and received a BASc (Nurs) in 1923, one of the first three students to receive a nursing degree in the entire British Empire.
She was born in Vancouver on November 29, 1899 to a prominent BC family. Her father was president of BC Sugar and also served as Lieutenant Governor of BC.
While at UBC Bea joined the Players’ Club and remained active during her years in residence at VGH traveling around the province with the club during its summer circuits and met Professor Frederic Wood, her future husband.
She and her nursing classmates took part in the Great Trek proudly carrying a banner proclaiming, “We are the first three women in the British Empire to get degrees in nursing.” After graduating in 1923, Bea became head nurse of the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Operating Room at VGH. Soon after, she accepted a position as district nurse with the Victorian Order of Nurses in Montreal, working on the docks, giving health lectures and providing pre and post natal care.
She returned to Vancouver in 1924, to accept a head nurse position at VGH emergency department. In 1925, she married Professor Wood and as was typical of women of her era, left nursing when she married. She continued her interest in nursing through her volunteer work at VGH with the Women’s Auxiliary and during WW2, she worked with the Red Cross.
Her participation in theatre continued throughout her life. She provided encouragement to the Players’ Club and was a patron of the Freddy Wood Theatre.
Bea Wood died on July 18, 1992 at the age of 92.
1930s Amazing Alumni Stories
Polly was born in North Battleford Saskatchewan on Sept 13, 1906. Three years later the family moved to Vancouver. She graduated from Burnaby South High School in 1922 and then attended the Provincial Normal School, graduating in 1923. She taught School in a small one-room school in Saskatchewan for five years. However, her dream was to have a university education so she returned to Vancouver where she enrolled at UBC taking the “double degree program” both a BA and a BaSc(N) program. During her years at UBC, she supported herself by doing everything from housework and babysitting to tutoring for room and board, graduating from VGH in 1938 and from UBC in 1939.
Following graduation, Polly was appointed supervisor with the Division of Venereal Disease Control in BC, responsible for the educational program for both undergraduate and post-graduate students. During WWII, she wanted to join to army, but could not be released from her position as it was deemed too important.
In 1944, Miss Evelyn Mallory, director of the UBC School of Nursing, offered her a position and she was appointed instructor and supervisor of public health nursing field work with a salary of $150/month. During this time, Polly took an active interest in nursing affairs, serving as secretary in the RNABC. Wishing to remain on the faculty, Polly knew she needed a master’s degree. Her first choice was public health but another faculty member, Ruth Morrison, already had a more senior position teaching public health nursing. In the early 1950s, based on the wishes of Evelyn Mallory, she pursued studies in paediatrics at the University of Chicago. She studied under well renowned nurse Florence Blake who offered her a job when she graduated, but out of a sense of loyalty to UBC, she turned it down. Over the years she maintained her friendship with Florence Blake. When reflecting on this decision she regretted making it as she experienced continuing friction between herself and Evelyn Mallory. In an article she stated “I for one, choose to remain in nursing, knowing that as long as we retain our sense of value we will achieve the better conditions for which we are striving and at the same time maintain our professional integrity.” Many students from the years 1950-1970 will remember her as their teacher of Human Growth and Development. Polly was a faculty member for 27 years, retiring in 1971. She died on April 8, 1991.
Written by Ethel Warbinek, BC History of Nursing Society
Lyle is one of the most well-known Canadian nurses in the world, and it is a true privilege to celebrate her as one of our own. And indeed, she in return believed that the UBC School of Nursing was an important contributor to her career and was proud to consider herself an alumna.
After graduating from UBC, Creelman's first position was as a public health nurse in Cranbrook, British Columbia and then Director of Nursing at the Metropolitan Health Committee (later the Vancouver Health Department) and became President of the Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia (now CRNBC) in 1944.
In 1948, Lyle began collaboration with J.H. Ballie on a major study of Canadian public health services. This study led to the publication of the Baillie-Creelman Report in 1950 which was considered for many years to be the main reference for the preparation of public health professionals in Canada.
Her international nursing role began in 1944 when she joined the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and evolved as she became a nursing consultant for the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1949, and later Chief Nursing Officer in 1954. She spent 14 years in this position, developing and innovating nursing standards and practice that would ensure many countries' ability to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency in health care. According to the news journal of the International Council of Nurses in Geneva, "In these years she [had] probably achieved more for nursing throughout the world than any other nurse of her time."
Although she retired from WHO in 1968, she continued to pursue nursing excellence and was commissioned to study maternal and child health services in Southeast Asia as well as continuing to be a mentor and role model to colleagues.
Lyle has been greatly celebrated for her outstanding accomplishments in nursing. Among the recognitions she has received are the Medal of Service of the Order of Canada in 1971, the Canadian Centennial Medal in 1967, the Jeanne Mance Award (which is the highest honour of the Canadian Nurses Association), an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of New Brunswick in 1963, and in 1992, UBC awarded her an honorary Doctorate of Science, the first graduate of the School of Nursing to receive such an honour.
Lyle passed away in early 2007 in West Vancouver at the age of 98. The Lyle Creelman Research Endowment Fund has been established through a major gift from her estate which will be used to fund research by the School of Nursing in the area of public health and the prevention of disease.
She also gifted the School with a number of historic artifacts gathered during her international activities and some of her most prized awards. These artifacts will serve as meaningful reminders of the global commitment toward which UBC Nursing aspires, and we look forward to being able to create a permanent display within the University.
In 2008, a distinguished and unique alumna who was both a nurse and a social worker passed away. Jean Dorgan (BASC(N) ’34) was born in New Westminster in 1910, the first of four children. She attended St. Ann’s Academy – grades 1 – 11 and graduated at 16. In 1934 she graduated from VGH School of Nursing and from UBC with a BASc(N) where she studied public health nursing.
Following graduation, she worked for the Welfare Department at VGH finding placements for long term patients. Four years later, she was employed by the newly established Metropolitan Health Department as a public health nurse at a salary of eighty dollars per month. She had offices in two Vancouver schools – Laura Secord and Beaconsfield. Her responsibilities included checking children, inoculations, well baby clinics and new baby visits. Her concerns were for the welfare of the poor immigrant families in her district.
In 1942 Jean enlisted in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps and was called to active duty shortly after. She left for overseas in 1943 as a member of a 200-bed casualty clearing hospital. After a short period in England, her hospital was shipped to Italy where they saw action at the third battle of Casino when Mussolini was defeated. Her unit was transferred to Holland as a member of the 21st Army Group. Jean remained in Holland until the end of the war.
Following her service in WWII, she received an MSW at the University of Toronto in 1949. She did not return to nursing but believed her dual experiences as a nurse and social worker were a distinct advantage in her career. After a short stint at Shaughnessy Hospital, Jean returned to Toronto and taught in the School of Social Work at U of T for nine years as a field work supervisor in the Toronto Welfare Department.
Her next move in 1956 was to Ottawa where she was hired by the Federal Government as a consultant for the Dept of Health and Welfare, Mental Health Division. She ended her career as Head of the Appeals Section of Canada Pension Plan.
Jean retired in 1975 and returned to BC. She lived in Richmond until 1988 and then returned to her birth place - New Westminster. She was an active member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church and a volunteer with Irving House in New Westminster. She provided information to a memory project that includes oral histories of more than 1000 veterans. Jean was interviewed about her experiences as a nursing sister. She was described as a very charming and gracious lady who led a very interesting life. Jean died December 2, 2009 at age 98 after a brief illness with family and friends holding her hands. Her wish was fulfilled to live independently to the end. Two days earlier she had attended Mass and gone out to lunch with friends.
The BC History of Nursing Society has a CD of an interview with Jean Dorgan which is available at the CRNBC library.
Story Courtesy of the BC History of Nursing Society, 2009.
Florence Graham (BASC(N) '35) attended the School of Nursing's 85th Anniversary celebration in 2004 and captivated many with stories from her long career in public health nursing. Not only did she influence the field of nursing through her professional career, but she made considerable efforts to stay in contact with students, and inspire them on their own nursing journeys.
After completing her BASC(N), Florence obtained a Masters of Public Health Nursing and used her training to build a long and meaningful career in health care. She worked for the Vancouver Metropolitan Health Board, New Westminster School Board, and Ministry of Health in Cowichan. After moving to Vancouver Island, she was employed for five years as the Night Supervisor at the Kings Daughters Hospital before retuning to her favourite occupation as a Public Health Nurse with the Ministry of Health at the Central Vancouver Island Health Unit, Margaret Moss Health Center, where she worked until her retirement in 1976.
Florence was a member of many health and nursing related boards including the original Boards of Directors for the Family Support Service (Home Makers and Home Care Nursing), the Family Life Association, Heart and Stroke Association and the Mental Health Association. She loved her family and friends, and was a constant source of inspiration to students and nurses throughout the lower mainland, and especially at UBC.
Many students received inspiration from Florence. One such student, Nora Whyte (BASC(N) '73), was first inspired by Florence as a Grade eight student. Florence had come to Nora's school as a Public Health Nurse to administer immunizations; she encouraged Nora to explore Nursing by providing a patient ear and plenty of information. Later, Florence's influence was renewed as she acted as practicum supervisor to Nora who was enrolled in the UBC School of Nursing. Of working with students, Florence has said "it's just part and parcel of the job. You want to serve as a good role model and ensure that they get the best training and education they can get."
Geraldine Homfray Langton graduated from the Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing and from UBC in 1931. Following graduation she was employed as a public health nurse in Chilliwack, BC. She described this as a 2-two-nurse area: one was rural and other was the town of Chilliwack. Both nurses were recent UBC graduates.
Their first objective was to make themselves known so they contacted local organizations, such as the Fair Committee and were given a large table which they used to exhibit a variety of healthy fresh foods along with posters. This attractive display received “great and encouraging remarks.” The only flaw was that they used a pound of butter which was not the local Fraser Valley brand, so they quickly changed it. As it was at the beginning of the depression, the local doctors were a bit apprehensive about the nurses believing they may “steal some of their clients.” If someone had a communicable disease such as mumps, scarlet fever or measles, a sticker and placard were tacked on the house and the whole family was quarantined. They had no local skilled supervision. “You were on your own and you had to make decisions. If there were major decisions regarding health, you either could phone Victoria, which wasn’t a very reasonable, so we had to use our own thinking skills to try and resolve the problems. “No clinics were available for dental care or vision checks. The one clinic that was available was the Travelling TB clinic run by Dr. Lamb and nurse - Miss Peters. Geraldine was concerned about vision problems affecting school children, so she contacted a doctor in New Westminster who began visiting every six months to check eyes. She also arranged for a paediatrician to visit during the agricultural shows. Nothing of this kind had been done before and the services were well received. She conducted baby clinics, providing advice and educational materials as well as home visiting of new mothers.
During the summer months the local children would go swimming in the in the sloughs and when school resumed in September she was inundated with impetigo, ring worm, scabies and nits. Some of the children from poorer families could not get away in the summer so Geraldine approached the IODE and a group of volunteers to see if a week’s holiday at Cultas Lake could be arranged. This was successful, but the children did not have swim suits or proper clothing for camp, so Geraldine along with volunteers, made shorts and bought T-shirts for them. No zippers were available so evenings and Saturdays were spent sewing buttons and making button holes.
In 1934, Geraldine was promoted to supervisor at the Cowichan Health Center on Vancouver Island. This was a larger unit with four nurses. They provided bed side care, dressing changes, new baby visits and were responsible for home deliveries. “So we always had our bag packed to be called at any time of the day or night.” She describes mental health as “it hadn’t come to the fore then. We handled it by giving people reassurance, talking things over, but there wasn’t any referral to a Mental Health Clinic. “
In 1936, Geraldine became supervisor of Unit 2 at the newly formed Metropolitan Health Committee in Vancouver. She found this work too structured compared to the rural settings which she preferred, so after two years she resigned and enrolled in the Master of Arts course at George Peabody College for Teachers. Upon completion, she was invited to be a member of the staff at the UBC School of Nursing as Field Work Supervisor. She resigned in 1943, perhaps to be married.
In 1964 Geraldine returned to public health nursing in Abbotsford, BC. Many services had been added such as such as mental health clinics as she said “there were many more services to call upon, but people were still people. I found I settled into the niche very quickly.”
After six months, she was moved to Haney. One major change she experienced was the closing of Riverview Hospital with some patients being transferred to boarding homes in her district. She made regular visits and was “shocked at seeing these elderly people sitting down doing nothing and watching TV. I thought there must be something more if they were going to live in a community.” Using her initiative, as in her earlier experiences, she mobilized a body of volunteers to organize outings, arrange sing songs, dances and always food. Interested in rehabilitating some of the people, she tried to find odd jobs for them. One man came regularly to her house to do gardening work. He was so reliable that she gave him a key and he would go in and make himself a cup of tea. “He became quite a different man.”
Geraldine was asked to teach again at UBC based on her public health nursing experiences in rural communities, but turned it down because of family responsibilities.
In retirement she sat on the garden council at her apartment building and tried to recruit volunteers to help restore the garden. On reflecting back on her career she said: “If I had to live my life over again, I would certainly go into the same field of work – public health nursing or something related to the community.”
Geraldine (Homfray) Langton is a wonderful example of a UBC School of Nursing graduate. She died on November 5, 1995 in North Vancouver, BC.
Submitted by Ethel Warbinek, BC History of Nursing Society
Source of the information: Oral History Interview August 1988 #120 and transcript – Biographical file CRNBC Library
Fyvie graduated from The Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing and from UBC in 1931. She was the daughter of Dr. Henry Esson Young who was Provincial Health Officer of BC from 1916-1939.
In 1933 Fyvie was a public health nurse at the Cowichan Health Unit on Vancouver Island and a year later was promoted to supervisor. She was awarded a fellowship by the Rockefeller Foundation and attended Teacher’s College, Columbia University where she received a Master of Arts Degree. Following graduation, she was appointed secretary of the Division on Maternal and Child Hygiene by the Board of Governors, Canadian Welfare Council. In 1937, she returned to UBC where she joined Director of the School, Mabel Gray and faculty member, Margaret Kerr to teach the course, Practice of Public Health Nursing. The school had received a three-year Rockefeller Foundation grant which enabled the hiring of a well-qualified supervisor to visit all the field work agencies to assist them in planning student field work. Fyvie remained on faculty until 1940. She married and was an active member of the Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association.
She died in Oliver, BC on September 8, 1986 at age 76.
Esther Irene Paulson was born in New Westminster, BC in 1906. She graduated in 1928 from the Royal Columbian Hospital School of Nursing. Her first position was as a staff nurse in the Tuberculosis building, Royal Columbian Hospital and later ward supervisor. In 1930 she earned a post-graduate certificate in obstetrical nursing from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal and in 1934, a diploma in public health nursing from the University of British Columbia.
In 1935, she was appointed to the Welfare Field Service, which combined services of Public Health Nursing and Social Welfare. In 1940, Esther joined the Vancouver Metropolitan Health Committee and in 1943 was appointed Director of Nursing for the Vancouver Hospital and Chest Clinic. In 1944, she was appointed Provincial Director of Nursing for the Division of TB control, overseeing nursing care for patients in Vancouver, Victoria and Tranquille. Thus began her memorable career in the field of TB nursing that was to continue until she retired in 1966.
When Pearson a new TB hospital opened in 1952, she was appointed Director of Nursing while continuing to act as Nursing Consultant for the Division of TB control.
Esther was involved in professional nursing throughout her career. She was an active member of the RNABC, holding offices of secretary, Vice President and President from 1951-1957. From 1960-62 she was the Chairman, Nursing Section, Canadian Tuberculosis and Respiratory Association (Canadian Lung Association). In recognition of her management in TB nursing in Canada, she received the Centennial Medal and Honorary Life Membership in the Canadian Lung Association.
Esther was a noteworthy writer. She published articles on TB nursing, poliomyelitis and nursing issues. During her retirement she continued to write historical articles, such as the History of the Royal Columbian Hospital School of Nursing and biographies on many prominent BC Nurses. One cannot talk about Esther without mentioning her incredible memory and her ability to recall accurately names and events long forgotten by most of us. This was an exceptional gift.
Esther Paulson was an honorary member of the BC History of Nursing Group. She died on January 2, 2004 after a brief illness. Provided by the B.C. History of Nursing Society
When Dorothy Priestly arrived in Prince Rupert with her new Diploma in Public Health Nursing in 1937 she probably could not have imagined the changes that would occur during her time there. She was hired as the first “School Nurse” in the area by the Prince Rupert School Board and the Provincial Board of Health, though her duties took her far beyond the schools.
She had been a hospital supervisor prior to going to UBC for her Public Health course, and her organizational skills are evident in her first Annual Report for the Prince Rupert Public Health Nursing Service in 1938. Not only is the report extremely detailed and well written, it also reveals an astonishing amount of work by this one woman. In that year she examined 2058 school children, made 825 home visits, weighed and measured another 1847 children, and did 1530 “eye and ear tests”. With admirable restraint, she wrote, “It is hoped that in the near future the nurse will be better equipped to serve the community by being supplied with a car, as much time is being lost walking between schools and in visiting from Seal Cove to Westview.” (Annual Report 1938, p. 6) To put this into perspective, the distance would be approximately seven kilometres, involving walking up and down hills, often in very rainy and/or windy weather and at certain times, very slippery conditions, carrying the equipment she needed to do her job.
Nevertheless, she stayed in Prince Rupert for about five years, during which time World War II broke out. The population almost tripled between 1940 and 1942, with construction workers building a new port, and members of all the armed forces being stationed there. This of course resulted in all manner of health and social problems. Despite that, no-one replaced Dorothy in 1941 when she was ill for several months and “no work was done” during that time.
In 1942 Dorothy left for Chilliwack. Her dedication to Public Health Nursing was clearly strong, as there is a record of her applying to become a member of the American Public Health Association in 1943, and that year she also joined the newly formed Public Health Nursing Council, representing 16 PHNs in the Fraser Valley. She became President for two years starting in 1947, the same year she was the first Public Health Nursing Supervisor to be appointed in the province, in Central Vancouver Island Health Unit. She supervised 11 PHNs in six centres, and continued in this work until her retirement in 1965.
“She was noted as a competent supervisor and gracious lady. Her influence was such that many of her young public health nurses eventually went on to senior and supervisory positions. She also made an outstanding contribution in helping to design health centres which would make the work of the public health nurses efficient and convenient for the public.” (Green, p. 86)
E. Dorothy Priestly died on March 3, 1988, in Nanaimo.
References: Green, Monica M. (1984) Through the Years with Public Health Nursing: A history of public health nursing in the provincial jurisdiction British Columbia. Ottawa: Canadian Public Health Association
Priestly, E.D. (1938). Public Health Nursing Service: Prince Rupert, B.C., 1938 Report. Prince Rupert, BC.
**Photograph reproduced from Green, p. 85, by permission from Canadian Public Health Association.
Written by Carol Harrison, BSN, MSc, RN, BC History of Nursing Society October 5, 2010
Alison Reid Wyness (1912–2000) graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BASc (N) in 1934. As an integral part of her baccalaureate programme, she was a Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) School of Nursing student and completed this part of her nursing education in 1933.
Following her graduation from UBC, Alison was employed by the Ottawa Civic Hospital as a general duty nurse. She left this position after less than a year because she was diagnosed with very early tuberculosis, likely acquired during her student days at Tranquille, the provincial tuberculosis sanatorium. She returned home to Vancouver with orders to rest for three months.
Her nursing career at VGH began in 1935. She held positions as an instructor’s assistant, head nurse, and student clinical supervisor before becoming a nursing instructor in 1938. She taught students in both the VGH and UBC nursing programmes. Alison’s teachers, colleagues, students and friends included many of Canada’s nurse leaders, among them Mabel Gray, Grace Fairley, Margaret Kerr, Helen Mussallem and Lyle Creelman. In 1941, she married and therefore, resigned from her teaching position.
During her years as a nurse educator, Alison was actively involved in various organizations including the Graduate Nurses’ Association and the VGH School of Nursing Alumnae Association. After her marriage, while living in Brownsburg Quebec, she taught Red Cross Home Nursing and War and Emergencies. She insisted that French and English-speaking women take classes together– a first for the Red Cross in Quebec.
Following her return with her family to Vancouver in 1945, Alison undertook many volunteer positions enabling her to use the knowledge and skills gained during her nursing education and career. She continued as an active member of the VGH School of Nursing Alumnae Association and helped to plan Alumnae Manor, an apartment building for retired VGH nurses. She worked with the Volunteer Bureau of Vancouver from 1945 to 1952 and was the Chair of the Arrangements Committee for the 1950 Canadian Nurses Association Biennial Convention held in Vancouver. To encourage nurses to attend the convention, she wrote the article, Vancouver by the Sea, The Canadian Nurse, 46(6): 439-448, 1950. It is a tribute to the city of her birth that she knew and loved so well. She was a keen supporter of the UBC Nursing Alumni Division.
One of her major volunteer activities over more than 16 years was as Leader of the Reality Orientation Group on Banfield Pavilion 2 at VGH. She is remembered also for her significant volunteer work as a member of the United Church of Canada. For her valued services, she was given a life membership in the United Church Women. In 1989, she was awarded a Certificate of Honour in recognition of being nominated for the British Columbia Senior Award for Outstanding Voluntary Community Service. The VGH School of Nursing Alumnae Association recognized her contributions to the School and the Alumnae by awarding her a Life Membership in 1998.
Throughout her life, Alison was committed to promoting nursing as a profession. Her beliefs reflected those of many nurse educators who followed after her. For example, in 1938 she wrote: “I am attempting to find how we can produce the complete nurse….The question of skillcertainly is very much a problem….then there is …the art of nursing. How can you develop it?” In 1992, she decided to find a way to help students provide leadership and advance the profession that had meant so much to her. She endowed the Reid-Wyness Graduate Scholarship in Nursing at the University of British Columbia. The scholarship is named in honour of her father James Inglis Reid, a Scots immigrant and pioneer Vancouver merchant, and her husband, Gordon Young Wyness who, for over 40 years, profitably conducted the business begun by her father in 1908.
Written by M. Anne Wyness, Alison’s daughter, and Associate Professor Emerita, UBC School of Nursing.
1940s Amazing Alumni Stories
Margaret was the most senior faculty member throughout the Muriel Uprichard years. She began her sabbatical and study leave at the beginning of the 1967-1968 year, just as Evelyn Mallory retired. In 1970, she became the first UBC graduate on the faculty to obtain a doctorate, and began the trend for existing faculty to take doctoral studies. On her return to the School, during the Beth McCann era, she joined those teaching in the master’s program but at first continued to teach in the undergraduate program as well. During the Uprichard years she became one of two assistant directors and chaired the curriculum committee. From then until her retirement in 1988, she taught almost exclusively in the master’s program. She had another study leave in 1981-1982, during which she continued to perfect her work on the UBC Model. She completed the official document, The UBC Model for Nursing: Directions for Practice, commonly referred to as “the blue book” in 1987.
The UBC Model for Nursing
Faculty members at the UBC School of Nursing had been working for several years on a “Model for Nursing” when Muriel Uprichard arrived. The development of theoretical models for nursing practice and nursing education was a major advance in nursing in the 1950s. Models are based on scientific nursing theories, on nursing practice, or on a combination, and state beliefs and goals. They vary considerably. For example, one of the earliest, although it was not called a model, was developed by Virginia Henderson in 1952; it viewed humans as having 14 fundamental needs, which formed the basis for all nursing practice. Another model, developed in the 1970’s by Calista Roy, used four modes of adaptation on which nursing practice was based. Dorothy Johnson used eight behavioural systems as the basis for her model. Yet another model, by Dorothea Orem, took six universal, self-care requisites as its base and it was adopted in the late 1980s by the nurses in the Vancouver Health Department.
Nursing faculty at UBC began work in the late 1960s on a theoretical framework for curriculum development and on investigation of a model that could guide nurses in their practice, whether in institutions, communities, or homes. However, when Muriel Uprichard arrived and announced that the new curriculum would be based on a nursing model, this work suddenly became more urgent. A committee was struck, chaired by Margaret Campbell, who had recently returned to UBC from doctoral studies. The committee developed a model based on a behavioural systems model, similar to that developed by Dorothy Johnson. The UBC Model focused on “well” individuals who may face crises during their life cycles and may require nursing interventions. These crises may be unpredictable events, such as illnesses, or maturational events. The nurse, as nurturer, assists individuals to develop suitable coping behaviours in pursuit of the optimal goal of “health”.
The model, which almost immediately became known as the UBC Model for Nursing, required intensive work by a small, dedicated committee of faculty during 1972 and 1973. Nursing assessment tools and other databases had to be developed as well. For example, the “loss framework”, which focuses on the “loss of wellness”, became the pivotal point for the second year, during which students became involved with ill individuals who required hospital-based nursing care. In the third year students focused both on the individual and on the family. In the fourth year students continued their focus on individual and family, but expanded their practice to include the complexities of communities. So that the Model would be ready for the start of the new program in 1973, the five-member “Model Committee” (Margaret Campbell, Helen Shore, Janet Gormick, Rose Murakami, and Mary Cruise) worked evenings, weekends, and statutory holidays. In 1976, Nursing Papers (later called the Canadian Journal of Nursing Research) devoted an entire issue to articles written by several UBC faculty members about the UBC Model and its implementation. As well as depicting the model, the articles also described some of the independent study modules that were developed in these years, the tools for clinical evaluation, and an on-going research project designed to assess student satisfaction with the new program. These innovative projects were considerably in advance of their time.
The UBC Model has continued to be refined, but has changed only slightly from its original innovative base. Its theoretical underpinnings have been tested and it has been adopted successfully in a variety of practice settings throughout the province. The first agency to use the UBC Model was the Psychiatric Unit of the UBC Health Sciences Centre Hospital under nursing director Helen Gemeroy. When the new 300-bed Extended Care Unit (the Purdy Pavilion) of the Health Sciences Centre Hospital opened in 1977, Mary Cruise, who had been a member of the Model Committee, became the nursing director and selected the UBC Model as the basis for practice. The G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre adopted the UBC Model as the basis for its care in the mid-1980s. Students who have learned how to use The Model find it a valuable tool throughout their careers as a guide for collection and analysis of information.
Although Margaret Campbell seemed a shy, retiring personality, she was always active in provincial and national nurses’ associations. She served on many education committees and was a long-time member of the CNA Testing Service committees, which prepared registration examinations throughout the 1970s. An extremely conscientious teacher and attentive to detail, she became a much admired and respected advisor for many master’s students. Anyone who took her courses became expert at formulating objectives. From 1978 to 1986, when Marilyn Williamson was director, she was coordinator of the MSN program and the graduate advisor. In 1987, she received the RNABC’s Award of excellence in Nursing Education. She was also honoured by the UBC Alumni Nursing Division on her retirement from UBC in 1988. In 1990, she, along with Alice Baumgart, received one of the 75 UBC Alumni Association 75th Anniversary Award Certificates of Merit “for distinction to the University throughout her professional career and professional dedication and exceptional contribution to the community”.
Six months following her retirement, she was diagnosed with lung cancer and, despite an aggressive treatment regime, died of the disease in January 1992.
(Excerpts from Legacy: History of Nursing Education at the University of British Columbia 1919-1994, 1994, Glennis Zilm and Ethel Warbinek, Chapter 6).
Joan Doree (BASC(N) '49) was born in 1919 - the same year that the UBC School of Nursing opened.
Joan had originally hoped to become a dietician; however, due to the high cost of a university education, decided that nursing was the closest affordable option. The cost of attending nursing school back then was a mere $100. Upon graduation, she found her first nursing position in the rural, poverty-stricken town of Prelate, Saskatchewan. She then worked at St. Michael's General Hospital in Lethbridge, Alberta.
The war was in progress and she went to Vernon, BC, the site for basic training for military nurses. After D-Day, in July 1945, she went to Britain in a hospital ship over very rough waters. People could hardly stay up for being sick. Fifty non-combat troops (such as herself) went on this boat that was not built for war. Huge boats like the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary had convoys but boats like the one she was on did not. They landed at Liverpool in the dark (as lights were out in wartime) and had to wait for ten days to decamp because other boats had priority.
Joan was a Nursing Sister from 1944 to 1946 with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. In this role, she was posted during the war in Basingstoke, England, an Army Special hospital that specialized in plastic surgery, neurological disorders and psychiatric cases. Until her death she maintained contact with a patient she assisted in England who resided Ottawa.
After her post in Basingstoke, Joan was stationed in Taplow, England at a general hospital before spending six months at a hospital in Germany. The food prepared in the allied army was by German civilian cooks and thus, army food was very good, something she remembers with great pleasure. The nurses had a German woman doing their laundry. Instead of money, which had absolutely no value, she wanted soap for payment, so they gave her as much soap as they possibly could.
"Drive Carefully Death is Permanent" was a road sign they saw often as they drove in their army vehicles, which incidentally, had no doors and only small canvas seats. The roads were terrible so they did have to drive carefully or they would likely have died in a road accident.
When veterans returned from the war they were given an allowance by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) for an education, a house or a small business. Norman MacKenzie, then president of UBC, was sympathetic to veterans, Joan remembers. She opted for the university education at UBC that her parents could not afford before the war. After entering her chosen specialty of public health nursing, she went back to take the courses she should have taken at the beginning - chemistry, zoology, biology. Once she graduated, she worked at Vancouver General Hospital and St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver and Shaughnessy Hospital which was the military hospital at the time. She also worked in the downtown east side for the Vancouver Health Department and was a Liaison Nurse and then Assistant Supervisor and later Supervisor at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children.
Then, for the second time in her life she had another educational opportunity that would be paid for: The Federal Health Training Grant allowed her to obtain a Masters in Public Health Administration in Berkley, California from 1966-67 and paid her $250 per month!
Throughout her career, Joan maintained strong affiliations with the nursing community. She was involved with the BC History of Nursing Association, was a board member for the RNABC for two terms in the 1970's and 80's, and was a founder of the BC Federation of Nurses. Once established, this was a body (supported by the RNABC) from which nurses could request funds for education and research.
In retirement Joan was a volunteer tutor at the Carnegie Community Centre for ten years.
Joan died on February 26, 2016 at Holy Family Hospital at the age of 97.
Dr. Beverly DuGas is well-known, both nationally and internationally, for her work in nursing education and for her nursing textbooks, which have been widely used throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as the South Pacific region.
Born in Vancouver, Dr. DuGas completed her basic nursing studies at the University of British Columbia, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in nursing from the university and a diploma in nursing from the Vancouver General Hospital in 1945. She received a Masters of Science in nursing from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1947. Returning to UBC for further graduate work, Dr. DuGas completed her doctorate in adult education in 1969.
Her professional career has combined nursing, teaching, writing, and consulting. Starting in 1953, Dr. DuGas worked first as a staff nurse at VGH, then as an Instructor in the School of Nursing. Dr. DuGas took over from Dr. Helen Mussallem as the acting director of the School of Nursing at VGH in 1957 when Helen went on leave of absence to undertake a project for the Canadian Nurses Association. Helen never returned to VGH, and Dr. DuGas was formally appointed as director of the School of Nursing in 1960. She introduced major curriculum changes in the 1950's and '60's, integrating theory and practice at the bedside early in the teaching program so students could observe and practice nursing care on real patients instead of on a dummy in the Nursing Arts Laboratory. Approached by an American publisher, Dr. DuGas and a colleague wrote a first-year nursing textbook for the North American market.
In 1965, she resigned as director when asked by the World Health Organization to set up a post-basic baccalaureate program for graduate nurses in India. After completing her doctorate, Dr. DuGas joined Health and Welfare Canada as a nursing consultant in the Health Manpower Directorate, becoming the director of the Planning Division in 1972. Also, in 1972, Dr. DuGas received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Windsor for her contributions to the nursing profession.On leave of absence from Health and Welfare, she undertook two assignments with World Health. In Suriname she did a Nursing Manpower study. In Barbados she established a program to prepare teachers for the Health Sciences field in the Caribbean.
From 1977 to 1982, Dr. DuGas spent most of her time as a health planning consultant in developing countries. In 1982, she joined the faculty of the School of Nursing at the University of Ottawa as the coordinator of continuing education where she established a distance education program for the post-RN baccalaureate program, becoming the acting associate dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and the director of the School of Nursing in 1987. She retired from that position in 1989.
She continued to be active in nursing and was the founding President of the B.C. History of Nursing Group on the RNABC. She also undertook three assignments for WHO in which the focus was on distance education. These included setting up a distance education network for the nurses in Fiji, a feasibility study in China and a workshop in Manila. She undertook her last overseas assignment in 1998, going to India for UBC to help with their new partnership with a nursing school in the Punjab. Dr. DuGas was made a Member of the Order of B.C. in 1999 and a Member of the Order of Canada for her contributions to the health field in 2001.
Her family has always played a large part of her life. Her home, both in Vancouver and Ottawa was always full of young people. She has seven grandchildren and took three with her on her overseas assignments. One went to France and Switzerland, one to China and one on her last assignment to India. She also had three of the grandchildren living with her at various times during her retirement while they went to college and university.
A stroke during heart surgery slowed her down until she discovered she could still write, using the computer. She wrote a book of stories about her life in India, originally for the family. With Bud's help as editor and project coordinator, however, they decided to have it printed with the proceeds of sales going to the History of Nursing Archival Fund. She is now writing stories about the VGH School of Nursing
Dr. DuGas is probably best known internationally for her nursing textbooks. Her latest textbook, Nursing Foundations. A Canadian Perspective, originally co-authored with Emily Knor and published in 1995, is now in its second edition, with Lynne Esson and Sharon Ronaldson as co-authors. Previous editions of the text under the title Introduction to Patient Care have been translated into six languages and used in over forty countries. She is also co-author (with Ann C. Beckingham) of the nursing text Promoting Healthy Aging: A Nursing and Community Perspective (St. Louis: Mosby, 1993).
Dr. Du Gas moved into the Waterford when it opened in 2003 to be near her daughter, who lives in Tsawwassen and her oldest son, who lives in Langley. She has been happy there and made many new friends. She has four children, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Adapted from Pearson Publishing Co Website
Norma Fieldhouse came to UBC as an Air Force veteran. She recalls that when the war ended, UBC - as were the majority of universities across Canada - was encouraging veterans to attend university and remembers the tremendous leap in enrolment one year from 2500 to 10,000 students! As a veteran, medical coverage was paid for, tuition was only $150 a year, and room and board was only $45 a month.
Norma earned her Diploma in Public Health Nursing from UBC in 1947, also earning a certificate in Teaching and Supervision from St. Paul's Hospital as well as both a bachelor's degree in History and a master's in Nursing from Columbia University.
She maintains that although nursing provided an extremely rewarding career, she always had an interest in pursuing History. At the time however, women had fewer options and she had been limited to choosing between nursing, teaching, and office work. In her day, nurses had to wear hair nets and were forbidden to wear lipstick. “Life was restrictive and you had to work very long hours with one night off a week.” She remembers one occasion when she snuck out at ten o'clock (past curfew) and upon return had to walk up all eight flights of stairs for fear that the residence matron would wake from the noise and that she would be reprimanded. "There was a great deal more flexibility in the Armed Forces than there was in nursing!"
Norma was a Nursing Sister in the Air Force in Europe. Through her many years as a member of the Nursing Sisters Association of Canada, Norma has had the opportunity to support the many nurses that have served during war. Canada's Nursing Sisters have a proud legacy of military service that dates back as far as 1885, when for the first time, Canadian nurses were part of the medical and surgical team deployed to care for soldiers wounded during the North-West Rebellion.
Norma has accomplished much throughout her career in nursing. She was the initiator of a program in nursing at a community college in Kitchener - Waterloo Ontario. She worked in Public Health in both North and West Vancouver. She set up a community clinic in Toronto with NPs and physicians. And for one year after the war, was head nurse at Toronto Western Hospital.
Norma currently lives in Sidney, B.C. and has taken a number of history courses at Dunsmuir Lodge, finally pursuing her interest in history! She plans to attend the upcoming reunion celebrations that will be held during Alumni Weekend this May and looks forward to reconnecting with the School!
Monica Frith Green was one of British Columbia’s most distinguished and honored public health nurses.
Born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, in 1917, she moved to B.C. as a child. She graduated from the six-year, double-degree nursing program at the University of British Columbia, with her RN from Vancouver General Hospital, and her Bachelor of Arts (1939) and Bachelor of Applied Science in Nursing (1940). Soon after graduation, she joined the Provincial Public Health Nursing Service, working in the Okanagan and in Creston. After a leave to obtain a Master’s degree in Public Health Nursing from the University of Michigan, she returned to the B.C. PHN Service as a Consultant. In 1948, she was promoted to Director. Under her gifted administrative skills, the nursing service expanded and she introduced, among other advances, a post-hospitalization home-care program, one of the first in Canada. She held the Director’s position until her marriage and retirement in 1975.
Throughout her career, Mrs. Green was active in professional associations and was, among other positions, president of the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA). In 1967, she was honored by her U.S. colleagues and became Honorary President of the American Public Health Association and in 1968 was made an APHA Fellow. In 1975, she received the Award of Merit from the B.C. Branch of the CPHA for outstanding contributions to public health services and public health nursing.
Following retirement, she wrote the thoroughly-researched and well-illustrated Through the Years with Public Health Nursing: A History of Public Health Nursing in the Provincial Government Jurisdiction British Columbia (Ottawa: CPHA, 1984), now a classic reference book. In recognition of her writings, she was named an Honorary Life Member of the History of Nursing Professional Practice Group of the College of Registered Nurses of B.C.
Monica leaves a lasting legacy - her outstanding service and writings and her generous endowments to health care, nursing history, and nursing scholarships. She died December 28, 2004.
Provided by the B.C. History of Nursing Society
Lucille "Lucy" Giovando, born on September 5, 1918 of a pioneer Ladysmith family, died on December 13, 2015 in her 98th year in Ladysmith after a long and productive life. Predeceased by her father John Dominic Giovando, her mother Victoria Giovando, her siblings Dr. Larry Giovando, Marie Doumont, Minnie Honeyman and Tony Giovando, Lucy was survived by a niece and nephews as well as numerous great-nieces and great-nephews.
After obtaining a BASc(N) degree in nursing from UBC in 1942, Lucy worked as a public health nurse in a number of locations in B.C. including Kelowna, Kamloops and Cumberland. She then went to the United States where she obtained her Master’s Degree in Public Health. She then moved back to B.C. where she worked for many years as a public health nurse, eventually becoming administrator of the nursing staff initially at the public health units in North and West Vancouver, and subsequently at the public health unit in the Burrard District of Vancouver. As a former colleague recalled in the public tributes after her death, “She was always available [for advice],usually with a laugh and a smile. Our paths didn't cross for awhile but after we both retired I would visit with her at various VGH Alumnae events and at the Kerrisdale Community Centre. She was active with so many organizations and always a leader.”
Lucy had a wonderful sense of humour and an infectious laugh, both of which were most often directed towards herself. She was adventurous and strong willed, and loved life and people. She was particularly fond of travelling and visited, among other places, Mongolia, the Orient, South East Asia, Latin America and Morocco. In the 1950's she worked for a year as a nurse for the World Health Organization in El Salvador, an adventure that provided her with many interesting memories.
In her later years, Lucy returned to live in the family home in Ladysmith, where she still had many friends and relatives. A memorial mass was held for her at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Ladysmith on January 23, 2016.
Kirstine Griffith (BASC(N) ’45) was born in Vancouver General Hospital in 1922 and from her early years, always knew she was going to become a nurse.
She entered into her first year of nursing (which was her second year at UBC) in 1940, and the following year began in the School of Nursing at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH). All students were required to live in residence and there were very strict rules regarding curfew, lights out and hours of classes. She recalls her anatomy instructor telling her and her classmates the three reasons why women entered into nursing: feelings of altruism; morbid curiosity; and to catch a husband, “as everyone knew doctors had excellent prospects”
In 1944, Kirstine completed her Graduation Exercises, and received the Agnew Gold Medal in Obstetric Nursing. She spent that summer working at the provincial Venereal Disease Clinic. Upon returning to UBC in September, Kirstine was elected president of the Nursing Undergraduate Society (NUS) and also became a member of the engineering undergraduate executive. She graduated on May 10th 1945 and was married on May 26th to Don Buckland.
She began work as a Public Health Nurse in the Saanich Health Department near Victoria and stayed there for two years before resigning in 1947. She gave birth to her first daughter, Elizabeth, in January of 1948 and her second, Dorothy Ann in July 1950. Their son, David Francis was born in March of 1954. In 1951, her husband lost his sight, and she devoted herself to being his personal assistant. Following his death, in 1956, Kirstine returned to nursing.
In 1956, she was appointed as an instructor in charge of the Student Nurses Health Clinic at VGH and in 1958 she left the clinic and was appointed as an instructor first in Gynaecological Nursing, and later in Public Health Nursing, Pediatrics and Human Development. She received her Master of Arts in Adult Education in 1968, and was appointed a Senior Instructor of the VGH School the following year. She retired in 1982 after 26 years working in the school.
Kirstine remained active in community service, crocheting and quilting several hundred lap robes that she donated to the local health authority. In addition, Kirstine’s resource book, “The Religious Aspects of Nursing Care,” originally produced in 1996, has had more than four printings. The book attunes nurses to practices they may have never encountered, so that they can provide culturally safe care. “It’s not enough to identify a patient’s religion,” said Kirstine. “Nurses need to ask questions about practices and listen.” She is aware that matters pertaining to religion raise sensitive issues within health care. “My intention was to ease the role of nurses in caring for patients when they may not know of the religious practices their patients follow,” she says. There are times when it is extremely helpful to understand how fasting periods could influence medication administration or how modesty preferences affect preparation for surgery.
Kirstine donated profits from book sales to various nursing scholarships, including a nursing scholarship fund at the UBC School of Nursing. “We really value the support of alumni like Kirstine,” says Dr. Sally Thorne, Director of School of Nursing (2002-2010). “These alumni find areas of need and fill them with thoughtful solutions. Not only has Kirstine created an excellent resource for practicing nurses, she also found a creative way in which to help the future generation of nurses through her financial generosity.” In 2009, The Religious Aspects of Nursing Care was converted to an ebook format which is now available on-line for free here
In 2013, Kirstine moved to Blenheim Lodge. She passed away December 5, 2014 after a brief illness. She will be fondly remembered as a great friend to the UBC School of Nursing.
Dorothy May Ladner, youngest of four children of the prominent Ladner family, was born in 1918. She followed in her mother Gertrude’s footsteps to become a nurse, graduating from UBC with a bachelor of applied science in nursing in 1944.
Until the end of World War II, she served as a medical nurse in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and throughout her career remained in the Reserve Forces. She then joined the BC Public Health Service, which was being reorganized after the war, serving as a public health nurse in various locations throughout British Columbia. Having graduated with a master’s degree in public health from the University of Pittsburgh in 1865, returned to supervise public health in the Maple Ridge District. In 1968, she was appointed Supervisor in Northern Interior Unit, headquartered in Prince George and covering a territory that included Vanderhoof, McBride and Valemont. The job required her to travel long distances in all weather, and took considerable courage and enterprise. She enjoyed outdoor living in the North, particularly camping and boating on Ootsa Lake. Dorothy Ladner was also keenly interested in the welfare of children and was involved in the planning and development of the Variety Club's Children's Treatment Centre in Surrey, BC. She became the second Executive Director of the centre, holding that position from February 1971 until August 1974. In September of 1987, she suffered serious head injuries after being hit by a car while walking in a crosswalk, and for the duration of her life required care.
She died peacefully in hospital on January 19, 1996. In 2004, her sister Edna G. Ladner endowed the UBC Faculty of Medicine with a memorial fellowship in Dorothy's name for a graduate student doing research which could lead to the effective treatment of traumatic brain injury."
Adapted from David Kirkpatrick (2009). In Praise of Strong Women: A Psychiatrist’s Memoir. Granville Island Publishing Co. and Valerie Grant, Sheila J. Rankin Zerr & Glennis Zilm (2006). Labor of Love: A Memoir of Gertrude Richards Ladner 1879 to 1976. Limited Edition
Beth McCann graduated from the UBC Nursing Program in 1940. She became a faculty member in 1947 and remained on faculty until she retired in 1982. She was acting director of the Nursing Program from 1967 to 1971. Beth’s association with Nursing as a student, faculty member, acting director and then senior professor and professor emerita, spanned more than half a century. During those years, Beth saw and participated in numerous changes with unfailing enthusiasm and enduring optimism. Few students, colleagues, friends or acquaintances can remember her without smiling and appreciating her friendliness and her devotion to nursing education.
She was born in Ioco, BC on February 9, 1917, where her parents had moved from Petrolia, Ontario. In 1933, the family moved into Vancouver and at age 16, Beth registered in a double degree program at UBC because she was too young to enter the nursing program directly. During the seven years of the double degree program Beth received a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Nursing). Following graduation with her Nursing degree in 1940, she became an instructor at the School of Nursing at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster until 1943, and then taught at VGH for one year. She was recruited into the expanding faculty at UBC and was the first nursing instructor to work both on and off campus with UBC’s nursing students while they were at VGH. During this time, she helped organize a wide field of experience for the students and spent a four-month summer term as a W.K. Kellogg Scholar studying nursing education at the University of Washington.
Beth enrolled in the Master of Science in Nursing at Wayne State University as a W.K. Kellogg fellow and returned to UBC as an assistant professor in 1953. She received her master’s degree in 1959 and was promoted to associate professor. She was very active with local, provincial and national nursing professional associations throughout her career, including the RNABC and the Conference of Canadian University Schools of Nursing, (later named the Canadian Association of University Schools of Nursing). She also helped form the Nurse Administrator’s Association of BC.
Beth was acting director of the Nursing Program from 1967 to 1971. She was a senior professor for ten years more after handing over directorship to Muriel Uprichard. Two of her main teaching areas included history of nursing and nursing administration; these she taught to all levels of the program and left an indelible impression on all nursing students who attended the school. She served on the Dean of Women’s Committee for Women’s Year in 1975 and was an elected member of the executive of the Faculty of Graduate Studies from 1976 until 1977.
Upon retirement in 1982, after 35 years on faculty, she said that her greatest commitments had been to patients and students. “I am a nurse first, and a teacher as a close second,” she said in an interview about her retirement. “I wouldn’t do anything else if I had it to do over again.”
At the time of her retirement, the Nursing Division of the UBC Alumni established a fund in her honour, which became the Beth McCann Memorial Scholarship following her death. Two scholarships from this fund are given annually to undergraduate students who demonstrate a commitment to the nursing profession and a contribution to the university or community. As well, a fund for the Beth McCann Chair for Nursing Research Fund was initiated by the class of 1960 as a start to raising the necessary $1 million endowment needed to establish a Chair. Both of these awards were started during her lifetime as a tribute to her many contributions. (Marion Clauson, Senior Instructor, is the current holder of the Beth McCann Scholar Award).
Beth died on January 13, 1986. Among her many honours were the Registered Nurses Association of BC’s Award of Excellence in Nursing Education, given posthumously at the RNABC’s annual meeting in 1986.
Excerpts from Legacy: History of Nursing Education at the University of British Columbia 1919-1994,1994, Glennis Zilm and Ethel Warbinek, Chapter 5).
Michiyo Uyede was among 76 students who received honorary degrees at a special ceremony held during UBC’s spring congregation to recognize and honour Japanese Canadian students whose university experience was disrupted in 1942. During this dark period during the Second World War, all persons of Japanese descent were uprooted and exiled from the B.C. coast, a violation of their basic citizenship rights. On this 70th anniversary, the University wanted to recognize the injustice they endured and to honor them and their families, welcome them as alumni, and celebrate their contributions as citizens of Canada.
In the May 30, 2012 ceremony, Michiyo (Uyede) Naruse was “reconferred” with the degree of Bachelor of Applied Science (Nursing) she received in the spring of 1942. She has since died, but her story was collected by the Japanese Canadian community and the University who used every available strategy to try to locate the students or their families.
Michiyo Uyede (sometimes spelled Uyeda), also called Alice and “Mikkie” by her nursing classmates, was born in Vancouver May 19, 1917. She enrolled in UBC’s six-year Nursing program in about 1939, and completed the three-year clinical portion of the program at Vancouver General Hospital in 1941. She had been active in the Nursing Undergraduate Society, serving as class representative while at VGH. She returned to UBC for the sixth and final year of theory and after intervention by the School was allowed to remain in Vancouver after the evacuation to complete her nursing studies.
According to Return: A commemorative yearbook in honour of the Japanese students of 1942, which was published for the ceremonies, she was one of the few who received permission to attend the 1942 graduation exercises. An article in the New Canadian newspaper of May 14, 1942 indicates that she was awarded a graduating prize – the “Provincial Board of Health Award for Public Health.” After the war, she moved to Montreal and worked as a surgical teaching supervisor at Children’s Memorial Hospital. In 1950, she married Henry Kanao Naruse and they moved to Trail, BC. While raising her family, she was involved in many community activities. In the 1970s, she took a nursing “refresher course” from BCIT so she could return to nursing at the Trail Regional Hospital. In 1981, she received her Master’s in Health Care Planning degree from UBC. She then made a career change and became a fashion designer and entrepreneur. She died in Trail on March 1, 1998.
Mary Richmond's nursing career spanned 50 plus years of dedicated commitment to excellence in nursing education and practice. A native of Vancouver, she finished high school in 1937. The Depression was still present and meant university was out of the question. She spent two and one half years as a volunteer in the Canadian Youth Congress before entering nurses training. Her life and career were shaped by this early experience. In her words "I believe that being a ‘nurse’ means serving on community boards to help people recognize our broader concerns for a healthful environment. This service confirms the nurse as citizen".
Mary graduated from the VGH/UBC program in 1945. She began her professional career teaching anatomy and physiology to nursing students at the Vancouver General Hospital (VGH). She obtained a teaching diploma from McGill University and later in her career taught for a period of four years at McGill University. She was the director of nursing education at Royal Jubilee Hospital (RJH) in the 1950s and during her tenure she taught anatomy and physiology to numerous RJH students. She is most remembered for the neurology lectures she based on her nursing experience at the Montreal Neurological Institute. She is also remembered for her demanding lectures and exams in Materia Medica. In her role as director of education she helped start programs in public health, Tuberculosis nursing and psychiatric nursing.
In 1964, Mary returned to the VGH to serve as director of nursing until 1973. During this time period she served on and chaired the Canadian Nurses Associations' (CNA) National Committee of Nursing Service, as well as chairing the Western Canadian Board of Review in connection with CNA’s pilot study on the accreditation of schools of nursing in Canada. She was also active in forming the Council of Hospital Schools of Nursing, a committee of representatives from all the nursing schools in B.C., which in 1967, recommended that the training of nurses should take place in the post-secondary educational system. In addition, she served on an ad hoc committee on nursing research set up by the CNA. Mary was a charter member of the Canadian Nurses Foundation.
In 1974, she moved on to undertake two concurrent jobs in Victoria; administrator for a number of departments at the RJH in Educational Resources and consultant, adjunct professor and Acting Director of the University of Victoria's (UVIC) School of Nursing. With the transition of hospital-based programmes to community colleges, Mary also served on the committee that saw the formation of Camosun College's School of Nursing. At this time she also involved herself with the Registered Nurses Association of B.C.s' (RNABC) Oral History Project and later helped enlarge this project to form the History of Nursing Professional Practice Group.
Although she relinquished her duties at the RJH in 1982, she continued to teach at UVIC as a visiting professor until 1988 and as Acting Director of the School of Nursing until 1992, when she retired from nursing. Her career and life accomplishments have been honoured with numerous awards. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree during the University of Victoria May convocation in 1991. In 1993 she was recognized for her contribution to the profession by RNABC highest award, an Award of Honour.
Mary was active on a long list of volunteer organization such as Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary and the Royal B.C. Museum's Fannin Foundation, reflecting her love of nature and natural history. She contributed to health related organizations such as the Cubbon Adult Day Care. She was a founding member of the B.C. History of Nursing Group of RNABC. She was a dedicated walker and faithfully found time daily for a five-kilometre walk.
Mary was loved and revered in her final years by family and friends. Her legacy to her family, where she was known as 'our Mary', was her gift of a love of nature, poetry and literature. Her legacy to her students and colleagues was her influence as a role model for excellence in nursing education and practice. She died November 29, 2002.
Provided by the B.C. History of Nursing Society
When I was a student in the UBC School of Nursing in the 30s, it was a seven-year program. The first three was the same as for Arts and Science, and the next three spent at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH). At the end of this time, RN exams were written. The seventh and final year of the program was back at UBC, and we were given two options: Public Health Nursing, or the Teaching and Supervision Course. I chose Public Health, and although given the chance I would reconsider that choice, it did provide some memorable experiences.
One experience was a visit to a Mennonite family to see why a boy was not in school. We found them living in the barn, which housed the family at one end, and the cows (like an audience) on the lower level. The cows provided warmth for the family like a central heating system! The boy said “he was sick” and thus could not attend school. However, it was obvious that he had been kept at home to work (which happened a lot in those days).
After gradation, I went to Chicago De Lee’s Lying-In Hospital for a Post Graduate Course in Obstetrics. For clinical practice you were sent with a team from the Maternity Centre until you were capable of performing on your own. We served the Black and Mexican residents of the slums who worked the slaughterhouses. The neighbourhoods were so poor that many of the tenements had no electricity and were full of vermin, cockroaches and even bed bugs though fumigated regularly. There were no phones, and thus, when the maternity team was needed a family member would flag down a police car to radio for the team. Teams consisted of a nurse from the Centre and a medical student. The nurse was responsible for both the care of the patient and the teaching of the student!
Every time I hear the song "In the Ghetto", it reminds me of the many children I saw born there and the hard life they had to live.
I returned from Chicago in 1942 to sign up for the Army just as the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour and shelled a lighthouse on the West Coast Trail of Vancouver Island. Victoria was blacked out each night until the fear of immediate danger had passed. There was a great shortage of RN’s to staff the civilian hospitals as so many had gone overseas for the Services. Delivery was done by the doctors while the RN gave a mild anaesthesia consisting of a few drops of chloroform on a mask!
In June 1944, I started in the army and transferred to Penticton for induction into the role of Nursing Sister. Impressed on us was that we were to consider ourselves officers first in all situations, and nurses second; however I always felt that the nurse in me outweighed the importance of being an officer. In November, I was posted in Prince George, which was then a very small town. The little civilian hospital that served the town was on old house with three floors. On my days off, there was little to do, so I volunteered in the hospital and my help was greatly appreciated.
At the end of March I was posted to Vancouver in the newly built Vancouver Military Hospital. Another nurse (“Babe” McFadden) and I were the first to arrive and were tasked with opening it up to receive soldiers returning from overseas. The war ended shortly thereafter. Nurses who had been overseas could choose to leave or stay in the army, and those who had been in over a year but not gone overseas were demobilized immediately. I was one of these, having only been in 14 months.
I applied and was accepted to the new Post Graduate Course in Operating Room Nursing at VGH and within two weeks of leaving the army, began the course. Upon completion, I took a staff position in the VGH OR from January to September ’46, at which time I left to take the one-year Teaching & Supervision course at UBC. Due to my army service, tuition was paid for by the Federal Government. I received my diploma in May ’47. Shortly after, I was made Clinical Instructor in the OR for the VGH and UBC nursing students. I continued in this position for 11 years. There were many memorable experiences as surgery developed and changed rapidly, there wasn’t a dull day!
In 1961, I took educational leave for one year to get my master’s degree in Nursing Education at the University of Washington. It was a very strenuous year! The program matched theory with practice without responsibility for routine duties in the hospital. I was impressed!
In March of 1963, I returned to Royal Jubilee Hospital and obtained a position in the OR (once again). I was to occupy the new position of Inservice Educator for the OR staff nurses and aides. The OR was incredibly old and needed updating in every way (much as it did when I had been there during my army service!). There was a miniscule Recovery Room with two beds and one nurse; space was at a premium and there were not nearly enough instruments to make up sets in advance of their use. I spent the next two years doing general duty and orientation of new staff in the OR and helping as a ‘circulating nurse’.
In March of 1965, I was made Inservice Education Supervisor for all RN staff. I had no budget or any visual aids and had to use my own slide projector at first. I spent the last ten years of my career at this job and during that period the following specialized services were introduced: coronary care and telemetry; open heart surgery with its own ICU; adult general ICU; haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis; TPN and use of respirators (before we had respiratory technicians).
I resigned in August of 1975, at 58 years of age, in order to take care of my mother who had many physical problems as well as arteriosclerotic dementia. My father had died in 1971 and I had been living with her since then. I cared for her for six months before she had to be hospitalized and wait ten months for a long-term care bed where she lived another 17 months before she died. I visited everyday and gave her the care that she would not have otherwise received in such a facility.
Nana (Yamamoto) Tamaki was among 76 students who received honorary degrees at a special ceremony held during UBC’s spring congregation to recognize and honour Japanese Canadian students whose university experience was disrupted in 1942. During this dark period during the Second World War, all persons of Japanese descent were uprooted and exiled from the B.C. coast, a violation of their basic citizenship rights. On this 70th anniversary, the University wanted to recognize the injustice they endured and to honor them and their families, welcome them as alumni, and celebrate their contributions as citizens of Canada.
In the May 30, 2012 ceremony, Nana (Yamamoto) Tamaki was awarded a special honorary degree “Inter Silvas Academi Restituere Iustitia” in recognition of the program she was unable to complete. She has since died, but her story was collected by the Japanese Canadian community and the University who used every available strategy to try to locate the students or their families.
Nana Yamamoto Tamaki was a third-year student in 1942, having completed her second year courses at UBC and therefore was presumably at VGH for her clinical years. She was born in Vancouver July 1, 1920, and graduated from King Edward High School. Despite searches by the Japanese Canadian community and the University, little else has come to light so far about her career after she was interned. It is known that she married and that she is deceased.
Edna was born and raised in Vancouver, graduating from Magee High School in 1935. She attended UBC and graduated in 1941 with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Nursing. After graduation Edna worked for the Provincial Board of Health in Saanich until her marriage in 1942. She moved with her husband to the small pulp mill town of Woodfibre where she began her family and did volunteer work for the community. In 1956 the family moved to Vancouver and she returned to work as a public health nurse for the city of Vancouver (1956-1961) and later for the city of Burnaby (1961-1978). In 1961 she moved her family to her beloved house on the hill in Maple Ridge.
Edna was devoted to her family and her profession. She particularly enjoyed her baby clinics, prenatal classes, home care, and especially her role as school nurse. In 1976 she was promoted to Associate Nurse Coordinator for the Burnaby Health Department, a position she held until her retirement in 1978.
Retirement did not last long for Edna. As a part of her role as home care nurse she had noted the need for support for terminally ill patients and their families. In 1980 she embarked upon her second career when she founded what has now become the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society. She devoted her time and energy to act as hospice coordinator, train volunteers, raise hospice awareness in the community, and support families in their time of need until her second retirement in 1993.
Edna received many tributes in recognition of her service to her community. In 1989 she became the first recipient of the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation's Dr. Lloyd Capling award for outstanding contributions in the health care field and in 2006 her many years of service to hospice were recognized by having her name placed on The Tree of Life plaque in the newly opened McKenney Creek Hospice in Maple Ridge.
Despite leading a very busy life Edna always made time for her family, friends, and hobbies. She enjoyed sewing, gardening, baking great pies, and traveling the world. She was particularly fond of strolling along the River Walk in Maple Ridge. In her later years she took pleasure in her regular visits to Whidbey Island, Tofino, and Whistler with family and friends.
On October 26, 2008 Edna passed away peacefully at Magnolia Gardens Care Centre in Langley at the age of 90 years.
Edna Trethewey was a truly remarkable lady and her good work will live on and continue to help others. Many people sit back and think - `someone should do something' - Edna just got out there and did it herself. The world needs more people like her.
Adapted from the obituary published in the Vancouver Sun 11/14/2008.
Margaret Ferne Trout once noted that when she looked back at her nursing career some of the experiences seemed almost unbelievable. She had a roving and varied career that took her into many prominent positions throughout B.C. She once wrote that she enjoyed every moment and that her career was “all I ever dreamed of and more.” Born in Arcola, Saskatchewan, in 1919, she was a “middle child.” The family moved to a remote homestead in the Cariboo district of B.C. when she was an infant and then moved several times until they finally settled in Vancouver near the University of British Columbia. She entered the University and eventually settled into the nursing program, graduating with a B.A. in 1939 and her Bachelor of Applied Science in Nursing in 1943.
During her training years, she contracted tuberculosis and spent six months in Tranquille Sanatarium. Following graduation, she was offered a job with the Division of TB Control to run the new affiliation program – the first provincial compulsory TB affiliation in Canada for all student nurses. Her job as instructor lasted until she was appointed head nurse and then Assistant Director of Nursing. In 1948, she left the Division and moved into a number of interesting and innovative positions in various parts of B.C. and Canada, including a one-year stint as a travelling instructor for the Registered Nurses Association of B.C.; this was an early continuing education course designed to help nurses keep current on advances in nursing. From 1952-1954, she was Assistant Director of Nursing at the new Pearson Hospital in Vancouver, which had been opened to care for the influx of TB patients following World War II but which was now an hospital for long-term, chronic care conditions, including poliomyelitis.
After leaving Pearson, she once again moved through a variety of senior positions, including Director of Nursing Education at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops and Director of Nursing at Penticton Regional Hospital and later Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver. She had taken the one-year special course offered by the University of Toronto in Hospital Administration in 1964. Following her time at Lions Gate, she was appointed a surveyor and later associate executive director for the Canadian Council on Hospital Accreditation (CCHA). The Council set standards for and accredited hospitals all across Canada. She later wrote that “the Council was the greatest challenge of my career” but that she was given opportunities to use her organization, planning, and writing skills. Her next career move was as Director of Patient Services at Shaughnessy Hospital in Vancouver from 1978 to 1980 and her final career move was as Director of Special Projects at the Vancouver General Hospital from 1980-1983.
She retired in 1983 first to Penticton and later to Kelowna, and, despite health problems, continued to lead an active life working on her memoirs. She died peacefully in Kelowna on March 24, 2006, age 87 years.
Provided by the B.C. History of Nursing Society
Like many women of her era, Billie chose nursing as a profession because university was unattainable financially. There were not many choices available to women at the time (the main options being: secretary, teacher, sales clerk, nurse) and a good friend of hers was a nurse. She has a passion for sewing and still does, but there was no future in that as a way to support herself so she decided to become a nurse.
She enjoyed the education aspect of public health very much, appreciating that disease prevention and health promotion were very important health initiatives.
Billie also obtained a Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision at Columbia University in New York and a Master’s in Public Health Administration from Berkeley, at the University of California.
From 1954 to 1956 she worked for the World Health Organization in Columbo, Sri Lanka, where she taught Public Health Nursing. Although she didn’t much like teaching in a classroom, she found the country and people to be interesting and she made sure that she had a “good balance between work and play.”
She has held several positions as a Supervisor, Associate Director and then Director of Public Health with the City of Vancouver over the years in a varied and challenging career. Billie retired in 1977.
She likes sewing, knitting and travelling. She has travelled extensively, including to the Arctic and Antarctic. And she’s not done yet! At the end of April, 2009 she is going on a cruise to the Caribbean, crossing the Atlantic and on to London and Paris.
1950s Amazing Alumni Stories
Nursing was my choice from a young age. I had a pretty romantic view of nursing from the Cherry Ames books. When interviewed by the Director of Nursing at the time, Evelyn Mallory, she said ‘you probably won't like it.’ I disagreed and have never regretted the choice.”
Her first year of Nursing was Arlene’s second year on the UBC campus. Most of her friends at the time were not in nursing. She and her nursing classmates did not yet have contact with patients. When they moved on to Vancouver General Hospital for 27 months of apprenticeship training, it often felt like “the blind leading the blind.” For example, Arlene relays that when she was first in charge on evening shifts on a surgical ward, “I remember asking a fellow student what a colostomy was and what I was supposed to do with it.” She describes living in residence at that time as a bit like being in the army. It seemed like a “sentence” to her as she did not much like being locked in at night. The last year back on campus was a great relief. Arlene remembers the bridge games between classes, the parties, and taking turns to show up at the Saturday morning class so the teacher would not feel too bad about the low attendance!
Arlene worked for one year (1958-59) in the Private Pavilion at the Vancouver General Hospital. The patients were interesting as a number were VIPs or related to VIPs. Some were quite wealthy and it was a clear lesson to her that money cannot buy health or happiness. Some of the patients had private nurses. When one of these private nurses made too many suggestions about how Arlene should carry out her work, “I suggested that she take care of her one patient and let me deal with my 32!”
Next, it was off to Europe for a three-month tour by car with two classmates. Afterward, it was cheaper not to return to Vancouver, so two of them stayed in Toronto to work in Public Health. That involved school nursing for four mornings per week, baby clinics twice a week, and many home visits in Arlene’s two-block-by-eight-block district in Parkdale. Many were "street visits" – chats with patients encountered on the street. Arlene learned never to ask "how are you?" if she didn't have time to listen to the answer. Mental illness was a challenge as there were few supports for patients or nurses. She was unsuccessful in persuading a family doctor to commit a young mother who, in her opinion, was clearly psychotic. That woman’s four-year-old child watched the police take her away from the house a few months later. Family planning was also a challenge because it was against the law to counsel birth control methods (there was no birth control pill available yet). Patients did not know about the law and spoke freely about their opinions for or against family planning.
The University of Washington for a master's degree was next on Arlene’s agenda. She missed the bridge games at UBC and had trouble adjusting to the quarter-term system. By the time mid-term exams rolled around she was just deciding whether she really needed various text books. Much was crammed into a one-year program, including a thesis. From there Arlene went to the University of Toronto to teach medical-surgical nursing for four years; two years teaching at the University of New Brunswick followed. Then Arlene decided to look into doctoral work by taking a post-masters year at the University of California, San Francisco. She enjoyed her year there and made several life-long friends. But she changed her mind about a PhD for the time being and took a position at Queen's University in 1969, where she stayed for 27 years, until she took early retirement in 1997. While at Queens, she attended Wayne State University in the summers and on a sabbatical year and obtained her PhD in 1993, at the age of 57. While at Queen's, she taught in each year of the four-year program, everything except maternal-child nursing and mental health. She was assistant dean for many of those years, working with Jean Hill, Alice Baumgart, and others.
Contact with exceptional students was the most rewarding part of her teaching career, Arlene says. These students were not always those with the highest grades, but those with the most creativity and aptitude for nursing. Her clinical experience in a small hospital in James Bay and Moose Factory General Hospital left lasting impressions on many students, some of whom chose to work in the north.
Arlene is now happily retired, travelling in the winters most years. In the summers, she paddles her kayak with a UBC classmate and plays golf several times a week with former colleagues. She lives with four cats in a house by a lake, “which makes kayaking alone very easy.” Arlene has been on the Board of the Kingston Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, where she is currently the treasurer. She is Past- President of the Retirees' Association of Queen's (RAQ), following two years as President and a number of years as Chair of the Events Committee. Her four best friends are UBC classmates; Arlene has taken several trips with two of them. She is in regular contact with several others by email and very much enjoyed their 50th anniversary last September.
Naomi Allsebrook was born and grew up in Kaslo, BC. In the mid-1940s, she entered the UBC School of Nursing, graduating from Vancouver General in 1950 and from UBC in 1951. Her class was the first to receive Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees rather than Bachelor of Applied Science (Nursing) degrees and, because, alphabetically, she was the first to receive her diploma that year, Naomi jokes that she is “UBC’s first BSN graduate.”
She then worked as a head nurse at the TB Willow Chest Centre, then at Pearson Hospital in Vancouver. After her marriage in 1953 to Peter Miller from UBC Engineering, the couple moved around the country – Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario. During these years, they began their family of one boy and five girls. As her daughters grew, she volunteered with the Girl Guides of Canada, which became a life-long interest and she advanced in the organization to become a Guide Trainer and continues to attend and support the Guide organization and to attend and serve on provincial councils. She was given honorary life membership in the Guides in 1987.
In 1968, the family returned to the mountainous, eastern BC area that was “home,” first to Golden, BC, and she continued to work, at times, in nursing and to establish a wonderful province-wide network of nursing friends and colleagues. Her husband, who was now a teacher, had always been interested in history and was working with the Golden and District Historical Society, so she joined in this passion and from 1974-83 was Curator of Golden and District Museum. In 1983, the family moved to Wasa, BC, and she soon became actively involved in the historical societies in that area. In 1980, she was elected to the Council of the British Columbia Historical Federation and in 1983 launched the Federation’s first annual Writing Competition for BC History Books. She served as president of the Federation from 1986 to 1988 and then volunteered as Editor, for 10 years, of the British Columbia Historical News. She reorganized it, increased its circulation, and firmly established it as a prestigious quarterly journal.
During the 1990s, she was particularly active in provincial history activities, serving as a member of the BC Heritage Minister’s Advisory Committee and as a Director of the BC Heritage Trust, and she worked with the innovative Kootenay “Living Landscapes” Committee. In recognition of this work, she was named an Honorary Life Member of the Kootenay Lake Historical Society in 1999. She was a founding Director of the Friends of Fort Steele Society – and if any of you have visited Fort Steele, you can appreciate the magnificent effort required to make this an important provincial heritage site. Since 1989, she has served each summer as a volunteer in Fort Steele Heritage Town. And from 1999 to 2005, she was Secretary of the Wasa and District Historical Association. From 2003 to the present, she has served as Secretary of the Fort Steele Cemetery Society.
Not only did she serve as Editor of the BC Historical News during the 1980s and early 1990s, but her own writing career also matured and flourished. In 1998, she and Wayne Norton edited the book The Forgotten Side of the Border, an important work in pulling together and sanctioning the history of the area. She also began writing articles on the history of nursing in BC’s eastern and central areas for the BC History of Nursing Newsletter; she was determined to bring to light stories of nurses from outside the province’s Lower Mainland and Capital District areas. From 2001, she has served on the editorial committee of the BC History of Nursing Society, and usually edits one issue a year.
In 1999, she received the prestigious BC Heritage Award, a provincial recognition of her many contributions. In 2002, her excellent book – Fort Steele: Gold Rush to Boom Town – was published. In recognition of her volunteer work, a tree was planted in her honor at Fort Steele in 2006.
Her recent writing relates to biographies of retired nurses from around the province. She believes these stories prove “History can be Fun" and plans to turn these stories into another book. She encourages nursing historians not to write just about nursing leaders, but about the details and mechanics of nursing in years gone by. For example, she urges we think of the early hospitals with two or three stories and no elevator. “Can a reader born past 1950 visualize carrying a patient up or down the stairs on an old-fashioned stretcher for the case room, ward, or even the operating room,” she asks. “An early nurse in a tiny cottage hospital was responsible for everything, for 24 hours a day. She would prepare meals as well as change dressings and administer medications,” adding, this was “before telephones, autoclaves, electricity.” Her own interviews abound in these descriptive details. In May 2010, she was named an Honorary Life Member of the BC History of Nursing Society.
Information from BC History of Nursing Society, by Glennis Zilm, May 2010
Born in 1937 in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Reta Aspol attended South Peace Secondary School there. She spent grades 11 and 12 in Edmonton at Garneau High School. After high school she had planned to spend her first year studying sciences at the University of Alberta, but instead enrolled in the University of British Columbia School of Nursing, graduating in 1959. After returning from a European vacation with classmate Sheila MacDonald, she worked in private duty nursing and at the North Vancouver General Hospital, the predecessor to the present Lions’ Gate Hospital.
Reta was very enthusiastic about nursing and hoped to be a nurse in the north, but the plan was changed when she married Herb Herunter in 1961. She spent the next year working for the Vancouver Health District as a public health nurse in a project to identify tuberculosis among the population of Abbott Street on Skid Row. Preferring traditional nursing, she was not happy doing this work and she joined her husband in the dry cleaning business, taking on the responsibility for the accounting for the business.
In 1962 Herb Junior was born and in 1965 Tony. By this time the Herunters had sold the dry cleaning business and were involved in buying and renovating old houses and renting them out. Reta turned to property management. In 1980 they took over the management of Herb’s family business of a mobile home park with a hundred units in Edmonton. They sold these concerns in 2007. However they continued to deal in real estate, and in buying and selling houses.
In 1975 Reta volunteered with Planned Parenthood and worked in its clinics. When the opportunity arose to speak in school classes she did so enthusiastically, explaining briefly the controls and the anatomy but stressing confidence, responsibility and the maintenance of health.
Since 1980 they have owned a small cabin in Whistler, which they renovated, and since the boys were young they had kept a houseboat at Fisherman’s Cove Marina in West Vancouver. In 1991 they purchased a condominium at Kihei, Maui and later a small house in Sun City, Palm Desert. They enjoy holidaying in these areas as often as possible. They have also travelled extensively, mostly by cruising.
Prepared by Reta Herunter and Elvi Whittaker
Born in Vancouver in 1936 Barbara Mackenzie attended West Vancouver High School. She recalls always wanting to be a nurse; she had read all the Cherry Ames and Sue Barton nurse books as a young girl. This choice was somewhat against the wishes of her parents and thus she enrolled at the University of British Columbia in the Faculty of Home Economics. Being very unhappy in that program, she switched to the degree program in Nursing in the same class as long-time friends from elementary and high school: Beth Andrews and Ann Steele, and also Alixe Loree who was a long-time family friend.
After graduation in 1959, Barbara became a public health nurse at the North Shore Health Unit, planning to travel in the near future. In 1961 she joined classmates Ann Day, Ollie Darcovich and Helen Buchanan in exploring the British Isles and Europe for six months. Upon her return she worked for the Vancouver Health Department, again as a district nurse, for a further three years.
In 1965, following a case of mumps, Barbara developed viral myocarditis and was on sick leave for eight months. From 1966 to 1971 she worked as a school nurse in several schools for children with handicapping conditions, and also at Vancouver General Hospital on a program for children and babies with profound hearing loss.
From 1971 to 1972 Barbara, with the support of a Federal Health Training Grant, worked towards a Master of Science in Nursing at the Medical Center, University of Colorado in Denver. She and classmate Ann Day studied together in Denver. Here she had the opportunity to work with Loretta Ford, the nurse founder of the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program.
On her return to Vancouver Barbara fulfilled the requirements of the grant for two years, working again for the Vancouver Health Department as a family nursing specialist. This entailed working with families who had children with very special health care needs and also acting as a resource person for nurses throughout the Health Department.
From 1975 to 1977 she assumed the position of Associate Coordinator of Nursing at one of Vancouver Health Department’s units located on the Downtown Eastside. During this time she also carried a case load of families with children who had very special needs in order to maintain her skills in nursing practice. The following year, 1977-1978, Barbara was named Acting Coordinator for the new long-term care program, which Victoria had just initiated, and was the nurse in charge of overseeing the program developed in Vancouver. In 1978 she returned to her position as Associate Coordinator but shortly afterwards accepted a position as nurse coordinator of a different health unit where she remained until 1980.
In 1982, unhappy with the nursing leadership of the Health Department, Barbara moved to Children’s Hospital and developed a role as a clinic nurse specialist on the cranio-facial team. This position came to offer her great nursing satisfaction working with babies and children, their families, ward staff, and nurses in the community throughout the province of British Columbia. It became the highlight of her career and she remained in this position until her retirement in 1993.
The story does not end here. In 2001 Barbara married Vivian (Viv) Baker, a psychiatrist, and inherited a new family and grandchildren. In 2002 they moved to their waterfront home in Parksville on Vancouver Island. Barbara and Viv have enjoyed many wonderful trips although their favourite is always returning to England where for many younger years they enjoyed backpacking in the countryside. Barbara has done volunteer work with Wildlife Rescue and various other organizations and is currently a member of the Canadian Federation of University Women in Parksville Qualicum.
Prepared by Barbara Baker and Elvi Whittaker
Dr. Alice Baumgart, internationally recognized as a leader in nursing, health care and academic administration, is among the members of the Class of '58. Upon graduation, Alice taught at the School from 1959 to 1962 when she departed to pursue her master's degree at McGill University. She then returned as a member of the faculty from 1964 to 1973 before leaving to obtain a doctorate in behavioural science from the University of Toronto.
Alice has held numerous prestigious positions as a nursing leader. At Queen's University, she served as Dean of the School of Nursing and was later named its Vice Principal, Human Services - the first woman to achieve such a senior position at Queens University. She also served as President of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) as well as the Canadian Association of University Schools of Nursing (CAUSN) and was an elected member-at-large for the International Council of Nurses. She co-authored a major nursing text, Canadian Nursing Faces the Future (1988), and has been keynote speaker at numerous international conferences. In 1990, she was recognized with the UBC Alumni Association's 75th Anniversary Award of Merit, and in 2000 received additional acknowledgment from UBC with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
Dr. Alice Baumgart has been a leader in excellence for nursing. Her career has resulted in a significant impact on the education and utilization of nurses, and she continues in "retirement" to support and inspire nurses throughout Canada and the United States. And Alice would be the first to attribute her remarkable success in nursing leadership to her good fortune in being a member of the remarkable UBC Class of '58.
Diana Bishop, a graduate of the University of British Columbia School of Nursing in 1959, was born in Vancouver in 1936, first attended Point Grey Junior High and then graduated from Magee High School in 1954. At school Diana was involved in several clubs, such the MacMillan Club which allowed her to indulge in her love of music by ushering at the symphony and concerts, also the Library and the Red Cross. It was in these high school years that Diana started her interest in bird-watching, often lead by Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan, and in sewing both of which continue throughout her life. In the spring of 1954 Diana had a memorable trip with her parents to England visiting her father’s family and his youthful haunts, returning with stories of artists and writers some of whom were part of the Bloomsbury Group.
Immediately after graduating from UBC, Diana worked at Prince Rupert General Hospital in the operating room. In 1960 she returned to Vancouver to the pediatrics ward at St. Paul’s Hospital. This appointment included working as a pediatric instructor for St. Paul’s Hospital School of Nursing.
While working at St. Paul’s in 1960, Diana married Bruce Kennedy a teacher. Bruce’s teaching positions took them to Dawson Creek in the mid ‘60s, then to Whitehorse, returning to Victoria in the early 1970s. Two children, Karen and Warren joined the family in 1967 and 1971 respectively. Diana was a stay-at-home mum, rearing her children, helping out at their schools and involved in her church, St Andrew’s Cathedral. She returned to part-time nursing at St. Joseph’s hospital in gerontology in 1984 until it closed. Diana continued nursing at Royal Jubilee Hospital on the medical rehab unit and the Bay Pavilion, until her retirement from this part-time position in 2001. While working, Diana was diagnosed with bladder cancer that was successfully treated in 1994. A recurrence in 2005 was treated again with success.
Her lifelong activities include a love of sewing, creating fashionable and versatile clothing. She has also enjoyed concerts, the opera, ballet, singing in the church choir, golf and travelling - to Paris, Italy and London. Later Diana enjoyed taking her granddaughter Kirah to the ballet and to concerts. She was delighted with Kirah’s enrollment at UBC in 2007, with having a granddaughter who would also be a UBC graduate.
From 2011 Diana was a resident at Gorge Road Maplewood Unit in Victoria, where she helped her room-mates and other patients on her floor, until she passed away on January 1, 2016, just eleven days after her 79th birthday.
Prepared by Diana Kennedy, Ann Geddes and Elvi Whittaker
Vivian completed her BSN in 1952, having started out in the Diploma program at St.Paul’s Hospital. Students went to school at UBC in the huts at that time and there were about five instructors in the School. She chose the education option (the other option was public health) and when she completed her studies, taught anatomy and physiology for five years at Vancouver General Hospital. She loved teaching and is still in touch with some of her students. She had the great privilege of being taught by Helen Mussallem when she was a student. Vivian considers her to be a mentor – a very forward-focused educator who had amazing knowledge and always kept her door open for students. Vivian also remembers the great work of Norman Mackenzie, who was President of UBC at that time. Those were “wonderful times” after the war, when people were coming back to rebuild or start their lives.
She still keeps in touch with her classmates at VGH. There were 13 students in her class when she graduated and when they amalgamated with VGH, there were 72 students. They get together regularly for lunches and some have gone on trips together.
After gradating with her BSN, Vivian spent a year as Assistant Head Nurse and after teaching for five years became a volunteer for many organizations and endeavors. She was active in the Hospital Auxiliary of VGH, working on the membership, shop, and library committees. There, she helped found the Visiting Referral service, whoch paired volunteer visitors with long-term patients of the hospital. She sat on the VGH Board of Trustees from 1982 to 1991, and as Chairman of the Board for the 1986-7 term. She was the Chair of the Alumni Committee that organized the 75th anniversary of VGH. She is currently Secretary of the VGH Alumni Association.
In 1952, Vivian received the Award of the Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia, in 1974, a Life Membership in the VGH School of Nursing Alumnae, in1991, the Nursing Recognition Awards of the UBC Nursing Alumni Association, and in 1992, the Recognition Award of Volunteer Vancouver.
Now, at the age of 81, Vivian is thinking about slowing down a bit! She has three children; two of them live in the Lower Mainland and one lives in Japan. She has two grandchildren. She likes to walk, has given up tennis but is still curling.
Janet Carpenter is a graduate of the UBC School of Nursing class of 1959. Born in Parry Sound, Ontario she attended Chambly County High School in St. Lambert, Quebec. At university, after considering a career in the French language, she decided to follow in the footsteps of her mother, Margaret Sutherland (BASc(N) ‘31) and had a career as a community health nurse, and of her aunt Helen Carpenter (BSc EdD, Columbia University) who, among many diverse contributions to the health field, served as the Dean of the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto as well as the president of the Canadian Nurses’ Association.
Janet earned a Victorian Order of Nurses bursary for her final year at UBC. After graduation she worked for the Victorian Order of Nurses in Toronto until 1961. During that time she was involved in a pilot study of Home Care to care for patients discharged early from hospital.
Marrying Max Fleming in 1961, she worked for North Toronto Public Health and the next year as a part-time clinical relief nurse at Montreal Children’s Hospital. After 1963, and with three children, Janet took time from her nursing career to care for her young family. For a brief time in 1969 she worked as a clinical field instructor at the University of Windsor School of Nursing. The Fleming family moved to Vancouver in 1972.
In 1979 Janet attended a refresher course at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her first job was with the Registered Nurses’ Association of British Columbia as a project assistant for the 1980 Canadian Nursing Association biennial conference. Following this, she began a career in occupational health nursing, first as a relief nurse at B.C. Hydro in Vancouver. A year later at BC Telephone, with 15, 000 employees, she created presentations on such topics as nutrition, sleep hygiene and shift-work as well as providing on-site medical care. She remained in that position until her retirement in 1998. Since then she has enjoyed travel, bridge, golf, tennis and is working on writing a family story.
Provided by Janet Fleming and Elvi Whittaker
Jacquie Chapman, one of Canada’s most noted nurse researchers, achieved her success through doctoral studies on the care of premature babies (and their subsequent development to age seven). This research entailed an astonishing 7200 home visits. She was influential in research that led to care improvements in neonatal nurseries, including the importance of premature babies having opportunities for bonding with their parents and the effects of auditory stimulation on their development.
After obtaining her BSN from UBC in 1958, Jacquie worked on a surgical ward at VGH, advancing to the position of head nurse. She later moved on to head nursing roles in ICU at Royal Columbian Hospital and an instructor position at UBC – she taught at UBC from September, 1962 until September, 1965 – and later at several American universities.
Jacquie earned her MSN from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland in 1967 and her PhD in Nursing from New York University in 1975. She then went on to the University of Toronto, where she was promoted to the rank of Full Professor. She was the first nurse in Canada to be awarded the prestigious National Health Research Scholar Award, a position she held for the maximum allowable six years. She was then approved for a National Scientist Award but federal funding was available for only two individuals that year.
During her career, Jacquie garnered many honours, including being named an American Nurses Foundation Scholar and being invited to be a Founding Fellow of the Nightingale Society. She felt particularly honoured to have been a student of and to work with American nursing theorist Martha E. Rogers and to have helped establish the goals for the Martha E. Rogers Research Center for the Study of Nursing Science at New York University.
Ollie began her nursing career as a clinical instructor in the school of psychiatric nursing at the provincial mental hospital, Essondale, (later renamed Riverview) in Coquitlam, BC. Apart from brief stints in other fields of nursing, including private duty in Vancouver and working in a dermatologist's office in New York City, she continued in psychiatric nursing for the next 15 years.
From general duty psychiatric nursing at the psychiatric unit at Saskatchewan University Hospital in Saskatoon during the early 1960s, she went on to become head nurse at the psychiatric unit at Ottawa Civic Hospital, and then, while awaiting a green card to work in the US, went back to clinical instructing at Ontario Psychiatric Hospital, Toronto. In the US, she returned to general duty psychiatric nursing at the New York State Psychiatric Institute in Manhattan.
In 1969, Ollie entered the Masters in Psychiatric Nursing degree program at New York University. Graduating in 1971, she returned to Canada to take on the role of nurse practitioner in psychiatric nursing at the then-new McMaster University Medical Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, followed by a return to teaching at McMaster University's School of Nursing.
Turning 40 in 1976, Ollie sought a career change. She enrolled in a one-year journalism program at Sheridan Community College in Oakville, Ontario. The rest of her working life she spent as a reporter, initially for a community newspaper in Ontario and then for a trade publication in Vancouver, where she retired in 2001.
Born in Vancouver in 1936 she attended King Edward High School and graduated from the University of British Columbia School of Nursing in 1959
After graduation and a two-year stint in public health at Maple Ridge Hospital, Ann embarked on a European tour with classmates Barbara McKenzie, Helen Buchanan and Olga Darcovich. Upon returning in 1962, she took a general duty position at Maple Ridge Hospital spending six months in obstetrics and general surgery. During this time she was promoted to head nurse.
In 1964 Ann accompanied classmate, Helen Buchanan, to Hawaii and nursed long-term care patients at Leahi Hospital in Honolulu. That same year she worked briefly in orthopedics at Vancouver General Hospital and then applied to Richmond General Hospital where she accepted the position of assistant director of nursing.
From 1971 to 1972, along with classmate Barbara McKenzie, Ann studied for a master’s in nursing at the Colorado School of Nursing, returning to her position as assistant director when the degree was completed.
Ann married Gerald (Gerry) Bonham, a specialist in community medicine, in 1974. In 1979 Gerry moved to Victoria to accept the position of senior assistant deputy minister in the provincial government. Ann joined the long-term care program in the Capital Regional District as a supervisor of the nursing section. In her second year she was promoted to program director. When her husband moved to Calgary as Medical Officer of Health, Ann did contract work for voluntary agencies. In 1982 she was appointed as the medical administrator at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary, thus assuming a demanding position usually occupied by a senior physician. She held this position for seven years taking on an entirely new set of administrative problems such as budget issues and town and gown controversies.
When her husband assumed a position in Toronto in 1989 she retired. They returned to Vancouver in 1991. In retirement she and Gerry committed themselves to traveling as much as possible, managing to include Africa, Australia, Europe (both west and east), South America, Hawaii, Mexico and Cuba as well as much of Canada. They enjoyed many cycling trips in Europe before deciding that cruising was also an option. Every year they also attend the opera seasons in both Vancouver and Victoria.
Written by Ann Day Bonham and Elvi Whittaker, June 2011
A graduate of the University of British Columbia School of Nursing class of 1959, Ann Geddes was born in Vancouver in 1936 and attended Magee High School as did seven others in the class. She began her nursing career working night shift in maternity in order to be a support in the care of her ailing grandmother. In 1960, after five months in Europe with classmate Maralyn Leask, Ann took a position in public health in Cloverdale for the Boundary Health Unit. Three years later she became an outpatient nurse at the Burnaby Mental Health Centre, gaining experience in chronic psychiatric care and in family and children’s services. In 1967 she joined Dr. Alan Steedman and social worker John Snyder to establish the first community mental health service in Prince George for the Caribou, Peace River and Northern Health units and worked in this position for five years. Thereafter she became the administrator of Cranbrook Mental Health Services which covered the East Kootenay area from Golden to Fernie and Creston. Following that, in June 1973, she was recruited to the newly established Greater Vancouver Community Mental Health Service as the Coordinator of the West End Community Mental Health Team. She held that position until 1978 when she returned to a part time staff position with the Strathcona Mental Health Team while taking qualifying courses for the Health Care Planning and Administration in the UBC School of Health Care Planning and Epidemiology.
Having developed a strong interest in public policy, in 1973 Ann entered a three-year diploma program in public administration at the University of Victoria. Notably she was the only woman in a class of 29. She followed this up in 1979 by returning to UBC for two years to earn a Masters in Health Care Planning and Epidemiology, with Ann Creighton as her thesis adviser. The resulting thesis “The Challenge of the Canada Act, 1982 to Existing Mental Health Legislation: Implications for Planning, Mental Health Legislation and Rights in Canada” studied the implications of this act for mental health planning and legislation. The Canada Act was of interest to health planning and policy makers, as it was the first time that rights and freedoms were protected in national legislation. The thesis was accepted and M.Sc (Health Planning and Administration) conferred June 1984.
Ann accepted a position as a public health nursing consultant in the British Columbia Ministry of Health from 1982-86. In September 1986, she assumed the position of the Director of Community Health Services for Halton Region, Ontario, working for the first time outside British Columbia. The experience gained during the three years in this position was invaluable for her remaining years in administration in community health. The Halton Community Health Services included Public Health Nursing, Health Education and Promotion, plus the long term care nursing and physiotherapy services. In December 1989 she became the Director of Health Promotion for the Capital Regional District Health Department in Victoria, retiring from the position in 1997. It was the year that Community Health Services and Acute Health Services were organized as a Regional Health Authority. She saw it as an ideal time for her retirement while creating an opportunity for upcoming community nursing leaders to develop the programs in the new organization.
Immediately following retirement in 1997 she visited Toowoomba, Australia to be the caregiver for a friend’s mother’s final months. Two work opportunities followed her retirement; they were the development of Regional Children and Family Services for Vancouver Island and the creation of a national case management and immunization e-record. The first from 2003 to 2005 was a contract with the Ministry of Children and Families to develop the service model of regional governance, with the involvement of the community providing significant support in children’s development to their full potential. This initiative was to be rolled out in the five regions of the province along with the parallel work of Aboriginal leaders for their children and families. The goal was to shift the emphasis of a service protecting children to one that supported growth and development of children in their families and communities. The work came to an abrupt end with a ministerial decision to focus on services managed provincially with less community connection, a philosophy that did not recognize Margaret Mead’s belief that “it takes a village to raise a child.”
The second interesting contract experience (2006) was with IBM for the development of a national electronic health system for disease outbreak management and immunization. It was of national interest in Canada and China, following the SARS outbreak and a measles outbreak which began with primary case being a team member at an inter-provincial youth sports championship. This contract made use of Ann’s past experience in public health nursing, administration in two provinces with different immunization models, and had the bonus of meeting with bright young programmers and leaders in the health division of IBM.
Since retirement in 1997 she has continued volunteering for community agencies, a practice which began for her in high school with a bi-weekly commitment cleaning IV tubing for the Red Cross. Over time her volunteerism has been as a board member, as a chair with organizations such as the James Bay Community Health Project, the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria and, since 2006, chairing the Parks and Recreation Foundation of Victoria. The latter involved her leading the foundation fundraising to honour Emily Carr with a statue created by Barbara Paterson and unveiled on October 13, 2010 ($420,000 raised in two years).
In recent years she has enjoyed musical events, figure skating championships, and visiting Turkey, Greece, Portugal, Vienna, Switzerland, the Yukon, river rafting on the Nahanni, and a Baltic cruise. The trips included visits with friends, with her family in the Maritimes and special concerts such as New Years in Vienna. It has been a good life experience, and, she believes that the method of learning or providing nursing care learned from the UBC program gave a solid foundation for her work as a public health nurse, community mental health nurse, in administration of both community mental health and public health, and as a preceptor for nursing students or beginning practitioners. An education which stood the test of time with the introduction of new techniques and new understanding of health issues from research.
Ann was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for Community Service in 2012.
Written by Ann Geddes and Elvi Whittaker
Daryl Giegerich was born in 1935 in Kimberley, British Columbia, where her father was a mining engineer and her mother a teacher. She was the third of four children. After leaving Kimberley High School she enrolled at the University of British Columbia taking two years in the Faculty of Arts before moving to the School of Nursing, the class of 1959. After graduation she nursed in the emergency department at Vancouver General Hospital for a year. She has always considered this an exceptional experience.
In May1960 she married Ellis Achtem, who had just graduated from law school. They honeymooned in Las Vegas and San Francisco and then settled in Victoria. Thereafter Dede worked for six months in emergency department at Victoria General. She had thought of working in maternity or pediatrics, but became a stay-at-home mom with the birth of five children in nine years - in 1961 David, now a chef, in 1963 Janice now a teacher with a PhD, in 1964 Paul now in computer science with a middle management government position, in 1966 Leslie now in coronary critical care at St. Pauls’ Hospital, and in 1969 Michael now an engineer with his own company. She became very involved in St. Patrick’s school activities as well as the variety of sports in which the children were engaged. As a family they were avid skiers, and for a few years had a place in Whistler. For many years Dede also played tennis and squash, as well as curling twice a week. She was, and continues to be, an enthusiastic bridge player.
The family spent many summers in a rustic cabin at Qualicum Beach, and in 1990 they built a substantial summer home, which all members of the family enjoy in both summer and winter. It has also been the meeting place for nursing class reunions, as well as a smaller group of Dede’s nursing friends who meet there every summer. The latter group, affectionately known as the “bridge and beer” group, includes Norma Guttormsson, Rosemary Hambrook Lindores, Janet Carpenter Fleming and the late Joyce Gyoba O’Neill.
Dede and her husband have enjoyed wide travel and have visited Italy, France, Germany, Spain, England, Turkey, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Ethiopia and Namibia. In recent years, however, they are content to vacation in Hawaii.
Penny Godfrey was born in 1937 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her father, a British civil engineer worked on the British Railway there. In 1947 the family moved to Revelstoke, British Columbia. Penny took one and a half years at Revelstoke High School and then transferred to boarding at Crofton House in Vancouver.
Although medicine was her first choice of career, she entered the University of British Columbia School of Nursing as a member of the 1959 class. In 1958, at the end of the hospital residence part of the baccalaureate program in nursing, before returning for a final year on campus, she married Peter Koch, who was doing his internship in internal medicine at the Vancouver General Hospital.
Upon graduation in 1959 she took a position teaching obstetrics in the School of Nursing at St. Paul’s Hospital. The following year, when her husband pursued a career in psychiatry at Temple University, Penny assumed a teaching position at Temple University in Philadelphia, again teaching obstetrics and gynecology in the nursing program.
After taking some pre-med courses, Penny returned to her preferred career plans and was accepted into the medical school at Temple University, the class of 1969. To support her schooling she worked for the duration of her education on the 3-11 pm shift in the premature nursery at Temple University Hospital. Upon graduation she interned for a year at Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, steering her career towards internal medicine. Completing this stage she returned to Philadelphia to work in the biochemistry laboratory she had worked in during her time in medical school, still keeping her interest centred on internal medicine. During this time she trained in adult hematology. She also had the opportunity to work under Audrey Evans, chair of the Children’s Oncology Department at Children’s Hospital. She found the area of academic pediatric oncology interesting enough to change her specialty to this new area.
In 1980 Penny returned to Canada and to Montreal Children’s Hospital and was also appointed an associate professor in the School of Medicine at McGill University. She took early retirement from McGill in 1989 returning to Vancouver to care for her aging parents. At this time she worked part time in Oncology Outpatients at Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, retiring from this position in 1995.
After returning to Vancouver, Penny, an avid gardener, now had time to volunteer at Van Dusen Gardens. She earned a “master gardener” status, after taking a twelve-week training course at Van Dusen Gardens. She continued this commitment as a master gardener after her move to Parksville on Vancouver Island in 2009, volunteering at Milner Gardens in Qualicum where she worked in plant sales and in training volunteers.
She also travelled adventurously and widely, fulfilling her life-long commitment to outdoor activities and to the north. This included visiting the Arctic several times, and in taking the trans Northwest Passage crossing in one of the small modest boats that plied the waters before the advent of cruise liners.
Prepared by Penny Koch and Elvi Whittaker
Rosemary Hambrook was born in Vancouver in 1936. She attended Magee High School then enrolling at the University of British Columbia School of Nursing in the class of 1959. After graduation she worked at Vancouver General Hospital in for three months and then moved to Toronto and shared an apartment with a classmate, Janet Carpenter. There she worked for two years for the Victorian Order of Nurses.
In 1961 Rosemary married Jim Lindores from Hamilton, who had an MBA and worked in management at Honeywell and at Eaton’s. Thereafter and before her daughter was born, Rosemary worked for two and a half years for Children’s Aid in Toronto supervising foster homes and foster children, aged up to three years of age. Andrea was born in 1961 and Kevin in 1965. In 1968 the family moved to London, Ontario and Jim joined Canada Trust as a Vice-President of Human Resources. Rosemary was a homemaker and became involved in extensive volunteering. This included doing eye tests in schools, organizing volunteers for canvassing for Heart and Stroke, fundraising for the orchestra and serving on the boards of Orchestra London and Family Services London. Influenced by her positive experiences at Children’s Aid, in 1971 Rosemary enrolled in a credit course at University of Western Ontario, thinking that she might pursue a degree in social work. She decided against this career, however, as it conflicted with her ongoing family responsibilities and the strong possibility that field placements would be out of town.
She was keen to re-enter the workforce after her children were in university. After much research she and Jim decided to invest in a new business, Sylvan Learning Centres that catered to the needs of students who needed more help than the school system was able to provide. Rosemary’s training for this work included an initial course at Sylvan Corporation headquarters and follow-ups yearly at Sylvan conferences in various locations. The training was in the teaching system and in test administration. While Rosemary was the administrator and did most of the testing and meeting with parents, there was a full staff of certified, Sylvan trained teachers. It was well received by the community and consequently Jim left Canada Trust to join her in the work. Eventually they had five separate Sylvan locations. It proved to be a very satisfying career.
Jim and Rosemary retired in 1996 to a life of travelling, playing golf, and spending winters in Sarasota, Florida. Rosemary also frequently returned to British Columbia to visit family and, as well as a group of five nursing friends – Dede Giegerich, Janet Carpenter, Norma Guttormsson and Joyce Gyoba – who met when she came to town. Her daughter, with her own daughters now in university at Western, now runs their London Sylvans. One of her granddaughters will probably follow her grandfather and mother at the Ivy Western business school. Her son is an architect in New York City and he and his partner have a beautiful spot in upstate New York where the family meets in the summers. Since Jim passed away in 2014, Rosemary has had the support of family and friends in London and in Florida in adjusting to single life.
Prepared by Rosemary Lindores and Elvi Whittaker
Ann was a graduate of the UBC School of Nursing class of 1959. Copie, as she was known to her classmates and close friends, was born in Vancouver in 1935, attended St. Margaret’s School in Victoria and graduated in 1953 as Head Girl for the school. Following graduation and prior to entering UBC, Copie worked at Montague Bridgeman Antiques where she learned about collecting Asian blue and white ceramics, hallmarked silverware, and other specialty ceramic pieces. This interest in Asian art and in antiques became a life long interest and, by some local collectors, Copie was seen as an expert.
Her first position after graduation was in Montreal with the Victorian Order of Nurses. She spoke of home visits to old Montreal homes with their icy steps in winter being a challenge to carry her VON bag and baby scales. She did have some hospital psychiatric nursing and private duty nursing in Montreal prior to returning to Victoria about 1967, but her VON nursing was more often talked about in her reminiscences. Her connection to Montreal came from her mother who grew up there and graduated from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal which could have influenced Copie to choose nursing as a career. Her mother’s cape and certificate were given to the Canadian Nurses Foundation in Ottawa in June, 2009. Copie also had great pride in her father’s position as chief engineer in charge of bridge construction for the Province. Of particular importance to her was the bridge replacement in 1958 at Taylor, a project which utilized all of her father’s engineering expertise. His design drawings and expense reports for that bridge, she gave to the BC Archives in May 2009 (John Utting Copeman 1900-1962).
Following her initial years working in Montreal, Copie returned to Victoria and was a public health nurse with the Saanich Health unit, a division of the Capital Regional Health Department until she retired. She recalled that work experience as one of a social worker more than one of public health nursing. Part of her district included the First Nations’ families living on the Saanich Peninsula. She lived with her Mother in the family home where she pursued her passions of gardening specializing in dahlias, antique collecting, genealogy and involvement with the local Conservative Association. This remained home for Copie until 2009. Another highlight for Copie was the appointment of her uncle, Major-General George R. Pearkes as the twentieth Lt. Governor of BC from 1960-1968. This appointment followed his distinguished service to Canada in the army and as Minister of Defence in the Diefenbaker government. Copie enjoyed attending the formal events such as the installation ball and other official occasions which created an opportunity to meet royalty and foreign dignitaries and a requirement for specially made gowns. These dresses were part of her wardrobe to her life’s end.
In 1979 she married Walter George Donnington Hungerford. A year after her marriage Copie resigned from her Public Health position. When she spoke of that work experience, it had considerable frustrations for her… the case load, the drive to the district, her supervisor’s demands. With Don having retired from the military followed by government service in the finance department, Copie was able to continue with her interests in family ancestry, provincial and political history related to the Copeman and Hungerford families. Don enjoyed these pursuits with Copie and they traveled in their early married years researching family ancestry, until Don’s health declined in the late 1990’s. Copie was the consummate advocate for Don in securing his rightful DVA benefits. Copie took pride in her cooking, canning and sewing. She made her “chapeaux” to wear while receiving her cancer treatment.
At the end, she reflected on residence life, our last year at UBC, the fun times, and the class reunions as important remembrances. Copie had a sense of humour. In fact when visiting a British heritage building she found a postcard of a Lady Jane Geddes throwing a chair in the Council chamber to make a point about some injustice. She gave it to her classmate of the same name, convinced that it was family relative from the 17th century!
Copie died of ovarian cancer July 5, 2009
Written by Ann Geddes
Born in 1936, Sally graduated from York House in 1954 and was a member of the Junior League. After graduation from UBC Nursing in 1959, she worked for several years in community health in Vancouver, where she developed a particular expertise and enthusiasm for working closely with families. In mid-life she returned to UBC and obtained a Master of Social Work degree. Following graduation with this second degree, she set up practice as a family therapist in her own clinic – Sally Hurst Counselling Services. Serving as a faculty member of the Pacific Coast Family Institute for many years, she taught and worked extensively using a Multigenerational (Family of Origin) approach. Throughout her life, Sally remained an active member of the nursing alumni, participating in the various anniversary celebrations of the BSN’59 class. She died with characteristic strength and grace of ovarian cancer in Vancouver in April of 2009 surrounded by a loving family.
Kulmindar has made significant contributions to nurse-midwifery and women’s health in Canada, the US and in some twenty-five developing countries. She has worked to promote and improve reproductive health in the public and private sectors. She has collaborated with nurses, midwives, physicians, medical students, heads of health training institutions and business executives from plantations in Sri Lanka and Liberia and oil companies in Nigeria.
Born in 1937 in Victoria, BC, Canada, to parents from Punjab, India, Mindy, as she is known to her classmates, graduated in 1959 from the University of British Columbia in the BSN program. She took a position as clinical nurse in the labour, delivery and postpartum units at the North Vancouver General Hospital. In the same year she married Darshan Johal and after a few months, they moved to Victoria where she accepted a public health nursing position.
In 1963, her husband accepted an appointment with the United Nations at the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, and the family moved there with their toddlers aged one and two years old. She registered with the Ghana Board of Nursing and volunteered in a private hospital. Next, she took an appointment with the Ministry of Health as Sister Tutor. She was surprised that of the six tutors in the faculty (classroom teaching), she was the only female tutor. In those days in Canada, nursing was a woman’s profession.
One of her challenges was to accept the fact that the students could not practice at the high standards she had learned during her training in Canada. However, thanks to her nursing education at UBC, she quickly adapted her teaching to the new situation in a limited resource setting. She realized that nursing concepts, theories, and practice can be applied to service delivery in any location, and discovered that translating them to the local context was not difficult. Consequently, the students were able to provide quality client care within their service environment.
In 1968, after five years in Ghana, the family moved to New York City, where her husband continued his work with the UN. Now, her dream to become a nurse-midwife was within reach. Her obstetrical clinical experience at UBC mentored by Ms. Davies, a U.K. midwife, and further encouraged by her professor Margaret Duncan (later Jensen), who mentioned a Masters Program at Columbia University that also provided training in midwifery, had convinced her that if she ever got to live in New York, she would take that program.
In 1972, she graduated from Columbia University in New York with a Master of Science in Nursing and a certificate in nurse-midwifery. Thereafter, she was certified as a nurse-midwife (CNM) by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). Next, in order to become an expert practitioner, she took a graduate nurse-midwifery internship at State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn. While in New York City, she reconnected with her UBC professor Margaret Campbell who was studying for her doctorate at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Since her husband frequently traveled abroad, one of the challenges for her was to try to balance her professional and family life. The couple had decided that her main job was to care for their children and support her husband in his career. Consequently, she criss-crossed the globe many times in pursuit of her family responsibilities and her chosen international career. Her first appointment was as Clinical Assistant Professor in the Nurse-Midwifery Education Program, College of Health-Related Professions, State University of New York, Brooklyn (1973-80). In 1978 while teaching and practicing as a nurse-midwife, she enrolled in the Master of Public Health Program at Columbia University.
The couple moved to Nairobi, Kenya, with their youngest child in 1980. After registering with the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Council of Kenya, she volunteered as a Kenya Registered Nurse and Midwife in the Kenyatta National Hospital and the Pumwani Maternity Hospital to familiarize herself with the practice of nurse-midwifery. Her preference was to work alongside the local nurses, midwives and physicians in order to identify their practice constraints and determine how they managed their particular situations. This insight would be very useful when working with international organizations.
Moving back to Victoria in 1981, she accepted an appointment at the University of Victoria for one year as Visiting Assistant Professor to teach the Community Health and Family Health Nursing Practice course in the fourth year of the BSN Program. Her eldest children were also enrolled in the same university.
Returning to join her husband in Nairobi (1982-86), she worked as a Senior Family Planning Consultant for the following international health organizations: Family Planning International Assistance (FPIA), an affiliate of Planned Parenthood International; Intrah; and John Snow, Incorporated (JSI), a public health research and consulting firm in the US and around the world.
While her husband remained in Nairobi, in 1986 she accepted an appointment with JSI in Washington, DC as Senior Reproductive Health Technical Advisor (1986-1991 and 1994) and with Jhpiego (a Johns Hopkins University affiliate) as Senior Technical Advisor (1991-1993). Working in DC enabled her to be closer to her children who were now studying in Montreal and Toronto. She moved back to Nairobi again in 1993 to join her husband, and continued to work from her home-office in Nairobi for JSI and Jhpiego.
In 1994 she returned to Vancouver where her husband helped to establish an international organization, the International Centre for Human Settlements (ICSC). She continued her international work/travel from her home-office in Vancouver. In 1998, her husband was recalled to UN-HABITAT, Nairobi, as Acting Executive Director and UN Assistant-Secretary-General. She took leave from her international work and joined him in Nairobi. Upon their return to Canada in 1999, she continued to work/travel from her home-office in Victoria, BC (JSI, Jhpiego, ACNM, and IntraHealth International). She remained as a contributing member of the International Health Committee of the American College of Nurse-Midwives from 1986 until her retirement. Over the years she was encouraged by her colleagues to pursue a PhD, but due to the demands of an international lifestyle and her family, she decided against it.
In addition to the faculty appointments, job responsibilities in the international context included project manager; project design, implementation and evaluation; national-level reproductive health needs assessments and evaluations, developing clinical skills training teams; national family planning and safe motherhood curricula; national practice and supervision guidelines; designing and conducting family planning workshops for Ministry of Health officials and executives in the business sector.
Since retirement, she has volunteered in Victoria with the Victoria Women’s Sexual Assault Centre (Crisis and Information Line), Island Sexual Health Society, and most recently the Canadian Red Cross. She continues to advocate on behalf of women and infant health. Playing golf and reconnecting with family and friends are her favorite pastimes.
Written by Kulmindar Johal and Elvi Whittaker
Nan was born in New Westminster in 1914 and entered the Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing in 1930, graduating in 1934. Following graduation she worked as a general duty nurse and in private practice until she enrolled in the Public Health Nursing diploma program at UBC, graduating in 1945. For the next seven years, she worked as a public health nurse in Rossland and Chilliwack. In 1954, she received a BSN degree at UBC. Following graduation she was hired by the World Health Organization as a public health nursing consultant in East Pakistan and Iran. She left WHO four years later to attend the University of Washington in Seattle and graduated a year later with a Masters in Nursing.
Nan spent the next nineteen years at RNABC, first as Director of Education Services and in 1970 was appointed Executive Director. Many remarkable changes occurred during these years. The number of RNs almost doubled, nursing education began moving away from hospital schools to educational institutions, the RNABC labour relations division was created, a disciplinary process was formalized and RNABC expanded its influence on health care delivery in BC.
In 1978, recognizing her outstanding forty-three career as a nursing leader, Nan received the RNABC Award of Merit, the Association’s highest honour. At this time she retired. She died in Port Coquitlam in July 1996 at age eighty –two.
Written by Ethel Warbinek, BC History of Nursing Society
Dorothy Kergin was director of the School of Nursing at the University of Victoria from 1980 until shortly before she died in 1989. During her tenure, the distance education degree program for registered nurses grew rapidly; nurses throughout the province were able to take their entire programs through a combination of innovative distance learning courses, some of which involved use of the newly established Knowledge Network and satellite television to take education into remote areas of the province. Before moving to Victoria, she was associate dean of Health Sciences (Nursing), McMaster University. An extremely influential woman, she was active in promoting collaborative relations between nursing education and nursing service; even when she was beginning her career with the provincial public health department in BC she was committed to joint appointments between university programs and agencies so expertise could be shared. At McMaster, she was deeply involved in developing an expanded role for nursing in primary care; her research in this area later was incorporated into basic degree programs as part of the physical assessment skills for nurses and firmly established new roles for all nurses. Dorothy Kergin also was involved with international nursing and was consultant to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) regarding development of nursing in Pakistan. She was president of the Canadian Association of University Schools of Nursing from 1976 to 1980.
(Excerpt from Legacy: History of Nursing Education at the University of British Columbia 1919-1994, 1994, Glennis Zilm and Ethel Warbinek, Chapter 4).
Joan McDonald was born in 1936 in Thorsby, Alberta, the second of six children. Her mother had been a teacher and her father had a small flourmill. When she was a year old the family moved to a remote area on the Slave River, where her father opened a logging camp. Access was by boat or float plane in the summer and dog team in the winter. Eventually they moved to Yellowknife where Joan attended grades 1-3. She did grades 4 and 5 at Minstrel Island when her parents owned the store, hotel and post office. They then lived on Salt Spring Island and the family home there is now the Salt Spring Sailing Club. Joan graduated from the Consolidated School at Ganges. She chose nursing as her future profession, considered the program at St. Paul’s Hospital, but settled on the degree program at the University of British Columbia, graduating in the class of 1959. Upon graduation she took a position in pediatrics at the Maple Ridge General Hospital and worked four months before marrying Denis St. Denis in 1959.
They went to live at his logging camp in Jervis Inlet where they set up a house trailer. Here she perfected her culinary skills by cooking for a crew of up to six men. In 1960 their first daughter, Michele, was born. They had two more daughters, and two sons, as well as adopting a First Nations boy. Three of the children went on to post secondary education: Tony received his doctorate in Electrical Engineering from UBC, Anna her Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Victoria, and Nicole received her registration from the Western College of Massage Therapy. Rick and Jack have made successful careers in the lumber industry.
While the children were young the family lived in logging camps at both Jervis Inlet and at Head Bay, half way between Gold River And Tahsis. Joan moved several times while the children were growing up so that they could attend schools as close as possible to where Denis had his logging camp. So two years in Horseshoe Bay, and two years in Gold River, as well as summers in the camp, and then in 1973 to a farm in Chemainus. All the children graduated from Chemainus high school, except Michele who, sadly, passed away from cancer of the lymph glands at age 16. Denis sold his logging business in 1977 and turned his hand to cattle farming.
Joan, intensely family-oriented, was a stay-at-home mom but she kept very busy working at St Joseph's School where the children received most of their elementary education, and with church activities. She was a member of St. Joseph's School Board for many years and is a long time member of the Catholic Women's League of Canada. Joan also taught the Christopher Leadership Course for 15 years. In 1996 they moved to a smaller farm in Ladysmith and continue to reside there. They no longer farm, but enjoy the space when the children and grandchildren visit.
Joan always had an interest in music and played the piano from a young age. When she turned 65 she decided to celebrate in two ways. She had her ears pierced! And she began taking saxophone lessons. Subsequently she joined the Nanaimo Community Band, where the main criteria for membership is to turn up for practice (this band is not to be confused with the acclaimed Nanaimo Concert Band). The band performs at seniors’ dances and church functions as well as community events like the Festival of Trees. In 2011 Joan developed Wegeners, which effected her lungs and put an end to this career, although she stills plays occasionally for her own enjoyment. Joan loves glass in all its colours and textures and has had stained glass as a hobby for 30 years. Recently she bought a kiln and is experimenting with different types of fusing. She is also an ardent reader and enjoys many types of hand crafts.
Joan and Denis love traveling in their truck and camper and have been to the Yukon, Churchill, the North West Territories, and across Canada as well as often visiting the southern states. There are still many places they plan to investigate.
Prepared by Joan St. Denis and Elvi Whittaker
Margaret McRae was born in 1936 at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster. For the first four years she lived there with her parents and maternal grandparents. The family then moved to Vancouver where her sister Ellen was born. Her father became principal at Brock School and was president of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation in 1945. His untimely death of a brain tumour in 1950 left her mother with two children to raise. She made the decision to go to Normal School to complete her teaching certificate. Margaret attended Kerrisdale Elementary, Point Grey Junior High School, graduated from Magee High School and from the UBC School of Nursing in 1959.
In 1958 Margaret married her high school sweetheart, Tony Threlfall, and returned to UBC to complete the final year for the baccalaureate. Until daughter Shari was born in 1959 she worked as a maternity nurse at Grace Hospital. In the years that followed, with the birth of Susan in 1961 and John in 1964, she found nursing work that allowed her to be a stay-at-home mom. This included teaching prenatal classes, occasional special hospital nursing and the Public Health Clinic in New Westminster. Then, with a social work friend, she started Burnaby’s Planned Parenthood Clinic. Occasional weekend work at a doctor’s office and even a stint as the nurse on duty at the T. Eaton Company all managed to keep an interest in nursing, although all this “keeping a hand in,” was not a career.
During the first year at UBC Margaret discovered a love of painting, serendipitously taking an evening class with Joseph Plaskett, the one year he taught at UBC before leaving for Paris. She wanted to head to Paris where the impressionists were inspired. Over the years, whenever there was time, she enrolled in continuing education classes, studied in seminars with some of the best west coast artists, and entered her work in shows and competitions. A turning point for her was 1979 when she discovered the medium of water colour and 2009 when she discovered an inspirational and semi-abstract technique while attending Metchosin Summer School of the Arts under Brian R. Johnson’s instruction.
The in-between family years was dedicated to raising their family and for Tony taking the plunge in establishing his own business in Vancouver, Beta Industries Ltd. In 1984 the success of this business allowed them to take a new direction with a move to Salt Spring Island. They established a flock of Border Leicester sheep and Margaret’s skills in obstetrics were useful with lambing. Their challenge for city dwellers was to see how self-sufficient they could be on a small acreage. They grew vegetables, learned to spin, and care for chickens, rabbits, a dog, two cats and one donkey for guard duty. These beautiful surroundings are the focus of her art in her studio, Serendipity Studio, and a continuing joy in sharing her island vision with visitors.
Margaret and Tony have great pride in their children. Shari is the Financial Director for Calgary InLiv Health. Susan recently retired from a career at Certified General Accountants Association as Special Projects Coordinator to live in small town, Oliver, B.C. John has returned to his alma mater, University of Victoria, as a sessional instructor and Communications and Special Projects officer for the Fine Arts Department. They also enjoy watching the progress of four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Prepared by Margaret Threlfall and Elvi Whittaker
Dorothy (Parfitt) Myers graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Nursing (1951) and with a Master of Science in Nursing (1978) from UBC.
Following graduation she worked for the Victorian Order of Nurses in Victoria, where she grew up, and then on staff and as a Private Duty nurse at Vancouver General Hospital.
After a year travelling in Europe and living in Ottawa, her family returned to Vancouver where she worked for TB Control and then as an Occupational Health Nurse at the BC Telephone Company and then at Woodlands School and Riverview Hospital. In 1972 she joined the North Shore Health Department to pursue her first love, Public Health Nursing, and retired from there in 1989.
Dorothy is Vice-President of the North Shore Safety Council, and since before retirement has actively promoted the Elmer, the Safety Elephant Program presented in schools and preschools in North and West Vancouver.
She enjoys movies, the theatre, Music in the Morning, and travelling. She participates in organizing reunions for the VGH class of September 1950. Next year’s 60th Anniversary celebration is being planned now. She worked with the late Beth McCann and the late Grace “Torchie” Adamson in planning the 60th Anniversary events for the UBC SoN.
She has a daughter and grandson.
Maralyn Leask was born in 1935 in Toronto and finished high school at Trafalgar High in Montreal. Thereafter she entered the School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia graduating in the class of 1959. Immediately after graduation she worked for a year at Langley Memorial where she experienced not only “the fun of hard work” but also “true bedside nursing.” She still considers this her best nursing experience. While there she met many young women from New Zealand and Europe pausing to nurse in Canada in order to continue their travels. These stories inspired Maralyn’s own plans to travel. Thus in 1960, accompanied by her classmate Ann Geddes, she set off for six months to tour Europe by car. On her return in October 1960 she worked for the Boundary Health Unit in public health in Surrey, part of this included working in Ladner at the beginning of home nursing there.
The following year she married Joe Nigg and went to a dairy farm in Abbotsford, living there until 2002. At the same time she worked was a public health nurse, only stopping full time work in 1962 on the birth of Sonya. She continued nursing on the weekends until 1965. Joanne was born in 1964 and Kenneth in 1965. In 1979 she returned to nursing at MSA Manor Home, a personal care facility, where she was the chief administrator. In 1989 a new facility, Maplewood House Senior Care Society, was opened and Maralyn worked there for twelve years.
In retirement Lyn has worked as a volunteer with the Elizabeth Fry Society and lives in the Abbotsford House she built with her husband, enjoying her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and her dog. She was an avid kayaker travelled widely including several times to Switzerland. Her travel highlight was to the north to Yellowknife and to Bathurst Inlet.
Prepared by Maralyn Nigg and Elvi Whittaker
A graduate of the UBC School of Nursing in 1959, Chris Morrison was born in Vancouver and attended Kitsilano High School. She had considered studying home economics at UBC, but opted for nursing, joining the ranks of nurses in her family – her mother (RN, St. Paul’s Hospital), an aunt and two cousins.
After graduation she became a medical-surgical nurse at Peralta Hospital in Oakland, California, a position made possible only because the degree from UBC gave her the necessary requirements for registration with the California Nurses’ Association. She transferred later to Merritt Hospital to obstetrics, a field she preferred.
After marrying Jim Cissell in 1961 she became the nurse for a pediatrics group in Alameda, appreciating the steady hours that position provided. In 1963, and until her return to Canada, she turned to public health nursing for Alameda County. Between 1965 and 1970, except for a three months stint at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), Chris was at home with her two young daughters.
In 1970 she returned to nursing, but encountered difficulties at Richmond General and at VGH in finding a position that would accept someone with a degree. Finally she found a position at VGH as a building shift supervisor, working part-time until her children were of school age. In the summer of 1974 she taught nurses’ aides and orderlies as a VGH instructor.
In the fall of 1974 she settled into the career position she considers her favorite one. She became a public health nurse for the Richmond Health Department holding this for 27 years until her retirement in 2001.
Provided by Elvi Whittaker and Christina Cissell
Chiyeko Joyce was born prematurely in St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, BC on June 5, 1936, sister to Toshinori, her older brother. There were seven children in the family. Her parents, Takeo and Masami Gyoba, immigrated to Canada from Japan during the 1930s and lived in a rooming house on Powell Street which her grandparents operated. Although she was a tiny child, she was strong-willed and people often remarked, “Look! That baby can talk!” She was always an intelligent, caring and insightful person and when she went to kindergarten, she decided that she needed an English name, so she chose the name Joyce.
In the late 1930s, her father moved his family to Vancouver Island where her sister, Hiroko, was born. Before starting kindergarten, Joyce chose Elsie as her name. At the outbreak of World War II, the family was forced to leave. Takeo was taken to a road camp and Masami was evacuated to Hastings Park with her three small children. In 1942, the family was reunited in New Denver, BC where another sister, Charlotte, was born. Joyce had many happy memories of her time there, but for her parents, these were very difficult years in the internment camp. Then after the war, Japanese families were forced to either move east or return to Japan. Luckily, the government ruled that they could remain in BC if they stayed outside the 100-mile radius of Vancouver. In 1946, Joyce’s father secured a job at a sawmill in Spuzzum, 125 miles away, and the family settled there. Joyce took Grade 5 by correspondence because Japanese Canadian students were not allowed to attend public school. At age 14, she had to take a year off school to care for her mother, who suffered from complications after childbirth. She took another year of correspondence while helping her father look after her siblings.
Joyce graduated from high school in Hope with sufficient bursaries and scholarships to pay for her education at university. In September 1954, she enrolled at UBC in first year arts and science to begin the five-year nursing degree program. She lived in a private home and worked for the family to earn her room and board. In 1955, she started the BSN program which included 28 months at the Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing. When she graduated in May 1958, she was awarded The Paediatric Nursing Award. The following year, when she received her degree from the university, the president commended her as the most outstanding student in her class. Joyce provided a powerful role model for her two sisters who realized that going to university was a viable option for them.
Following graduation in October 1959, Joyce joined the BC Public Health Service. Over the years, she worked in Abbotsford, Hope, Kamloops, Salmon Arm and Sicamous. On April 13, 1968, she married Patrick O’Neill and had one child, Brian Tadashi, born in 1969. Joyce and Patrick settled in Salmon Arm where she worked at home until Brian was in high school and then returned to public health nursing. Her full-time homemaker skills included baking bread, buns and her famous apple and lemon pies. Throughout her life, she and Patrick were active in the life and work of St. John’s Anglican Church. Joyce was a founding member of the Hospice Society of Salmon Arm, and also donated many hours to other volunteer services. She had a passion for bridge and was a member of the Salmon Arm duplicate bridge club. She enjoyed badminton, tennis, golf and caring for her Kerry Blue Terriers.
She had exceptionally high standards. Her gentle determination encouraged others to strive to be their very best. She always put others first and was known for her generous spirit, her consideration and her quiet sense of humour. Chiyeko Joyce died of ovarian cancer on November 22, 2001.
Provided by Elsie Gyoba Manley-Casimir, Brian O'Neill, Norma Guttormsson
Joan was born in 1937 into a family of pilots. Although she wanted to follow in her father and brothers’ footsteps and become a flight attendant, she could not do so because she wore glasses. At the time nurses could get jobs almost anywhere, a career prospect that could enable Joan to travel and see firsthand the faraway places to which her kin flew.
Joan entered the nursing degree program at UBC in 1954. As part of her nursing degree, first year was comprised of mandatory math and science courses and Joan excelled; as she said, “math was fun!” Her mathematics professor and UBC Registrar, Mr. Parnell, suggested Joan to pursue honors mathematics, but she was not interested in teaching, nor was she interested in being a pioneer woman in the male-dominated field of engineering and the possibility of computer science was yet to come. Upon completion of the practical training at Vancouver General Hospital, Joan achieved the third highest mark in the provincial Registration Exams. A graduate of the UBC School of Nursing class of 1959, nursing remained Joan’s chosen profession, and over a nearly forty year career she made noteworthy contributions to long term care in BC and in particular, to nursing care in the northeast region of the province.
After graduation in 1959 Joan was a public health nurse with the Burnaby Public Health Unit until she married Peter Eales in 1962. After moving to Dawson Creek, she continued to work in public health nursing in the Peace River Health Unit until her daughter Jacquie was born in 1964. Her son John was born in 1966. She stayed at home while her children were small.
In 1968, Joan returned to nursing, setting up an in-service training program for staff at St. Joseph’s hospital in Dawson Creek. She was one of few nurses in the community with a degree in nursing, often requiring finesse to nurture change without creating conflict. From 1964 to 1974 she chaired the Education Committee of the local chapter of RNABC. With the help of the local Northern Lights College and UBC she developed library resources and interdisciplinary workshops on matters such as sexuality, suicide prevention and the concept of the ICU before they were the norm.
Joan was involved with the care of the elderly before the term ‘gerontology’ was common. Her nursing work and interests moved into the area of aging, which was to be her central focus for the rest of her career, when Joan began working at Pouce Coupe Extended Care Hospital in 1972. Pouce Coupe is a village near Dawson Creek. She was responsible for preparing the extended care hospital for accreditation. They received full accreditation on their first survey, an achievement unheard of at the time. Joan became the Assistant Director of Nursing in 1975.
In the early 1970s Joan was selected by the RNABC to develop a teaching tool on the effects of aging and eventually she created workshops for adults on aging that were presented by Northern Lights College for interested adults in the community. They were well attended for a number of years.
Three years later she began work towards what was to be her major contribution, long-term care. With the experiences of public health nursing, acute and extended care nursing and nursing administration behind her, Joan became Acting Long Term Care Manager for the Peace River Health Unit, the northeast sector of BC, in 1978. An emerging program at the time, it had a clear mandate to help people with long term health problems obtain the support they needed to remain in the community. Later Joan was one of two long-term care administrators who assumed the dual responsibility for long-term care and home nursing care. This proved to be a hard sell for those health units where there were separate administrators for these programs. Eventually, however, home support services, long term care, home nursing care and home physiotherapy was amalgamated into a single Continuing Care Program. With a professional staff of 28 and a clerical staff of seven, in five offices throughout the region, Joan was responsible for managing the Continuing Care Program for the entire northeast region of the province. This was often challenging because the program was funded per capita; the northeast region consisted of over 20% of land area but only 2% of the population. Joan’s synergistic leadership style, ability to organize, creatively solve problems, collaborate with others, and develop community-based solutions that met the health needs of rural and remote clients contributed to her success as one of 17 Continuing Care Managers in the province. Her belief in the value of home care and support services was substantiated in a classic study by Marcus Hollander which used administrative health care utilization data from Joan’s region (and one other) to show clearly that providing even small amounts of home support services to maintain clients in their homes was cheaper for the government in the long term than discontinuing such maintenance services as prescribed by policy changes at that time that were implemented in 15 other regions in the province.
Recognized as being articulate, Joan sat on a number of provincial committees, the most notable of which was a Northern and Rural Task Force (NRTF) created in 1994 by then Minister of Health, Paul Ramsey. The Health Boards of each designated region nominated a representative and Joan was the choice for northeastern BC. Interestingly, she was the only member of the task force who was also a government employee. The NRTF became a formidable group, even engaging the Freedom of Information Act to gain access to financial data. They produced a report within the year with Joan as the primary scribe, working as she put it “off the corners of her desk.” One of the recommendations of the report promoted the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George as a centre of excellence for health education and research for rural and northern regions. Joan also sat on the Seniors Advisory Council of BC, representing her region and advising the provincial government on issues and priorities among older adults in BC.
When health care was transferred to Regional Health Boards in 1997, Joan chose to retire. Finally, she had time to travel! She traveled widely through the north and into Alaska, visiting many of the places her father had flown as a bush pilot in the 1930s. She traveled also to Cuba, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, England, Denmark, Norway, and many cities in Canada and the USA. After 44 years in Dawson Creek, Joan moved from the north to the warmer climate of Victoria BC. She enjoys spending time with her two children and seven grandchildren. Joan’s legacy continues, as her passion for advocating for health and social care for older adults has passed to her daughter Jacquie who works in research on aging, policies and practice at the University of Alberta.
Submitted by Joan Randall Eales and Elvi Whittaker
Carol Smillie was born in Toronto and moved to BC with her family just after her first year of high school. She received her BSN from UBC in 1958, and went on to complete a Bachelor of Education at Mount Saint Vincent University in Nova Scotia, a Master of Science in Health Education at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Toronto.
She has worked in a range of positions, including as a community health nurse consultant in Australia, as the director of the Nova Scotia Sociobehavioural Cancer Research Network Satellite Centre and at the Dalhousie University School of Nursing as Associate Director of Programs and Planning and since 2001, as a Course professor.
Carol has provided her expertise to countless committees and organizations including as Chair of the Community Advisory Committee of the Metro United Way in Nova Scotia, President of the Canadian Cancer Society, a member of the Steering Committee to Reduce the Use of Tobacco in Canada (Health Canada) and Vice- President of the Board of Directors for the Public Health Association of Nova Scotia.
She has received a number of awards, with the most notable of these including both the Government of Canada’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003, as well as the Canadian Volunteer Medal and Certificate of Honour in 1996.
Despite all her accomplishments, “I don’t think I chose nursing, and I don’t really think I embraced nursing as a career until after my children were in school” she says. She’d had several different experiences as a community health nurse working in Germany doing prenatal and postnatal care, and being recruited to teach at Mount Saint Vincent University. “I’d have to be honest and say I drifted along and then suddenly it really struck me that this is a very exciting profession that affords me the honour of being a part of other people’s lives.”
Through community health nursing, Carol was positioned inside “organizations with wonderful volunteers”. Volunteers who worked hard with no thought of personal gain and were solely focused on improving their communities. She was truly inspired by these people, and began to think that she should continue with nursing and to try to constantly improve the profession. She then pursued an education degree followed by a health education degree to try to look more closely at the volunteer health promotion aspect.
As her career progressed, she became President of the Canadian Cancer Society, Nova Scotia Division and later, Vice-President of the National Division - a major voluntary organization. At this point she had received her doctorate and was doing research as well as teaching. Her research interest has focused on understanding the linkages between the health care volunteer and the licensed health professional that will best support a healthy community. “I’ve always been fascinated with interdisciplinary practice. My research and interests have evolved out of practice.”
As she worked as director of a sociobehavioural cancer research unit, her focus on quality of life grew more prominent. She feels strongly that volunteering is highly correlated to quality of life both for the giver and receiver of care. “People who are committed to their community and volunteer are healthier” she says.
Carol looks back on her career and major accomplishments and her response is quite modest. “I was honoured to have been a teacher and honoured to have worked in the voluntary health sector.”
She loves teaching, “I enjoy watching people’s behaviour change as they learn and grow.” When someone changes it’s not usually because of one person or thing they’ve learned, it’s a long process in which many people take part. “I love seeing students come in first year with very concrete views of what nursing is – giving needles, being quick and being able to plug in the heart monitor – and then being with them in fourth year when they are asking; ‘Why are there so many cases of cervical cancer in that small area or how can the health care system be changed so that everyone has equal access to health?’”
Although she’s received a number of honours throughout her career, she acknowledges that credit for her accomplishments does not lie with her alone. She is quite resistant to the elaborate nature of many of these awards and their ceremonies, but has learned that they can offer some important opportunities to support her positions.
In 1996, when Carol received notice that she would be honoured with the Government of Canada’s Volunteer Medal and Certificate of Honour, she left on a cycling trip she had planned with a friend, and told no one for more than ten days while she thought about what to do. “Most of the time I was mouthing off about the government and the queen spending all that money on pomp and circumstance when there are people in our country who are hungry and homeless. I was really in conflict. I didn’t want to go to Ottawa and be pampered for three days.” It was against everything she believed in. Upon return from the cycling trip, she received a call with congratulations from a woman she knew who was now working in Ottawa. Carol told her she wasn’t planning to go, but the woman insisted. “Carol” she said, “you have to! Every opportunity you get, you can talk about the importance of volunteering, and it will give you a voice that you can’t achieve any other way.”
Her husband, who had early onset Alzheimer’s, was not able to go, so she invited her father, who at that point was in his early eighties. “It was a spectacular experience” she says. “My dad was so thrilled about what his little girl had done, and to be presented to the Prime Minister. I kept asking him ‘are you getting tired dad?’ ‘No, certainly not’ he would respond.” The experience highlighted for her the importance of family and friends in our lives and was really important to Carol because it acknowledged the importance of volunteer work. She is still very active in local volunteer agencies such as the Victorian Order of Nurses and the local Autism Centre.
“I’ve had a great career” she says. “And if I could give one message to others, it would be the importance of being involved in community and with volunteers. Nursing has opened those doors for me. It is a discipline that is critical for the nurturance of healthy individuals, families and communities. Nursing, in my opinion, is the stimulus that builds connections that make life worth living. I am very proud to be a nurse.”
Maureen Sullivan was born in Port Alice, British Columbia in 1935. The family lived in Quatsino, a small remote village in Quatsino Sound at the northern end of Vancouver Island.
She attended a one-room school in Quatsino up to grade 8. Following that she attended Queen’s Hall, a private girl’s boarding school in Vancouver, for grades 9 to 12. When she graduated she was too young to enter nurse’s training and lived at home for a year at Jeune Landing, a logging camp in Quatsino Sound where her father worked. Thereafter she spent six months at Vancouver Vocational School and graduated from a secretarial course which included some basic bookkeeping. The plan was that this preparation would provide employment during the summer holidays while at school. She finished first year at the University of British Columbia but failed the chemistry course needed to apply to the nursing program. Thus she worked as a secretary at the Port Alice pulp mill office to make money for university, passed the chemistry course and enrolled in the School of Nursing at UBC. She continued to work at the mill office during the one-month holiday that the training course permitted.
After finishing the hospital residency and the Vancouver Hospital part of the course in 1958, she married Jim Denholme, a mechanical engineer with a certified general accountant’s degree. She then returned to UBC for the last year of the BSN degree. After graduation they lived in Maple Ridge for a year and Maureen worked part time at Maple Ridge Hospital. When they moved to New Westminster she worked part time for two years at St. Mary’s Hospital mainly on medical wards. In 1964 Maria was born, and in 1967 Kelly. In 1965 the family moved to Prince George and Maureen stayed home with the children. They returned to Vancouver in 1968.
In about 1975 she considered the refresher course to return to nursing. However, Jim decided to open a private accounting practice in their home and Maureen took on doing some of the typing and bookkeeping. A friend/client was starting a consulting engineering firm, Matec Consultants Limited and were in need of a part-time secretary/bookkeeper and she took on that position, leading to full time work for a couple of years. When a secretary was hired, she returned to bookkeeping at home. When Jim died in 1989 the firm retained her services as bookkeeper in their offices. She continues working there two or three days a week to this day.
Over the years Maureen and Jim travelled to the ten provinces and the Yukon, often to attend accounting conferences because of Jim’s volunteer positions with the accounting association of which he eventually became the national president. They also travelled to the International Accounting Conference in Adelaide, South Australia and spent a few days stopover in New Zealand on the way home.
Maureen met Graham Turner through a classmate, Sally Purvis and married him in 2001. He worked as a pipefitter in the construction industry retiring in 2002. Maureen and Graham have travelled to Cancun and the Baja in Mexico and have taken a cruise through the Panama Canal. They did an especially memorable tour in Ireland with Maureen’s two daughters. They also had a driving tour of Newfoundland with Maria to celebrate her 50th birthday. Current travel plans are for a European river cruise.
Maureen Turner and Elvi Whittaker
Shelagh knew by the age of eight that she wanted to become a nurse because a good friend of her mother whom she admired greatly was a public health nurse. As she got older, she became aware of the opportunities nursing could offer her, including the satisfaction of a career and the independence that comes with the ability to support oneself.
Shelagh began her Nursing Degree in 1944 when training took six years. She went into the General Program which involved being at UBC for two years, then training at VGH for three years and returning for the final year to UBC. For her last year, she chose the Teaching and Supervision option.
When she first started in 1944, UBC was a very small campus with about 2000 students. In 1945, when war veterans were coming back to school, the student population of UBC grew to 10,000 people and there were army huts all over the campus. The atmosphere changed and changed Shelagh too. For example, whereas before the war ended, tea dances were a common activity on campus, afterwards she and her fellow students were much more aware of the responsibilities of life and how Canadians had contributed so significantly to the war effort.
Because UBC was smaller than many universities, there were more opportunities to be involved in various aspects of student life. Shelagh played field hockey and was on the executive committee of the Nurses Undergraduate Society. These activities provided her with opportunities for leadership and she learned how to be logical and to be a planner.
After completing her undergraduate degree, she taught at Montreal General Hospital for two years and for one year in New York City. She had planned to pursue work for the World Health Organization, but fell in love and got married instead! She and her husband Eric moved back to Vancouver where Eric set up a practice in ophthalmology.
Shelagh eventually had four children and she stayed at home to raise them. During all the time she raised her children she was very active in her community. She volunteered for Brownies and Guides, was camp nurse for kids’ camping trips, and was the informal neighborhood community health consultant!
At the age of fifty, with three children at UBC and one aged 15 in high school, she decided it was a good time to make a life change. She took some refresher courses, and then taught as a sessional lecturer in the SoN. She continued on to obtain a Master of Nursing at UBC. Being a mature student was fun – new ideas and time to explore them, the pleasure of hearing “Hi Mom” from one of her children as she studied in the library, and the new status at home as she emerged from chocolate chip cookie baker to fellow student and professional wife and mother.
Shelagh taught in third year Family Nursing for several years, then in first year with beginning students. Teaching was an inspiration to her and it was a privilege to be able to mentor students with whom she could share her knowledge and wisdom of life and community work. To this day she runs into some of her students and once ran into one of them in a quilting store who recognized her voice and approached her saying “Hi, you were my teacher”. Shelagh retired in 1992.
Shelagh loves quilting and belongs to the Vancouver Quilters Guild. She loves to walk, garden, get together with her family, and travel. She recently returned from a Caribbean cruise with one of her sons, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. They went to the Everglades in Florida, where they saw all the things her young grandchildren loved, including snakes and alligators. She even did some swimming and snorkeling with them. She goes fly-fishing in remote BC lakes and up the coast with her brother. She has gone to the Grande Canyon with Elderhostel.
Sadly, Eric passed away three years ago. But she has ten wonderful grandchildren. One of her children is a nurse, another an ophthalmologist, one is a professor of business and one is a chartered accountant. All of her children are successful but more importantly, all of them enjoy their work. At the age of 81, Shelagh says of her life so far: “I’ve been lucky.”
Grace Adamson was born in Bassano, Alberta in 1927, to Gladys’s and Andrew Stewart. Educational achievement was encouraged by her parents who valued the increasing academic opportunities afforded women. In 1950, Grace graduated from Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing and then received a BSN at UBC in 1951. She became an educator in Nursing Arts at Vancouver General Hospital the same year; Grace enjoyed teaching and mentoring the young students who pursued their nursing dream. Nicknamed ‘Torchy,’ for her fiery red hair, Grace had a wonderfully vibrant and outgoing personality filled with humour and fun. As an invigilator for the RN exams she told countless stories and jokes over the years to nursing candidates. Waiting for their exams to begin was always a tedious time and Grace knew how to ease students fears through laughter.
Grace exemplified helping and giving to others throughout her life – that was who she was as a person. She embraced the values of – empathy, selfless compassion, care, acceptance, and inclusion to those who needed her help in her work. She was sensitized to the issues of social justice and the dire and tragic life circumstances of those patients she meet during her VON nursing in Vancouver’s downtown eastside in the 1950’s. She treated all people with respect and dignity regardless of their plight.
Grace eventually married and become devoted to family throughout her life. After her nursing career, she continued to pursue her passion for helping as a volunteer with several organizations- the Salvation Army (Red Shield Appeal), the Westbrook Society, and the Ladies Oriental Shrine of North America. As well, she became involved in compiling and writing the VGH Alumnae newsletter that reported on the yearly happenings of the nursing graduates who corresponded with her. Grace’s organizational talents shined during her forty year stint (1952- 1992) as co-editor, and then as editor. She also kept her VGH classmates a tightly knit group over the years. There were many wonderful memories of Grace as a unique and comical nursing student. She was a wonderful person to those privileged to have Grace as their friend.
In 1992, following her sudden passing, the Grace Torchy Stewart Adamson Memorial Scholarship was established by family, friends, and colleagues to honour her dedication to nursing education. To date there have been over fifteen recipients each exemplifying academic excellence and practical experience in various areas of the discipline. A recent beneficiary named her daughter Lola Grace in gratitude for the award and the impact it had on her educational goal. Janet Adamson expressed the feelings of their family in saying, “we felt truly touched and honoured by this most wonderful gift. It exemplifies the impact this endowment has on the lives of its recipients.”
Grace Adamson wasn’t a cherished friend or colleague; she was my mother, a wonderful person with a generous and giving heart that touched the lives of those who knew and loved her. Her wisdom of perspective and principle has shaped the core values of my personhood, that is, who I have become for myself and others. I embrace difference in people’s lifestyles and viewpoints as well as acknowledge the oppressions of structural marginalization that oppress so many people. My goal is to care in ways that advocate for social justice, change, and transformation. This is just one of the lifelong goals my mother taught me growing up and to which I hold so close today.
Grace Adamson embraced nursing as a way of life and inspired others to pursue their education, achieve their goals and most importantly, to enjoy a laugh along the way. She will be remembered as a loving mother, a remarkable person, and a dedicated carer of people; a legacy that she left in both her personal life and nursing career.
Story provided by Janet Adamson
Ethel began her professional nursing career as a pediatric nurse at Vancouver General Hospital’s Health Centre for Children, demonstrating an aptitude for teaching at such an early stage that she joined the VGH School of Nursing faculty only a year after graduation. At VGH, she initially taught in pediatrics, but soon shifted to adult medical-surgical nursing, which became the focus of much of the remainder of her nursing education career. Returning to the student role as a member of the first MSN class at UBC, she completed a thesis on the Concerns of Mothers Whose Children are Hospitalized for Minor Surgery in a Day Care Unit under the supervision of Dr. Alice Baumgart. On graduation in 1970, she was immediately appointed by Beth McCann to the UBC School of Nursing faculty, where she was tenured in 1975.
Over a long academic career at UBC, Ethel was a leader in both undergraduate and graduate education. At the undergraduate level, she was one of the “med-surg” team, often coordinating courses and years as well as developing lectures, seminars and labs to meet the evolving health care system needs. She served on and chaired a wide range of committees, and supervised many undergraduates in their guided independent studies in her field of expertise. She was also active at the graduate level, especially with regard to advising students in the area of clinical teaching. Among Ethel’s many “firsts” was being the faculty member responsible for the School’s very first “outreach” lecture, televised live on the Knowledge Network in early 1982. During those faculty years, she was also an active researcher, publishing several papers on such topics as clinical teaching and clinical decision making in collaboration with colleagues such as Judith Mogan and Anne Wyness. While on faculty, Ethel also she gave inservices to a wide range of hospitals, played an active role in such professional organizations as the Society for Peripheral Vascular Nursing and the RNABC Board, and served on the executive of the Nursing Division of the UBC Alumni Association. Perhaps foreshadowing a career post retirement, she also became a member in 1990 of both the Nursing History Group of the RNABC and the Canadian Association of the History of Nursing.
On Ethel’s retirement from the faculty in 1994, she was appointed Assistant Professor Emerita. That same year saw the publication of “Legacy: History of Nursing Education at the University of British Columbia 1919-1994” with co-author Glennis Zilm. The book was a triumph of historical documentation, produced on the occasion of the School’s 75th anniversary, and became a treasure that remains highly cited and referenced today. Since that time, Ethel has been a tireless leader in the BC History of Nursing Society, the Oral History Project, and a wide range of historical projects, exhibitions, displays and events. She is a member of the VGH School of Nursing Alumnae executive as chair of the publicity committee and co-chair of the archives committee. She continues to support the School and the Nursing Alumni with her enthusiastic historical exploration, relentless digging for information, and her meticulous attention to detail. In 2005 she received the RNABC Award of Distinction.
Irene Westwick was born in 1936 in Duncan, British Columbia. She grew up in a boathouse on Lake Cowichan, and later in Honeymoon Bay. In 1954 she graduated from Lake Cowichan High School and joined her two brothers at the University of British Columbia planning to study forestry. She decided on nursing instead, graduating from the School of Nursing in 1959. She began her nursing career working general duty at the hospital in Duncan, the hospital where she was born. After a few months she accepted a position in the maternity ward at the Samuel Merritt Hospital in Oakland, California and there she shared an apartment with a classmate from UBC.
Later in 1959 in San Francisco Irene met Wylie Jones, a structural engineer. They married in 1961 in Lake Cowichan, but returned to live in Oakland. Three children were born in Oakland– Glenn in 1961, Kathleen in 1963 and Sandra in 1964. They returned to Victoria in 1965 and Robert was born in 1967. Irene joined the nursing staff at the Royal Jubilee Hospital’s maternity ward in 1970 as an on-call nurse for the night shift and worked there until 1976.
During her children’s school years, Irene was involved in the Parent Teacher Association at each school, taking on the jobs of secretary, treasurer and president. She also became a member of the University Women’s Club and volunteered in many areas within this association.
When her daughter Kathy entered Camosun College, Irene began to investigate anthropology courses. She began lightly with two courses per semester, but was soon right back into studying, earning a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from the University of Victoria in 1987.
Irene also began exploring her cultural roots with a trip to Sweden and Norway in 1978 where she met many relatives and began a fascination with family history, returning to these countries many times and having relatives visit her. She also became involved in the Women’s Multicultural Society in Victoria and with the Sons of Norway. She ran the summer Norwegian Cultural camps for many years, belonged to the Jenta Klubben (Ladies Club), was part of a group that formed the Swedish Club in Victoria and was on the executive of both the Sons of Norway and the Swedish Club. Irene also volunteered for Revenue Canada completing tax returns for people who could not afford accountants. Irene always looked for ways to support her community and extend her own learning.
When her husband retired in 1995, she helped form a consulting structural engineering company where she was the secretary/treasurer while Wylie was the engineer and president. They travelled widely in British Columbia, Washington, California and Arizona on projects for many years. In 1989 they bought land on Albernie Inlet in Haggart’s Cove and Irene became involved in the local Strata Council environmental concerns such as replenishing the shoreline after sewer construction and in bear awareness. She was fond of saying “It is not a bear problem, it’s a human problem.” Irene loved life in the cove, but especially she loved her grandchildren – Meaghan, Jennifer, Luca, Christopher, Sofia and Lauren.
Irene was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June 2011 and passed away at home in August 2011.
Provided by Irene Jones and Elvi Whittaker
Marilynn Wood is a Professor Emerita in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta. She received her BSN from the University of British Columbia, completed an MPH in Gerontology and Biostatistics and a PhD in Gerontology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
She has completed research projects in the areas of nursing administration, nursing education, nursing research methodologies, obesity, and gerontology and is involved in a study which is developing a model of health promotion for seniors.
Marilynn has incurred many special achievements throughout her career. She is a charter member of Mu Sigma and Iota Sigma Chapters of Sigma Theta Tau International. In 1987, she received the YWCA Women of Achievement Award in West Covina, CA. She also received the Book of the Year Award from the American Nurses Association in 1984, for a book co-authored with Dr. Pamela Brink entitled Basic Steps in Planning Nursing Research: From Question to Proposal (2ndEd.). She is actively involved in a number of health and nursing organizations and chair or sit on a variety of university and community committees. As well, she is the Co-Editor of the journal Clinical Nursing Research.
Norma worked with the World Health Organization and spent seven years during the 1970s in Singapore and Malaya where she set up basic curricula for nursing schools. Nursing in Asia at that time was almost nonexistent and Norma Wylie helped upgrade the role of the nurse in China, as she later described it, “from the basement to the first floor”. On her return from Asia, she taught at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, where she was the first woman and first nurse to receive a clinical appointment along with a full professorship with tenure at a medical school in North America. She had moved to Illinois to open a hospice program, but the move also gave her an opportunity to teach medical students, something she had always believed was important. Her experiences in teaching doctors the bedside knowledge that nurses use resulted in a book, The Role of the Nurse in Clinical Medical Education. She later took part in an exchange program between SIU and Sun Yat-Sen University in China in the late 1980s.
Betty was born in the Vancouver General Hospital in 1934 and entered that venerable institution 20 years later as a student nurse. She began the degree program in nursing at UBC in September 1953 and graduated from VGH in August 1956, topping those in BC writing the RN examination at that time. Betty returned for her final year at UBC, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 1957.
Work as a Public Health Nurse (PHN) with Metropolitan Health, the City of Vancouver’s Health Department, was her first career choice. She met her husband, Tom, at a Nurses/Engineers mixer in October 1954 and in 1958, marriage and a move to Calgary resulted in a pediatric nursing position and later a clinical instructor position with the Calgary General Hospital School of Nursing.
Family responsibilities created a hiatus in Betty’s nursing career, although brief periods in casual service kept her current. She returned to a full-time Public Health Nursing (PHN) position in the Simon Fraser Health Unit (SFHU) in 1971. Public Health Nursing with the province was an exciting opportunity for nursing practice at that time. The PHN provided total care in her district; this included home nursing care, school nursing, baby clinics, prenatal classes, postnatal and newborn visits and communicable disease followup. It was a very challenging role which was eventually divided to provide specialized services with the PHN providing Preventive services while Home Care Nursing and Long Term Care became separate programs.
In 1978 the Provincial Government sponsored Betty to attend UBC in the Master’s Program in Health Services Planning. She completed her studies while continuing to work part time, graduating with a Master of Science degree in 1981. Her thesis evaluated four years of scoliosis screening at SFHU. This resulted in cancelation of the program for lack of validity. She published her program evaluation of scoliosis screening in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, July 1984.
The opportunity for leadership roles in Public Health presented in 1975 and 1980 when Betty became, first, a Senior Nurse, and then, Nursing Supervisor at SFHU. It was a period of rapid development in preventive programming. Betty became an active promoter of immunization campaigns, couples prenatal classes, breastfeeding clinics, early postpartum visits, involvement of volunteers in screening programs, flexible scheduling of nursing staff to enhance service and Sun Smart initiatives, to name but a few timely initiatives. Other opportunities for leadership came when she served as Health Unit Director at SFHU when the position was vacant. Public Health Nursing headquarters in Victoria also seconded Betty to work as a Nursing Consultant part-time on several occasions. She found the opportunity to be involved in nursing policy development a very rewarding experience. Betty retired from nursing in 1997.
In 1977 The City of Coquitlam appointed Betty to the Board of Trustees of Saint Mary’s Hospital in New Westminster on the recommendation of Dr. John Blatherwick, Medical Health Officer and Director at SFHU. He believed the experience would benefit her studies in the Master’s Program she was entering at UBC. Her service on the board lasted for over 25 years, culminating in three years as board chair. Many of those years were devoted to actively defending the hospital from repeated efforts to close this respected, efficient, effective provider of compassionate health care to the region and indeed some specialized services to the province. A controversial political decision to close the hospital, after 117 years of faithful service, was made in 2002. Betty continues to serve on the Saint Mary’s Health Foundation Board as treasurer. She actively participated in the publication of a book in 2008 telling the Saint Mary’s story.
Other post retirement activities have included volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society, traveling with Tom, her husband of 51 years, and keeping abreast of the activities of their daughter, son, and four grandchildren. As well, Tom and Betty are keen duplicate bridge players. Betty looks back on her 33 years of nursing with fond memories of a career based on the sound education received at VGH and UBC, as well as the support of family, mentors and colleagues over those fulfilling years. Written in September 2009
1960s Amazing Alumni Stories
Betty was born on May 19, 1917 in Calgary, Alberta and received her high school education there. In 1939 she graduated from the Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing. Following graduation she worked at VGH as a staff nurse, head nurse and building supervisor. In 1950 she joined the staff of the Division of Venereal Disease Control in Vancouver as a nursing instructor and later, superintendent of nurses.
Betty received a diploma in Clinical Teaching and Supervision from UBC in 1955 and a BSN in 1960. In 1965 she attended the University of Washington and earned a Master of Nursing degree. In 1960, she joined the nursing faculty at UBC where she remained until her retirement in 1982. Betty taught mainly community health nursing in the undergraduate program and sat on numerous committees. She chaired the fourth year BSN program for many years and acted as program advisor for Registered Nurses entering the School. A major portion of her time involved coordination of student experiences with various community agencies and she became well-known and highly regarded by them. Betty was a respected and well-loved professor known for her fairness and devotion to nursing. She had an open-door policy and spent many hours supporting and counselling students. In addition she had a wonderful sense of humour!
Betty retired in 1982 and lived in her home in Vancouver with her sister Margaret. A dog lover, she enjoyed caring for her two dogs as well as looking after those of friends. With her close friend, Beth McCann, she toured New Zealand and the South Pacific. When Beth died suddenly in 1986, Betty organized Beth’s numerous and lengthy files and memorabilia - a massive undertaking - and presented them to the School They have become an integral part of the School’s Historical Collection, many accepted by the UBC Archives.
For more than twenty years she was an active member and loyal supporter of the UBC School of Nursing Alumni Division, serving for many years as treasurer. Betty died on January 9, 2003 following a brief illness.
Submitted by Ethel Warbinek
Margaret Harrison is a Professor Emerita in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta. She has a BSN from the University of British Columbia, an MSN from the University of Rhode Island, and a PhD (Family Studies) from the University of Alberta.
Her primary areas of expertise are community health nursing and family nursing and currently has two main research programs.
One program focuses on early parenting of premature infants and child development and behaviour outcomes during preschool and school years.
This research is done in collaboration with Dr. Joyce Magill-Evans, Department of Occupational Therapy and Dr. Gary Holdgrafer, Department of Speech and Audiology, University of Alberta. These research projects include both mothers and fathers and a control group of term infants with their parents. Current funding is from Health Canada and the Medical Research Council.
These research projects include both mothers and fathers and a control group of term infants with their parents. Current funding is from Health Canada and the Medical Research Council.
Caregiving situations used in this research have included parenting premature infants and caring for a senior with cognitive impairment.
Other research interests include the use of nursing diagnosis in community health and the health of low-income women (in collaboration with Dr. Anne Neufeld and Dr. Linda Reutter, Faculty of Nursing).
Margaret’s special achievements and affiliations include:
• Medical Research Council/National Health and Research Development Program Health Scholar (1995-2000)
• Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Predoctoral Scholarship (1985-1987)
• Province of Alberta Professional Training Bursary, (1985-1986)
• Head of Graduating Class, Nursing, University of British Columbia, 1964)
• University of British Columbia Alma Mater Society - Outstanding Academic Achievement (1964)
• Vancouver Women's Canadian Club Scholarship (1963)
• Mary Graham Holland Scholarship in Nursing (1963)
• University Scholarship in Nursing and Health (1961)
• Cominco Scholarship (1960-1963)
• Western Bakeries Scholarship (1960)
• Percy Elliott Memorial Scholarship (1960)
• University of British Columbia Alumni Scholarship (1959)
• British Columbia Government Scholarships (1959-1963)
• Member, Perinatal Research Centre, University of Alberta
• Member, Mu Sigma Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau International
• Member, Alberta Community Health Nurses Society
• Member, National Council on Family Relations
• Member, Canadian Public Health Association
• Member, Alberta Public Health Association
• Member, Alberta Association of Registered Nurses
A graduate of the BSN program in 1968, Ann began her nursing career in Toronto as a Team Leader on a nursing research unit at Sunnybrook Hospital. She later joined the University of Toronto Faculty of Nursing. She did her masters degree at U of T and after working at the Respiratory Care Unit at Toronto General Hospital, she studied the sleep of patients in a respiratory care unit using EEG, EOG, EMG and observation for 48 continuous hours, a ground-breaking piece of work for her master’s thesis. She was then recruited to UBC as an Assistant Professor in 1974 where she continued to work until her retirement in 2005. From 1983 to 1986 she completed her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin. She was promoted from Assistant to Associate to Full Professor and retired as Professor Emerita.
Throughout her career she focused on individual and family coping with life-threatening and chronic illness. Her doctoral dissertation examined the concept of uncertainty and how women with breast cancer coped with it. Her research continued to focus on coping with uncertainty. She developed and tested the Uncertainty Stress Scale, used by several researchers in their work, both in English and French. She also developed expertise in program evaluation and was a principal or co-investigator or consultant to a number of program evaluation studies. She taught courses and workshops on program evaluation. She has many peer-reviewed publications based on many provincially and nationally supported grants. For the four years prior to her retirement she was coordinator of the MSN program. She was actively involved in provincial, national and international nursing organizations, such as Sigma Theta Tau (The International Honor Society of Nurses), The Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology (CANO), the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care (ISNCC), and the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology (CAPO). While at UBC, she served on the Board of the Faculty Club and the Faculty Pension Plan.
As a child she was interested in painting and when her family were stationed in France, she took oil painting classes with a French woman artist (who did not speak English). Her focus on art gained considerable momentum after her retirement and she now spends considerable time painting. Her subject matter focuses on nature and representing that subject in expressive ways. She likes watercolour as a medium for the freedom of colours to mix and mingle to create wonderful scenarios that are both exhilarating and relaxing. She does shows and is a member of Artists in Our Midst as well as the Federation of Canadian Artists. You can see her paintings on her website: www.annhilton.com.
Rose Murakami was born into a family of Japanese Canadian pioneers. Her mother Kimiko Okano Murakami (1904-1997) was the first child of Japanese descent to be born in the fishing community of Steveston, BC. In 1942, Kimiko, husband Katsuyori, and their young family including three year old Rose, were forcibly removed from their Salt Spring Island ancestral farm, separated, and interned in central B.C. for the duration of the Second World War. Kimiko’s strength of character through this painful period in Canadian history was later the subject of a 1997 CBC television documentary. Although they had been reassured by the neighbour serving as the island's government-appointed "Custodian of Enemy Alien Property” prior to being imprisoned that not a chopstick would be missing from their home until their return, the family received word in 1943 that their property had been auctioned off and sold without their consent.
It took the Murakami’s seven years to make their way home, and they were the only Japanese settler family to return to Salt Spring Island after the war. However, they returned to a community that was no longer comfortable with neighbours of the “wrong colour.” Their attempts to acquire new property were challenged by local authorities, and they were informed by an official of the church where several of the Murakami children had been baptized that they were no longer welcome. Said Rose, "To this day, the only time I go to that church is when we have to vote." And despite no longer holding possession of the old family homestead, they were forced to finish paying off the mortgage on it. Considering themselves honourable people the Murakami parents fulfilled that commitment.
Young Rose Murakami found her way to UBC and graduated with a BSN in 1962. Serving as a clinician lecturer at the School of Nursing during the Evelyn Mallory years, she completed a master’s degree nursing at McGill University in 1970 and returned to a full time faculty position. Intensely committed to clinical practice, she maintained a full clinical teaching load, primarily at St. Paul’s Hospital, in addition to her teaching and coordinating activities. She was known for her exceptionally high standards, combined with a supportive manner with students and junior faculty. In 1981, Rose became director of nursing at the Purdy Pavilion for Extended Care at the UBC Health Sciences Centre. Continuing to teach part time in an adjunct professor capacity, she also acquired a master of science in rehabilitation nursing clinical specialist degree from Boston University, with a minor in gerontology. Although she served for several years as the chief nursing officer at the UBC site after a major hospital merger in the region, Rose’s position was eventually deleted in 1993 and for the remaining years of her professional career, she served as the first consumer relations representative for the Registered Nurses Association of BC.
During the two decades in which Rose was a member of the UBC School of Nursing faculty in various capacities, Rose was an influential presence during a time in which nursing was finding its way out from under medical domination of its education and into an understanding of its own unique contribution to the health of a society. Although she rarely made direct mention her own family’s wartime experience, its powerful lessons were felt in the classroom by a generation of undergraduate and graduate nursing students in her insistence on clarity of thought, the rigorous analysis of the implications of ideas, and of separating belief from knowledge. Social justice remains a pervasive feature of the curriculum within which UBC nurses learn the profession today.
In 2006, the Salt Spring Island home occupied by the Murakami family since 1954 was destroyed by fire. A widespread public outcry in response to this tragedy made it apparent that the loss was widely felt across the community. Representing a quiet and hopeful protest against an uncomfortable chapter in Canadian history, the Murakami home had been a testament to what Canada can and should stand for. The Murakami family’s gentle but persistent insistence on respect and retribution was viscerally understood as an important reminder that peace and tolerance must be kept alive in the minds of the next generation.
Undaunted for long by the devastating loss of their home and the many artefacts of family history it contained, the remaining Murakami siblings rebuilt their lives once again. In 2008, Rose and her brother Richard presided over the opening of “Murakami Gardens,” an affordable housing complex built on land they had donated to the Salt Spring Island community in honour of their parents.
Pam graduated with a BSN in 1967 and an MSN in 1975. She keeps in touch regularly with her classmates of 1967, meeting with them most recently in beautiful Waterton Lakes, Alberta. At the time Pam did her undergraduate nursing degree, the first year of a five-year program was made up of Arts or Science courses and the next four years were nursing courses, with two to three months during the summers getting clinical experience at St. Paul’s or Riverview Hospital.
Pam has had a varied and exciting work-life. She was interested in a career in psychiatric nursing. After graduating in 1967 she worked at VGH wanting to work in psychiatry but ended up working in pediatrics. She wasn’t happy there and decided to go to Europe for a year.
When she came back, she applied to work at the psychiatric unit at UBC and assisted Bill Brown with collecting data for a research project he was doing at Riverview. While driving with him to Riverview, he often spoke about his residency in Montreal and how wonderful it was to work at the Allen Memorial Institute there. She decided to go there herself and worked there for a couple of years. She loved Montreal, it was an exciting time and place and “The Allen” was a great place to work, with lots of exciting programs and the staff consisting of many young motivated people. She then moved to Toronto and worked in public health for a year.
Pam taught at UBC for a few years in Psychiatry and Gerontology, and then worked in the Extended Care Unit at UBC as an educator, at Mount St. Joseph’s as Director of Extended Care for eight years and finally as a Nursing Practice Consultant with the CRNBC. She is semi –retired now, working part time in the Fraser Health with a Clinical Nurse Specialist in orthopaedics.
Pam loves to travel and is attempting to get her husband to enjoy it as much as she does. In 1997 she and her sister agreed to go to Tibet together in six year’s time. Pam showed her skill and luck with the stock market by growing their travel fund from $3000 to more than $20,000 in one year! She and her sister spent six weeks travelling together while their husbands stayed home and her sister’s husband looking after their six-year old daughter. The parting gifts from their husbands were interesting; her sister’s husband gave her sister $500.00 (American!), Pam’s husband gave her a giant economy box of Imodium, practical man that he was!
Bernadet grew up in Edmonton and graduated from the Edmonton General Hospital School of Nursing in 1957. Afterward, she and three classmates “moved out into the big wide world” and she worked for a few months in the emergency department at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane. She married Edward in 1958 and they moved back to Edmonton. She worked in various positions within obstetrics in Edmonton, moving from staff nurse to supervisor. After their marriage she and Ed moved to Vancouver so that he could attend UBC’s architecture school. One funny anecdote Bernadet shares from her early days is that when she went into nursing she was very impressed with the pristine look of the uniforms nurses wore at the time and at how nurses carried themselves in those uniforms. “One of the most devastating experiences as a 17 year-old was discovering that these uniforms were held together by safety pins and clips which were taken off along with the buttons so that they could be starched.”
By the time she began her BSN at UBC, Bernadet already had ten years of nursing practice behind her. She wanted to be able to move into positions that would allow her to support nurses more effectively and make improvements in health care for patients. Bernadet obtained her baccalaureate degree while working full-time at St. Paul’s Hospital, though she did do one full-time year of the BSN at UBC, graduating in 1968. She was impressed with the commitment the faculty had to accomplishing their many goals. Bernadet was one of the six “D” students- the first group of graduates who were already RNs. She remembers that sometimes they were resented because other students didn’t like the fact that they didn’t participate in extracurricular activities, such as “the leg auction.” They didn’t appreciate that all of these students were working full or part- time and had families and therefore had to set rather strict priorities for themselves.
From 1979 to 1989, Bernadet served as Director/Vice President of Nursing at St. Paul’s Hospital, where she had worked for over 20 years. Before that she had been a staff nurse in the emergency and obstetric departments and became Head Nurse in the newborn nursery in 1963, Clinical Instructor of obstetrics in 1966 and Clinical Coordinator responsible for infection control, ambulatory care services and obstetrics from 1968 to 1979. She initiated and was responsible for developing the Family Centred Maternity Care Program at St. Paul’s in 1972, along with the space renovations required to implement it. This new service was one of the first in Canada and was designated by the provincial government as the only alternate program to the (then) Grace Maternity Hospital in Vancouver.
Wanting to have a lasting impact on BC nursing practice, Bernadet enrolled in the Master of Science Degree program in Health Services Planning and Administration in 1978 at UBC, graduating in 1981. “I was a jaded old lady by then!” Again she did this degree while working full-time as Director/VP of Nursing at St. Paul’s.
At about this time, the entire nursing profession was undergoing attack from the “business model experts” in health care who were undoing much of what nurses had strived to build over the years. Funding shortages were beginning to impinge on patient care and nursing was identified as the cause of the problem. There were nurse revolts at this time, many were fired, and health care was reorganized. Bernadet’s team of nursing directors was responsible for all nursing provided in the hospital. These directors were fired and in place of their commitment and expertise, 19 inexperienced “consultants” were hired. Another reason the nurses were targets, Bernadet remembers, is that doctors felt that nurses were running the hospital and they didn’t that. Bernadet says that in fact they were running it, through middle management positions, “and it ran beautifully.” The improvements that nurses made to some of the systems in the hospital that led to doctors accusing them of “running the show” included standardizing the booking system in the OR and standardizing the equipment used in the OR. One improvement they attempted to make but were not successful in implementing, was instituting the practice of nurses being able to trial any equipment they would have to use.
For all these efforts, the nursing directors and Bernadet herself, were fired. There was now no nursing department, no unique identity; nursing became one of many services, similar to any other. “All of this undermined the power of nurses to provide excellent patient care. So much was lost during this time. You can’t not have these types of leadership positions and function well individually as nurses or as professionals,” Bernadet says of this time. During this period, Bernadet remembers the young woman who was one of the people who was supposed to suggest where the cuts in nursing were to come from. She asked Bernadet out for lunch “and she just started to cry, saying ‘there is nothing wrong with your department, there is no wastage of resources at all, and you’re going to be fired.’” It made Bernadet feel good to know that when they looked for waste, they found none.
After this very turbulent era in BC’s health care history, Bernadet, went to Alberta for one year as the Executive Director of the Alberta Association of Registered Nurses and returned in 1991 to become the Associate Dean of the School of Health Sciences at BCIT until 2002 when she retired. In this position, she was responsible for the administration and educational leadership of the Nursing and the Specialty Nursing Programs, the Biomedical Engineering Technology, the Prosthetics and Orthotics and the Occupational Health and Safety Programs. During her tenure, she introduced the baccalaureate program in nursing.
Bernadet has been very active in professional nursing activities for many years. In addition to serving on several RNABC (now CRNBC) committees, she was the president from 1983 to 1985. She was active in the Canadian Nurses Association, the Nurse Administrators Association of BC, the Canadian College of Health Services Executives, and she was on several hospital, university and community committees. She was on the board of BCIT, MDS Metro (now Life Line) and on many regional health board committees.
After her retirement in 2002, she wrote a history of the Nursing Education Council of BC (1972-2000), was a board member and Chair of the Care and Support Services Committee of Yaletown House, served a two year term as President of the Registered Nurses Foundation of BC, and wrote a brief biography of Dr. C.E. McDonnell.
Among her many accomplishments are the development of a nationally recognized department of nursing that was known for its quality of care, innovative approaches and support of staff nurses, extending orientations for newly graduated nursing practitioners, leading a rapid and effective response to the AIDS epidemic in Vancouver, initiating nurse specialty courses that have become part of BCIT’s Specialty Nursing Program, and initiating a Staff Nurses Journal Club for recognition and professional development of senior nurses that celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2001. In 2002 it was renamed the Bernadet Ratsoy Journal Club. The members still meet, and most of the emphasis is now social.
In 2002 she received the RNABC recognition Award for her valuable contributions to the nursing profession in BC and in 2003 Bernadet received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Health Care Leaders Association of BC.
Bernadet is most proud of her mentorship of other nurses throughout her career. To this day she receives cards from nurses who have felt that she helped them in some very meaningful way in their working lives. All of her work has been directed toward supporting nurses so that they can be better at what they do: “nurses need to be supported and need to have control over the work they do because this has a direct effect on patient care.”
Bernadet died in October 2009.
A graduate of the BSN program in 1967, Alison began her nursing career in pediatrics at St. Paul’s, but quite quickly felt the pull of adventure and headed off to San Francisco. There, she worked as a staff nurse in neonatal ICU and pediatrics at San Francisco area hospitals before moving into community positions at a family health centre first in public health and then as an Ob-Gyn Nurse Practitioner (Maternal Nurse Associate certification). Completing her master’s degree in Maternal Child Nursing at the University of California, she headed off to the University of Hawaii for a year of teaching, and on the basis of that incredibly broad base of skills, was recruited back to UBC to become an Assistant Professor in 1974. A few years later, taking a sabbatical in England, she obtained her state certification in midwifery in 1981.
Returning to Vancouver, Alison launched what would become a central focus of the remainder of her career establishing at the old Grace Hospital a pioneering “pilot project” to convince the health care system and the public of the contributions that midwifery could make to maternal child care. Devoting many years of hard work to exemplary (voluntary) clinical practice, building an evidence base, and political advocacy, Alison and her colleagues were the activists whose contributions eventually resulted in the legalization of midwifery in British Columbia.
During her time in the School, Alison was also known for her profound interest in cross cultural and international work, another remnant of her time in the San Francisco clinics. She was among the early faculty participants in the School’s Punjab-based Guru Nanak Partnership Project in 1998, bringing to India her solid expertise in nursing education and her grounding in maternal child care. Over a career of almost 33 years, Alison was respected by her colleagues as a feisty feminist activist, a diehard proponent of safe and effective women’s health service, and someone who has never shied away from a political battle if she believed it in the best interest of the people she served. She continues to support initiatives advancing women’s health in her well-earned retirement.
Dr. Colleen Stainton (BSN ’61), retired in 2007, having moved back to B.C. after 10 years in Australia. There, she was the first Clinical Chair of Women’s Health Nursing in the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Sydney and the Centre for Women’s Health Nursing, Royal Hospital for Women, and filled her days to capacity.
From early on Colleen’s interest lay in maternity and neonatal care, and with master’s preparation at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) became a perinatal clinical nurse specialist and developed a research focus on bonding and attachment issues. She also completed a doctorate at UCSF. Her career focus was to improve the nursing and midwifery role in health care through linking and integrating education, research and practice. After 25 years with the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Nursing, she was recruited to Australia. “I considered the job in Australia my bliss job where I could really use my experience as educator and researcher,” said Colleen.
Since the age of three, Colleen wanted to be a nurse, and throughout her career she embraced challenging projects and roles from lobbying to retain a women’s hospital in Calgary to developing curriculum and research in maternal-infant care with professionals from Nigeria, Taiwan, Sweden, Canada and Japan. Colleen was a founding member of a faculty group from Foothills Hospital, Mount Royal College and the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary where she developed and taught advanced nursing practice roles and established the international maternity nursing conference group in 1986 with a group of international colleagues. She was awarded Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellowship for work in Guyana.
Colleen remembers fondly her time in the nursing program at UBC. Her class was the last to go through the joint Vancouver General Hospital/UBC program. “We were taught from a theoretical framework,” says Colleen, “and developed skills in campus labs prior to hospital experience.” Her class still reunites and talks about their UBC experience— they meet every five years for a few days and have a lunch in the years between— the 45th reunion was in September 2006. “Nursing was a very satisfying place to live my life,” she says, “and my time at UBC provided such solid knowledge and skills for practice. A wonderful group of faculty as well as classmates and colleagues, both ahead and behind me in the program, instilled in me a patient-focused view but very importantly, a belief in my own value as a nurse.”
1970s Amazing Alumni Stories
Mary Adlersberg (MSN '77) was a graduate of the Jewish General Hospital School of Nursing and the University of Ottawa when she arrived in British Columbia to take up a position as staff nurse and later acting head nurse in the Psychiatric Unit of the new UBC Health Sciences Centre Hospital in 1972.
Fearing that she was headed for a life of crime, her boss and mentor Professor Helen Gemeroy (1912-1997) strongly recommended further education and Mary was admitted into the MSN program at the UBC School of Nursing. On graduation in 1977, she held a faculty position for three years, then returned to nursing practice as Nursing Care Manager at the UBC Extended Care Hospital and later as a Community Mental Health Practitioner at the Strathcona Care Team in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. In 1991, she joined the staff of the Registered Nurses Association of BC (later College of Registered Nurses of BC) as a Nursing Practice Consultant, where she remained until her retirement in April of 2008. Throughout those years as a practice consultant, she thoroughly enjoyed applying her unique and creative approach to helping solve the complex practice problems confronted by nurses across a wide range of clinical settings, and working with nurses to bring a nursing vision of better health service delivery to fruition. A tireless advocate for nurses, Mary was fearless about entering into the fray of the most complex health care issues and nursing workplace dynamics, working effectively with administrators, unions, interprofessional team members, colleagues and nurses themselves to wrestle with the inherent complexities of nursing within an evolving ethical, legal and regulatory climate. She regularly accepted invitations to guest lecture in the School on topics related to the enactment of professional nursing in real life contexts. Her work was characterized by tenacity, a unique angle of vision on most problems, and a passionate enthusiasm for the profession of nursing and the remarkable human beings who practice it. On retirement, Mary is continuing to create her unique brand of trouble within a wide range of community activities and interests, and remains a strong champion of the profession
Chinnama describes her nursing life as a journey, and indeed it was; one that brought her from India to Canada and to some very advanced nursing positions. “I came from a third world country and was blessed to have had the opportunities to grow personally and professionally in Canada. I was also a good student and it helped me to advance in my nursing career.”
Chinnama didn’t always want to be a nurse; teaching was her first choice of career. She graduated with first class standing from senior secondary and attended college for one year before being interviewed for a degree program in nursing at Christian Medical College Hospital in Vellore, South India (known as the best College in India). Thirty women were invited for a very challenging three-day interview and assessment process, and at the end 15 were selected for the BScN program. Chinnama was selected and began her nursing career at the age of 17. She completed her four-year degree program in nursing and a six-month certificate program in midwifery in 1963. The nursing program was very progressive: it included courses in English, Sociology and Nursing Research and both urban and rural public health nursing in addition to the various nursing courses. Anatomy and Physiology for the degree nurses were offered at the Medical College. The School of Nursing was affiliated with a 2000-bed hospital, a medical college and offered many other allied health programs in addition to a nursing diploma, degree (BScN and MScN) and Medical degree.
When she completed the BScN program, Chinnama had received a job offer from a hospital in Canada. She had not yet worked, and at 21 years of age, her first job was in Wrinch Memorial Hospital in Hazelton, BC. In her job offer letter, she was told that the population of Hazelton was three quarters Indian and of course coming from India, she took this to mean what we now call South Asian, not aboriginal peoples. The 35 bed hospital in a rural setting was a totally different experience from the one she had in a large urban hospital in India. “During night shifts you were the only RN working with one LPN and were responsible for emergency, maternity, pediatrics and general medical/surgical patients.” Chinnama was often very afraid of dealing with people who were drunk coming into the emergency room. She said, “and thank God I had midwifery because the native women would come in and have babies in a hurry and I would know what to do.” In fact she was the charge nurse during night shift, yet duties included a number of non-nursing tasks, for example rinsing out soiled linen after a baby was born.
Chinnama had worked in Hazelton for one year when she was in a car accident while travelling with a friend from Hazelton to Terrace and Kitimat. She ended up in Kitimat General Hospital, unconscious, with a broken jaw and elbow (there had been no seat belt in the car). There was an “amazing” orthopedic surgeon there who performed surgery on her and assisted her with rehabilitation. She ended up working in the Kitimat General Hospital for one year.
In 1966 she went to Kamloops and worked at Royal Inland Hospital for six months in pediatrics and then began teaching at the hospital’s School of Nursing. Initially she taught Anatomy and Physiology and Pharmacology. “My first class had 64 students (one man and 63 women) and students stood up and greeted you when you entered the classroom!”
In the late 60’s and early 70’s there was a movement in nursing education across North America to move nursing programs from hospitals to educational institutions. As a result, there was a plan in place to close the long-standing and highly reputable Royal Inland Hospital School of Nursing and move the nursing program to Cariboo College (which opened in 1970) in Kamloops. Chinnama realized that this was the best time to pursue a university education in Canada, and a Master’s degree in Nursing from UBC was her best option. The only choice she had was to quit her job and move to Vancouver and enroll in the two-year, full-time, campus-based program at UBC. She began the program with 12 other women and one man in 1972.
By this time, Chinnama was married and had a two year old son. She rented a family housing unit on campus with her son (her husband had to work in Kamloops), who she placed in the UBC parent co-op day care facility. She had to volunteer four hours per week at the day care. She remembers how difficult it was even to go to the library with a child in tow. She had to use every hour effectively to keep up with reading and assignments. After completing the first year she went back to Kamloops and worked as a staff nurse at Royal Inland Hospital and was tempted not to return to UBC for the second year to complete the program. However, she is glad that she persisted in returning, “It was not easy,” she says, “with no income, commuting on some weekends to Kamloops, and raising a toddler while taking a full course load in a graduate program in nursing.” She had received a bursary from RNABC that was given to nurses to pursue graduate degrees in nursing and it was a great help.
It is still “amazing” to her that she was able to complete the program with First Class standing. There was an “incredible group of faculty” at UBC at the time, Chinnama says, including Dr. Alice Baumgart, who taught Issues in Nursing and Dr. Margaret Campbell who taught Curriculum Development, and several others Chinnama admired who taught Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing. She also took elective courses (e.g. Sociology of Education, Social Psychology) and Chinnama found these very intellectually stimulating. “The nursing faculty challenged students intellectually and treated us with respect. One of them invited us to her home one evening for a delicious home-cooked meal. The two years at UBC were, in so many ways, a wonderful experience, and it is still a great feeling to have been a part of the UBC School of Nursing.”
After completing her MSN in 1974, Chinnama went back to Kamloops and was offered a job in the Cariboo College Nursing Program. She was at Cariboo College from 1974 until 2003 when she retired. During those years she assumed the roles of Nursing Instructor, Year/ Program Co-coordinator, Chairperson, Associate Dean and Dean of the School of Nursing. Meanwhile, Cariboo College had become the University College of the Cariboo (UCC), and is now Thompson Rivers University (TRU).
Chinnama realized how significant it was for her to obtain a Master’s degree in nursing, as the knowledge she gained in the program helped her in each role she assumed. In the 1970s, nurses with Master’s degrees in nursing were limited in number. In fact, Chinnama was the only nurse at Cariboo College with an MSN degree. The knowledge she gained from Margaret Campbell in curriculum development was an asset in developing a curriculum based on a nursing model (a requirement by RNABC for program approval) and she was able to provide leadership in this area within the School of Nursing (She was later released for one year to work with Dr. Campbell to develop a curriculum based on a nursing model). Chinnama also assumed a leadership role in a number of initiatives in nursing education in her community and within the province. One such initiative was changing the two-year diploma nursing program to a three-year program within the college setting. Cariboo College was granted permission to offer this three-year program as a pilot project (the mandate of community colleges was to offer programs that did not exceed more than two years in length) and it remained as a three-year program until the four-year BSN program was commenced at UCC. She also pioneered in bringing the post RN BSN program from UVIC to UCC. In fact, with this initiative in nursing, the move toward access to degree education in the interior of BC became a reality. The four-year BSN program also commenced at UCC when Cariboo College became a University College.
Chinnama served on the RNABC Board for two terms and assumed a leadership role in promoting baccalaureate education in nursing as a requirement for RN practice. She chaired the RNABC Entry to Practice Committee while on the Board. She was a founding member of the Collaborative Nursing Programs in BC. Cariboo College was one of the original five institutions that developed a collaborative curriculum for nursing in BC along with UVIC, Malaspina College, Okanagan College and Camosun College. She is very proud to state that, prior to her retirement, she worked with the UBC School of Nursing to offer the UBC Master in Nursing Program at UCC. This opened the door for nurses in the interior to obtain a Master’s degree in nursing in Kamloops.
Chinnama continued to be involved in nursing education even in her retired life by reviewing degree programs in nursing for the Degree Quality Assessment Board and as a site visitor for CRNBC program reviews.
“It has been an amazing journey. I came to Canada as a young naïve girl and grew up to be a woman and a professional nurse. My education at the UBC School of Nursing paved the way for me to become a leader in nursing and laid the foundation for completion of a PhD in Nursing later in my career. I am truly blessed and thankful for the opportunities I had as a nurse to grow and develop in Canada. As a leader in nursing education I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of nursing faculty who also embraced changes and challenges.”
When Tilly finished high school she began teacher training, but developed an illness before she had time to begin teaching. This resulted in hospitalization for several months followed by several months of recuperation at home. However, she did venture into teaching and taught all subjects to 35 grade three and four students for a year. During this time she made a decision to change her career path to nursing. This was influenced by her experience of illness, or rather, the caring and attention she received from nurses during this time. Her sister was also a nurse and this contributed to her decision as well.
Tilly was born in Newfoundland and completed a three-year Nursing Diploma at St. John’s General Hospital School of Nursing in 1965. She was invited to join the faculty immediately upon graduation. After one year of teaching she chose to obtain a BN with a focus on teaching from Dalhousie University, graduating in 1969. She came to Vancouver in 1971 after teaching at the St John’s General Hospital School of Nursing. Tilly taught Orthopedic Nursing for one year at VGH. She then decided to do an MSN at UBC, focusing on curriculum development under Dr Margaret Campbell’s direction, and graduated in 1974. She returned to VGH after graduation and this coincided with the early implementation of the RNABC School of Nursing approval process. She was asked to take on a brand new position as Curriculum Coordinator with the mandate to lead significant changes in the three-year diploma program – these changes were to begin implementation within three months. This was a significant challenge for her and all the faculty and continued over several years. They were successful from the beginning in obtaining RNABC approval.
Tilly was married in 1974 and she and her husband found time to travel to Europe among her extended hours of work on curriculum development. She began to work on her Master’s Degree in Adult Education in 1977 and completed it in 1982. In the meantime, she accepted a position with VGH in 1980 as the first Director of Nursing Staff Development overseeing CPR education, orientation activities and IV Therapy, to name only three. Later, all Nursing education was centralized under this position. In the early 90’s the position was changed to Director, Corporate Education, and in 1993 when Shaughnessy Hospital closed and UBC merged under VGH ,she became responsible for staff development across campuses. Tilly took on many challenges in her 22 years at VGH with perhaps the most challenging being Acting Vice President for Patient Services for periods in 1992 and 1993.
One of the highlights of her time at VGH was the development, with Marelyn Rugg, CNS, of a Leadership Program for Nurses. Many nurses found this program helpful to their practice. Several nurses from the BC Cancer Agency participated in this program. Tilly and Marelyn also offered this program at other institutions such as Delta Hospital, Riverview Hospital and the hospital in Terrace. Tilly was delighted when a former student in this program approached her during one of her consultation projects and said: “I took your leadership program at VGH and I want you to know it has had a significant impact on my career."
Tilly retired from full time work in 1997, but continues to be active in nursing education and in her community. She has completed projects alone or with other consultants in a wide variety of areas. She and Joan Prociuk (one of her former staff at VGH and a graduate of the UBC MSN program) developed a Framework for Orientation and Continuing Education program for Vancouver Community Health. Tilly was able to modify it for use at Fraser Health Home Health, Health and Welfare Canada (Indian and Inuit Branch) and for Vancouver Addiction Services.
Tilly participates in and provides leadership for several of her church committees. She has recently been able to use her knowledge of developing vision, mission, goals, etc to provide leadership in the development of a Parish Pastoral Council. She also does other volunteer work such as with Variety, the Children’s Charity.
Tilly has received a number of awards during her career. She was the gold medalist in her basic nursing program, received the Lenta G. Hall award at Dalhousie University, the RNABC Award of Excellence in Administration in 1992, The BC Health Educators Association Award of Recognition of Excellence in Health Education in 1993, the UBC SoN Nursing Alumni Recognition Award in 1996, and Honorary Membership in the VHG SoN Alumnae Association in 1997.
It has been an interesting and rewarding career for her. The opportunities to learn were endless. She has made lasting friendships and values their involvement in her life.
Cathie completed her RN at St. Paul’s Hospital School of Nursing in what turned out to be the last nursing class offered there. She was attracted, at an unconscious level, to the regimental lifestyle of an in-hospital training program - to uniforms, schedules, curfews. But more importantly, to an occupation that insisted upon team work and that celebrated and sanctioned compassion. After graduation she applied to UBC’s BSN program for returning RN’s. Cathie wanted to learn – more. Her two years at UBC provided both a solid beginning to her academic studies and the impetus for the pursuit of further scholarly learning.
Cathie had always wanted to be a writer, and even as a young girl loved to play with words. It was not, however, until her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s that she finally put pen to paper. Her mother’s illness and the years spent caring for her stopped her in her “career tracks” and she found herself jotting images and vignettes down. Once she began, Cathie became relentlessly addicted to the deep and therapeutic pleasure in finding just the right words to tell their story. “I had begun to tape our conversations; startled by my mother’s astonishingly beautiful, brilliant and insightful language, I felt a pressing need to see her experience on the page and had a deep feeling that so many other people could benefit from a cultural shift in how we currently think of Alzheimer’s” says Cathie. “My mother’s words allowed a kind of magical realism, a fantastical and reflective reality, turning common, stereotypic medical assumptions on their head.”
Her training and education as a nurse gave Cathie a foundation in compassionate listening, helping her to see the way through her own limited expectations of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and “moving me past the many moments of confusion, anxiety and despair (hers, mine) into the miraculous, eccentric and poetic realities of my mother’s experience” she says.
“My deep desire to care for my mother, as nurse or caregiver and daughter, awakened the writer in me. It became a necessity for me to open a whole new room for her language, her experience, but not without considerable adjustment. Nurses are trained to lead. How was I to reconcile the legitimate leadership-take-charge requirements of many nursing situations with the reality of the needs of someone with dementia? I found an analogy in the art of dance, which I began to learn during my mother’s illness. I learned to stop. Listen. Wait. Follow.”
Cathie’s writing has now been chosen, for the third time, to be shortlisted for the CBC Literary Awards. When asked why she thinks this is, Cathie exclaims, “Oh my, you might have to ask them! Perhaps they are attracted to the lyrical form. Maybe they liked the feeling of astonishment when they read the things my mother said. I am hoping it’s because the judges were attracted to the honesty, and struck by the emotionality and intellectual shifting of how we commonly and in so limited a manner, consider the changing mind of dementia.”
What’s next for Cathie? Well, she’s publishing two books in August, a lyrical memoir and a book of fifty of her mother’s quotations, the latter of which will be developed into an art book – the first of its kind regarding Alzheimer’s. She is thrilled to be in conversation with nursing and aging programs in Canada and the U.S. regarding their interest in course adoption of these works. Her plans also include an audio book, and a stage production based on the memoir. “I will continue to present this story at conferences and programs around the world, honoured to be contributing to the re-culturization of how we reconsider the world of Alzheimer’s” she says.
In March, 2010, Cathie attended a conference in Greece to present on her writing. When asked what else she might add before she prepares for the flight, she responds, “I think my mother said it best":
Cathie: Are you feeling better today, Mum?
Mother: Because it’s all coming in and none going out. I think I’m more concentrated and, sort of. I sort of—am. Yes, love, it’s become part of me. Something has gone, something bad has gone. I think we reached the limit of our soul of misery and we’re now poof, and we’re just doing the best we can. We just do, we just are.
When Val Cartmel (BSN '75) enrolled in her first year of sciences at UBC, she had no idea that she was going to be a nurse. Now, she holds a graduate degree in nursing, is the Regional Leader in Clinical Informatics for Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), and has become the President of the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (CRNBC), the regulatory body for more than 39,000 registered nurses, nurse practitioners and licensed graduate nurses in the province.
The thought of actually being a nurse didn't occur to Val until the summer between her first and second years. After developing appendicitis and having surgery, "it was like a light bulb went off," she said. "I realized 'that's what I want to be. I want to be a nurse!'" Having no nurses among her family or close community, she had toyed with the idea of going into medicine, but decided on nursing when she saw what nurses actually do in the hospital.
Recovery room experience gained through a student clinical placement at Vancouver General Hospital enabled Val to obtain her first nursing position in that context at Lions Gate Hospital, a posting that was almost unheard of for a new graduate at that time. She stayed on for three years before accepting a teaching position with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), which she held for 12 years. However, she missed the hospital setting and in 1989 became a nursing manager on a surgical unit at Lions Gate. Computer integration with nursing practice was just beginning, and Val became involved in a computer implementation project. This ultimately led to her current position of leadership in the area of clinical informatics, which she describes as "making sure that technology supports practice and not the other way around. Technology needs to work for the nurses."
As President of CRNBC, Val has the opportunity to be the eyes and ears of nurses in the province, "to make sure that we have a voice and that people understand what nursing is and what nurses do. This role allows me to go into the nursing community to support nurses in their practice and ensure they meet provincial standards so that the safety of the public is protected."
Marion Clauson (BSN ’71 and MSN ’92) is a Senior Instructor in the School of Nursing. She started graduate school in 1992 at a busy time in her life, when she still had young children at home and was working part time. She met wonderful colleagues while going to school. She remembers a statistics course as being a particular challenge but she survived it!
Marion had already been teaching nursing at Langara College and the VGH School of Nursing for awhile before deciding to go to graduate school. She loved teaching so didn’t know if she wanted a master’s degree in Education or Nursing but decided on nursing eventually and has never regretted that decision.
While completing her MSN she held a position at BC Women’s Hospital as Manager of Nursing and Family Education. This was a new type of nursing leadership position at the time. She held this position for one and one half years, but found that she missed teaching so applied at the VGH/UBC School of Nursing. In 1996 she was hired as a clinical instructor. She is now a tenured Senior Instructor.
What Marion likes best about her work is that she never knows what’s going to happen next. As a teacher she is always dealing with different learners and likes being able to work in both graduate and undergraduate programs. She appreciates the variety and uniqueness of individual students and admires her colleagues, who she says are “great” to work with.
Teaching is always changing and growing. It’s a complex evolving process that Marion enjoys immensely. One of her initiatives in the School, along with that of three colleagues, is “Teaching Commons”. This is an opportunity and space for nurses to talk about teaching and learning and teaching scholarship in a flexible and evolving way. At the time of writing, Marion was going with her colleagues to the WRCASN (Western Region Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing) to present a paper on Teaching Commons focusing on how educators can keep themselves motivated and stimulated, and how they can support others to do the same, through dialogue about scholarly teaching.
Marion is the current holder of the Elizabeth Kenny McCann Scholar Award. As such, she will take leadership in various initiatives to enhance teaching and educational scholarship during a time of curricular and pedagogical transition within the School. “I feel very honoured to accept this role” says Marion, “I love teaching and look forward to using the time the award enables me to provide a level of support to the teaching of my colleagues and the School that I could not otherwise achieve.”
Building on her clear passion for nursing education, Marion sees herself not as the leader of teaching innovation but as having the privilege of being able to facilitate processes through which the collaborative energies of the talented faculty with the School will create advances in educational innovation beyond what would be possible without the additional support. She sees the Scholar Award as an excellent resource to align the opportunity of a new curriculum, scheduled for implementation in the fall of 2009, with a range of pedagogical advances.
Marion lives in North Vancouver with her husband of over 30 years and has two grown children and a dog. She works at maintaining balance in her life by skiing, walking, reading, and practicing pilates and yoga. And she has recently taken up quilting.
Pauline graduated from the 1967 three-year diploma program at the Royal Columbian Hospital School of Nursing. She entered the nursing class with high school friends Jill and Frances and with little idea about the role of the nurse or about the profession of nursing. That year she had been accepted in the Bachelor of Music Program at UBC. With her mother a piano teacher and choir director, Pauline began her musical studies at age four and at 17 received the ARCT Diploma in piano performance. As a junior teacher of music and an accompanist for a dance studio, her school and musical experience had always been the focus. Although committed to music, she was restless, and wanted to do something new, something different. Nursing would indeed prove be different.
The first months were difficult, as academic and musical success did not prepare her for caring for others who were ill and distressed. Nor had it prepared her for the responsibilities of a nurse and health team member. The military approach to clinical education filled her with anxiety and the clinical hours and nights were full of trepidation. It was the inspiration and guidance of nurses and teachers as role models (many of whom were UBC Nursing graduates) that helped her to understand the “patient” experience and provide her with the knowledge and skills to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
As a senior student she truly understood the anxieties of the novice role and the important influence of a knowledgeable and nurturing teacher. She began helping the more junior students and looked forward to her opportunities as a team leader. Teaching came naturally to Pauline; as an eight year old, she had set up a neighborhood kindergarten each morning of the summer holidays and spent the afternoons planning the following day’s activities. So, at an early age Pauline had understood the ratio of preparation to the delivery of learning experiences. To combine the love of nursing with a long time enjoyment of teaching seemed the ultimate career path. With such an uncertain beginning, it was a revelation to her family and friends that she not only received the Nursing Proficiency Award for her class but truly “loved” nursing and applied for further preparation at UBC.
While working as a staff nurse in all areas, and with a particular love for the maternity and pediatric areas, she entered the Post RN Degree Program. UBC broadened her academic base with the stringent requirements of chemistry, microbiology, zoology and literature. Her nursing courses were taught by such memorable leaders as: Alice Baumgart, Beth McCann, Verna Splane, Margaret Street, Maude Dolphin and Dr. Szass. Pauline began to explore nursing as a profession and to understand the quest for the development of nursing knowledge. At graduation, it became clear that the next goal was that of “nursing masters” preparation.
For a few years, Pauline taught both maternity and pediatric nursing at the RCH School of Nursing followed by a new adventure as a PHN in the community of Port Coquitlam. Her public health teaching and BSN placement at the Victoria Drive Health Unit had given her the tools and experience to provide preventive care, home care and long-term care to clients and families in her assigned district. Many of her colleagues were UBC graduates and she believes they gave an outstanding level of care to that community.
Pauline entered the MSN program as one of four students. It was here that she had the teaching and influence of wise, creative faculty like Margaret Campbell, Rose Murikami, and Joan Anderson, all of whom inspired academic and clinical excellence. The thesis route prepared her for a commitment to nursing research and introduced her to qualitative methodology. Todd Rogers made statistics fascinating and fun. Academic study with three unique and brilliant classmates, one of whom was Sally Thorne, was a major growth experience. It was the beginning of lifelong friendships and collegial relationships with dedicated nurses who continue to provide leadership and make significant contributions to nursing as a profession.
Following her community work and during graduate studies, Pauline returned to clinical and classroom teaching at Douglas College where a new two-year diploma program replaced the three-year training school. Here, her experiences were valued and the pursuit of master’s preparation supported. She joined an enthusiastic faculty and thanks to the leadership of Mary Fewster and Joy Page (both UBC MSN graduates) Pauline had many and varied opportunities in nursing education. She taught in all aspects of the program and was involved in program and curriculum development, change and research. For nine years she served in a coordinator role to support students and faculty, and as well, participated in several program and college committees. Upon request, her last years before retirement were spent in clinical teaching of maternal/newborn nursing where she had the challenges and rewards associated with students and the opportunity to participate in the clinical changes associated with family-centered care. At retirement, her colleagues were responsible for her receipt of an RNABC Award of Excellence in Nursing Education and Douglas College honoured her with the status of Faculty Emeritus.
Today you will still see Pauline in the halls of the Health Sciences Centre at Douglas College interacting with students, mentoring new faculty and supporting inevitable ongoing change. There are many proud moments as she follows her previous students who now fulfill leadership roles in nursing and some, returning to Douglas as new faculty members. She is thrilled with the talents, enthusiasm and potential of nursing students and with the privilege of meeting and mentoring new nursing faculty.
Does she wish that she had pursued a musical career? Her answer is “no”. Thanks to her UBC preparation and her opportunities at Douglas College, nursing is and continues to be a passion. She does however, co-ordinate and participate in The Bruce Vogt Piano Master Classes each year. She shares a home in Surrey with friend Brenda, a large garden, a large music collection and two beautiful Irish Wolfhounds, Nikki & Noah.
Cathy began her BSN in 1970 when it was a five-year program. “We were idealistic “A” students when we began our education, we thought to ourselves that we were not going to ‘burn out’ like the RNs (“D” students) who came back to school. We liked having classes with the “D” students because they were so real and they tolerated us because we were so idealistic”. One person who stood out for Cathy when she was a student was Beth McCann, Acting Director at the time. She had an enthusiasm for life and nursing that Cathy found infectious, “she was a role model for me, a bit crazy, leading the bunny hopping through the pit the year we graduated; however, she also had a grace, sophistication and a calmness that was intriguing”.
After she graduated, the first position that came up was in maternity at St Paul’s Hospital where the Director of Nursing, Bernie Ratsoy, interviewed and hired her. This began her 30 year career with childbearing families. She began her master’s degree in 1993 and wrote her thesis on the relation of high risk pregnancies to postpartum concerns. It was interesting to find that after coming through a high risk pregnancy successfully and having a healthy baby any postpartum issues “paled in comparison”.
Cathy began teaching in the SoN in 1991 with the collaboration of the UBC and VGH programs. Once at UBC, Cathy began to really enjoy working here. It was an exciting time of growth, and furthermore she states, “you can never have as great mentors as Elaine Carty, followed by Marion Clauson, and then Wendy Hall. It was a great team that offered me so many opportunities to grow; I knew then that I wanted to stay at UBC and teach”.
Cathy enjoys teaching and continues to learn. She finds that students are truly wonderful, thoughtful and engaging. “It’s important to find ways to foster and support their learning” she says, “because given the support, students excel!”
In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Cathy sees herself as a Social Convener for the School. She feels it is very important to build connections among the members of the School community, to acknowledge everyone’s contributions and to have fun. So, she is often the catalyst for collective birthday celebrations, social gatherings and Random Acts of Kindness days. Cathy also has taken an active role in Alumni affairs and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal nursing group. As the new Admissions Advisor, she is also fortunate to be able to support the next generation of nurses.
All of her work keeps Cathy very busy but there is “no part I would give up” she says.
Outside of work, Cathy loves to get together with friends and family and she visits her mother regularly. She is married and has two grown children, belongs to a women’s group and quilts. She likes walking on the beach.
Judi began her professional journey by practicing a more reactive, “crisis-management” form of healthcare as an ICU nurse in Calgary, and later in India at a village clinic and Tibetan refugee camps. When she and her husband decided to move to Vancouver, she enrolled in UBC’s BSN program because she wanted to supplement her international experience with a comprehensive nursing degree that included public health and education. UBC Nursing provided her with exactly what she was looking for – a more holistic perspective on public health.
“At first, I thought that public health nursing might actually be a bit boring, given that I had worked in fast-paced and dramatic ICU wards and refugee camps,” says Judi. “However, one of my professors completely changed my outlook by sending me into the community to interview people and search for disease markers. Through this, I realized how exciting it could be to go upstream from intervention and look at prevention as a vital aspect of public hhttp://bit.ly/1ziE1o2ealth.”
After graduating from UBC in 1972, Judi worked as a nurse in a Taiwanese school clinic, where she witnessed firsthand several health issues pervasive among the youth there, including child abuse. These experiences, along with her UBC education, helped her to realize the concept that would shape the rest of her career, and that would have a positive impact on literally millions of people around the world: violence and abuse represent a critical public health issue that is best confronted by encouraging social change through a proactive, preventative and educational approach.
Today, Judi is National Director for the Canadian Red Cross’s RespectED: Violence and Abuse Prevention program, which spans across Canada and internationally in 28 other countries. To date, RespectED has fostered partnerships with community-based organizations, volunteers and grass roots programs around the world, educating roughly 6.5 million children, youth and adults about the realities of violence and abuse and empowering them to stop it.
Through RespectED, Judi has integrated violence prevention education into several facets of Canadian society. The program has worked heavily with the education system, training over 4,200 youth facilitators who run workshops and build campaigns in their schools. RespectED has also engaged with First Nations communities to mitigate abuse, and has worked with Hockey Canada, where it is now mandatory for all hockey coaches to enter into its educational programs.
Some of Judi’s most rewarding experiences have come from her international work with RespectED. She recently travelled to Myanmar where she educated about 30 local individuals in violence prevention, who then worked with villagers in remote rural communities. “It was so inspiring to watch lights going on in people’s eyes as they began to understand the issue [of violence] and that they have the power to stop it,” she remembers. In 2013, RespectED visited a Muslim school for teenage girls, where Judi taught the students that they have the same rights as men and that they have the choice not to enter into child marriages. “Many of these girls used to leave school by grade seven to enter into marriages, but most are now staying until grade 12,” Judi proclaims. “It is very inspiring to witness this sort of positive impact of the program on a societal level.”
Judi attributes much of her professional success to her nursing education and experience. “Nursing helped me to realize that violence is a public health issue, and it gave me the all-around perspective, and the skills and knowledge necessary to set up systems to manage this issue, and to handle crises,” she says.
These skills are particularly important to Judi’s latest major initiative – facilitating an international disaster response school. RespectED is working to integrate violence prevention theories and practices into the standard operating procedures of disaster response groups around the world. By educating first responders, Judi hopes to equip them to handle and mitigate the violence and abuse that is typically inherent in disaster situations.
Through all of her adventures and successes, Judi has not forgotten the importance of her nursing education. “I am pleased and proud to be a UBC Nursing alumna,” she declares, “and I would encourage current and future nursing students to be fully aware of the incredible breadth of the spectrum of opportunities that nursing opens to you.”
For more information about the RespectED program, including how to get involved, please visit: www.redcross.ca/respectED.
From the age of five Ann knew she wanted to be a nurse. She remembers loving being in the infirmary at summer camp, cleaning up and wanting to help look after the patients there. Several years later, Ann was one of the first six students enrolled in the master’s program at the SoN in 1968, and one of three who graduated in 1970. She was the only student who chose the administration stream. She recalled meeting, as “a lonely little petunia”, every Monday afternoon for three hours with two senior professors, Margaret Street and Maude Dolphin. She also recalled studying statistics in the time before calculators were widely used and accepted. “That was torture. We would sit on the phone at night and compare our additions and divisions.” She remembers telling Miss Street: “You do realize that if you don’t pass me in this course, you are going to have a 100% failure rate in the first MSN course in nursing administration!” She found the nursing faculty harder on the first class of students than probably was necessary or fair. “It was almost like, because it was women, because it was nursing, and because it was new, we had to be twice as good and go through twice as many hoops as almost any other graduate program on campus.”
After obtaining her MSN, Ann worked for two years at VGH as the Executive Assistant to Mary Richmond, the Director of Nursing there at the time. From 1972 to 1976 she was the Director of Nursing at a Health Unit in Toronto and in 1976 was lured back to Vancouver for two years as the Executive Assistant Director of the RNABC. For the next ten years she worked as a public health administrator in Vancouver and finally, worked as a nurse consultant for five years before falling in love and getting married. Ann moved to London, Ontario in 1993 and continues to live there with her husband Bill. Their two daughters live in Korea and Vancouver.
Ann is very involved in her local community, volunteering in several non-profit agencies including the London Community Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Society and the YMCA. She was a member of the Board of St. Joseph’s Health Care London for seven years, including acting as the Board Chair.
In her spare time she plays bridge and golf, (sort of!), and she and Bill have had great vacations in several different parts of the world. However it is fair to say that Vancouver has a special place in her heart!
Carol Jillings (MSN ’77) is an Associate Professor with the School of Nursing. She moved to Canada from California in 1975. In the dead of winter, she and her husband, a native Vancouverite, moved to Revelstoke, BC. Carol had never lived in a snowy place before and they both decided they needed to move to Vancouver where she began her MSN. She knew she wanted to be a teacher. So, as a relatively new graduate of her BSN from the University of San Francisco, she began her life as a student at UBC.
Carol says she felt privileged to have studied under the guidance of three key individuals at the School of Nursing who provided her with a solid foundation in nursing education and curriculum development. The first was Margaret Campbell who was a wonderful person, a fabulous educator and one of the legendary creators of the UBC Model for Nursing. (Although the Model was much criticized by some, it was a substantive piece of theoretical work that was ahead of its time. It utilized a systems approach in developing a thorough model of nursing. Its continued strength according to Carol, is that it articulated the entire scope of nursing practice, including health promotion, illness prevention, teaching and support). Margaret Campbell encouraged Carol to be active in the Graduate Curriculum Committee and led to her later becoming the Graduate Advisor.
The second key person was Rose Murakami, a co-creator of the Model of Nursing. She is now retired and living on Salt Spring Island. Rose was one of Carol’s first teachers. She was a brilliant woman who was instrumental in helping Carol develop her thinking about clinical practice. She encouraged Carol in her thesis work and was supportive of her qualitative research, which was rather unique at the time. Carol worked with these two educators on the Model Committee and while some might have thought about the work involved on that committee as “less than fun”, Carol learned much about the process of theory development and how nursing knowledge is constructed. As a young academic, that experience was invaluable.
The third key person in Carol’s education was Verna Splane who taught a master’s course on the History of Nursing. She was a former Chief Nursing Officer in the federal government and helped Carol understand the importance of health policy and how, as leaders and developers nurses could influence it. It was another way for nurses to have an impact on health. Carol has served as a volunteer director for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, provincially and federally. She says she has never stopped applying what she learned from Verna Splane to that work, always remembering to ask “what is the nature of an issue, how do we dissect it and understand it?” It was a cutting edge course.
Carol started teaching in the School in 1977 after completing her MSN. She is an Associate Professor and loves her work because it is constantly changing from year to year, because she is given wide latitude in the pursuit of her goals and because she can apply her nursing skills to advocacy and policy work. Particularly her work with the Heart and Stroke Foundation allows her to collaborate on decisions about the use of research funds and to advocate for better education, care and services for people with cardiovascular challenges.
In 1992 she completed her PhD at Union University, a distance learning university that offered the flexibility she needed to undertake doctoral work while raising two small children. Again Carol had the opportunity to do something unique in her work- utilizing Participant Action Research (PAR) methodology in her research on chronic cardiac illness and doing health policy- focused work.
Because of her exposure to these three women early in her career, Carol feels he had the best possible foundation as an educator. She was always encouraged to try new things, to “push the envelope” as her mentors had done, to fine-tune her skills and apply them in new ways. Her education gave her the foundation to be a leader in any context.
In 1994, she was Acting Director of the School for six months.
Carol lives with her husband (a banker) in the home they have lived in since purchasing it in 1977. Their two children live in Vancouver and Kelowna and she is the very proud grandmother of her granddaughter, Kylie, who is currently four months old.
Pauline Lee was born in Hong Kong in 1934. During WWII, her father became ill and passed away. As her mother had to work to support the family, Pauline was left to look after her two younger sisters and little brother. She was nine then, and remembers having to stand on a stool to wash the dishes. After the war, Pauline was sent to a Catholic school where she learned the value of compassionate and loving care. Influenced by these experiences and a desire to provide compassionate care to others, Pauline decided to become a nurse. She began her nursing career in Hong Kong, obtaining an RN and becoming a registered midwife at the Hong Kong Government General Hospital.
In 1962, Pauline moved to Vancouver. She started working in acute care nursing almost as soon as she arrived at VGH and continued for some six years. Pauline attended UBC and was a diploma graduate in Public Health Nursing in 1970. She then worked for the VON (Victorian Order of Nurses) in home care nursing for six years and loved it. "But it was not easy working full-time and being a mother of a young boy and there was no such thing as part-time", Pauline remembers.
In 1976, Pauline was transferred to the Vancouver Health Department as a community health nurse. She later served as a continuing care hospital liaison nurse for 21 years, working at various institutions: Shaughnessy Hospital, St Vincent's Hospital, G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre, BC Women's Hospital, with the last four years at Mount Saint Joseph and Holy Family Hospitals. As a hospital liaison, Pauline coordinated discharge planning and follow-up care from hospitals, providing a link between acute care and the community. With her ability to speak Chinese, mostly Cantonese and some Mandarin, she was a true resource to the Chinese community to help raise public health awareness in the community. After 28 years of service with the VHD and Vancouver Health Board, Pauline retired, in part due to a recurrent herniated disc.
Pauline has been engaged in ongoing learning throughout her career and has an active community life as well. She has always wanted to make a contribution to the community at large and to that end, she has volunteered much of her time to various public health initiatives such as Seniors Health and Wellness Promotion and Illness Prevention. From 1995 to 2002, she also served as a seniors' advisor on the Community Health Board and as a member of the Community Health Advisory Committee and the BC Cancer Agency Board. She is a lifetime member of SUCCESS and has shared her health and organizational expertise at the organization's health fairs and in social service programs.
Pauline continues to be active, wanting to do "meaningful and positive things in her life". She sings with the Vancouver Chinese Choir and has done so for 20 years. The Choir's mission is to contribute to the Canadian multicultural mosaic. They do this by performing at care homes, hospitals and community cultural events and at fundraising concerts for the BC Cancer Society, Children's Hospital, for flood and earthquake relief and other charities. Pauline has one son, a lovely daughter-in-law and three wonderful grandchildren. She has been the primary caregiver to her husband for the past two years. She also swims everyday and remains physically and intellectual active.
Pauline is "extremely honoured" to be an alumnus of the School of Nursing, "UBC gave me a new beginning when I came to Canada. I loved my nursing career and I feel that I have a lucky star. I've been blessed for all I have done and I am truly appreciative of my life in Vancouver."
Dr. Beverley O’Brien, PhD, RN, RM (inactive) is a Canadian leader in maternal/ newborn heath. Following graduation with her BSN in 1972, Bev was a public health nurse in Burnaby for 8 years, then attended grad school in California (MS, California State University at Long Beach 1982). Following various practice leadership experiences in northern nursing stations she was the first Director of the Indigenous People’s Access Program to Nursing in Saskatoon (1985-87), a program to develop a culturally appropriate program to prepare aboriginal students across Canada to access baccalaureate nursing programs. She earned her PhD at Rush University in Chicago in 1990. Along the way, she had also obtained certification as a family nurse practitioner (NP) and certified nurse midwife (CNM). She returned to Canada to take up a position on the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta and a postdoctoral fellowship with the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Nursing Research and take up a position on the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta. She applied for midwifery registration (RM) in Alberta and ultimately, after a Clinical Fellowship in midwifery at Holy Family Birth Centre in Weslaco, Texas, she was among the few nurses in Canada to be funded with a highly competitive career scholar award under the Medical Research Council/National Health Research Development Program from 1996-2000.
Over a long and prolific scholarly career, she has developed a world class program of research to support pregnant women experiencing challenges to their health and safety, including severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and to examine disparities in maternal health. Her work has been widely cited and taken up across the globe, including North America, Europe and Eurasia. Her paper on the experience of women hospitalized with severe symptoms was among the most cited papers in Nursing Research – the leading scholarly nursing journal, and was cited in US Congressional Briefings on this topic in 2004. She was also quoted many times in the public press, including CBC and Flare magazine.
Another scholarly contribution O’Brien made over her career was a series of evaluation studies on the integration of midwifery services in Alberta. Using provincial records, a cost analysis and impact measures of midwifery care on material/newborn outcomes, she was able to inform the integration not only of midwifery but also of other professionals, and a report on her work was tabled in the provincial legislature in 2005. As part of her scholarly work, she was involved in mentoring and training nurse/midwifery graduate students and postdoctoral fellows nationally and internationally. In addition, she provided expert consultation to a number of universities worldwide, including Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima (2002), Queens University, Belfast (2007), University of Ghana (2006), and Nunavut Arctic College (2007-2009).
Another facet of her provincial work over the years was a study of maternal experiences of recent newcomers (both immigrants and refugees) to Alberta. She also studied the caring and birthing experiences of Traditional Inuit Midwives, a project that has informed not only the Nunavut Arctic College curriculum, but also has been included in the University of Alberta Museum Collections for the 50th Anniversary of the Canadian Circumpolar Institute (05/10 to 15/11/2010), and in the publication of the book Birth on the Land; Memories of Inuit Elders & Traditional Midwives, which was tabled in the Nunavut legislature in 2013. Nationally, she played an active role in “What Mothers Say: Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey”, nationally conducted for the Public Health Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada on maternal experiences in Canada. She was also a contributor to the Canadian Perinatal Health Report (2008).
Now retired from the University of Alberta Faculty of Nursing as a Professor Emerita, she continues to support graduate students and engage in scholarly activities in her field. And having felt the support of so many over the course of her career, she is also giving back to her Alma Mater by supporting the next generation of graduate students with a passion for strengthening the recipients of perinatal care. She has generously made possible a new award for UBC students pursuing research into woman-centred holistic and physiologic maternity care. Further information is available at: https://www.grad.ubc.ca/awards/strengthening-mothers-through-perinatal-r...
It is the accomplishments between the lines in her resume that make Jan Radford’s professional life so intriguing.
Jan Radford, Regional Director, Child and Youth Services has held various directorships with Fraser Health Authority since 2001. Before taking her current position in 2010, she was Director, Acute Services, Fraser Health Authority (FHA) responsible for the Family Birthing Unit, a 20 bed Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Child and Youth Services, Rehabilitation Services and Volunteer Services at Surrey Memorial Hospital.
Prior to joining the FHA in 2001, she spent eleven years at the Sunny Hill site of Children’s and Women’s Health Centre in Vancouver as Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, Department Head and Acting Site Manager.
Currently Jan is a member of The Children’s Foundation Board of Directors in the Lower Mainland and Adjunct Faculty at UBC School of Nursing. In the early 1980s Jan was an instructor in Pediatrics at Douglas College School of Nursing in New Westminster. She has worked at Burnaby Hospital, UBC Extended Care Unit, St Mary’s Hospital in New Westminster, and Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and the Flying Doctors Service in Queensland, Australia.
Highlights in her career include initiating discussions and planning for a separate pediatric emergency department to be built at Surrey Memorial Hospital in 2013; she also provided vision within Fraser Health Authority to plan the Maxxine Wright Community Health Centre for substance using pregnant women and their children in North Surrey (Whalley). She collaborated with community partners MCFD and Atira Women’s Resource Society to prepare and jointly fund this initiative. Maxxine Wright Community Health Centre opened in 2005.
One of the most satisfying periods in her career was the six years she spent working in the Downtown East Side with children and women at risk. Jan received an RNABC Award of Excellence in Clinical Practice for this work in 1999.
In 2006, Jan co-chaired the Fraser Health Acute Care Capacity Initiative (Child & Youth Team) which developed a five-year plan for acute pediatric services within the region (pediatric surgery, pediatric medicine, child and youth mental health).
She provided leadership to develop and implement a regional framework for Early Childhood Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Children and Families Development (MCFD) Fraser Region. This led to the joint funding of the Office of Early Childhood Education, Learning and Care with Surrey School District, Fraser Health (Surrey Health Services) and MCFD (Surrey).
Since 2003, she has been co-chair of the Fraser Health Child & Youth Clinical Services Planning and Delivery Team and led regional activities in preparation for CCHSA Accreditation of Fraser Health Child and Youth services (acute and community).
In the mid-nineties, Jan produced several research papers with UBC School of Nursing Director, Dr. Sally Thorne regarding long term gastrostomies in children.
Jan has been a speaker at several international nursing conferences. She volunteers as an instructor for the Adoptive Families Association. Her passion is preventing prenatal drug and alcohol exposure as well as helping potential foster and adoptive parents understand the implications of raising children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
She has been a visionary from the start of her career. After graduating as a Registered Nurse in 1973 (Royal Columbian Hospital School of Nursing), she could see a need for affordable housing and was part of a group that planned and built Eight Oaks Housing Co-op, with its Little Acorn Day Care Centre that still flourishes today.
Jan and her partner Lindsey adopted twin infant girls from Romania, now grown, and recently adopted two (pre-school) siblings locally. Her family has appeared in the video, Open Adoption, produced by the Adoptive Families Association. Their home is designated as a specialized foster home and they have cared for many infants and toddlers with special needs over the past decade.
The family has travelled across Canada and the US, as well as to Romania, Britain and Turkey, and have climbed Macchu Pichu. Each day Jan walks Katie, her West Highland White terrier and practices the accordion.
Coworkers say Jan has a great sense of humour, except when it comes to accordion jokes.
Submitted by Paula Stromberg
When Donna Rodman enrolled at UBC in general arts, women either went into teaching, secretarial work, or nursing. Donna was interested in archaeology and nursing and her parents steered her decision saying “you can go anywhere with nursing.” She has always been known as compassionate, sensitive and caring; therefore, helping people, the chance to employ her analytical gifts, getting immersed and taking action contributed to her decision to choose nursing. She spent two years in the RN diploma program at UBC before graduating in 1978.
Donna recalls many anecdotes from her student days, but one experience that comes readily to mind was in critical care at B.C. Women's Hospital & Health Centre, a patient arrived in labour with no doctor, no husband, and no English! Although Donna had just finished her rotation, no one was on shift who could communicate with the client. Being able to speak Spanish, she asked permission to stay so that she could help with the labour. She persuaded her instructors saying, “She will understand me when I tell her to push!” It was difficult, because she was acting unsupervised by UBC instructors, but she maintains that it was a good thing to do, and the right thing to do in that situation. “I’ve often been a maverick” says Donna, “taking the different path to find the best solution.”
Two other situations she recalls are from her rotations at St. Paul’s Hospital. One was when two young adults had locked braces while kissing. They came into the hospital still attached! Another involved a man who had gotten stuck to the toilet seat when going to the washroom. He was brought in by paramedics, toilet seat and all. “Everyone was laughing” she said, “we couldn’t help it, yet we still had to be sensitive to the stress and embarrassment of the situation. The patient responded, ‘I know it’s funny, and I’m sure I’ll be able to laugh about it later!’” And with that we all chuckled and worked to find the right tools from maintenance to remove the toilet seat.
“I loved my program!” asserts Donna, “It was hard work and challenging.” She graduated, got married immediately after writing her RN exams, and moved to Alberta, where she practiced for four and a half years in ICU and general floor duties in a small hospital.
Through her work in nursing she began to find she had other abilities and ideas for the improvement of physical space. For example, says Donna (who is 4’11” tall) “I would have to climb up on the beds to hang the IV bags or I would be in a supply room reaching all the time. I found that my built environment didn’t help me in my profession, but rather it was challenged by my profession.” Donna began an exploration of how the hospital environment was constructed, and envisioned using her mathematical, analytical and artistic skills to develop alternatives. Looking at the dynamics of healing, nursing and hospital environments, she realized that nursing care could be helped by having access to outdoor spaces and plants (i.e. horticultural therapy).
Donna never really left work at work, and was letting the job take over her life and her dreams. Her family life had been disrupted and she consequently returned to Vancouver in 1983, resumed her nursing at UBC and VGH working as a general rotation nurse and in psychogeriatrics for approximately two and a half years. In 1985, she went to Bangladesh to visit with her father (a civil engineer) and mother. They urged her to go back to Canada, return to school and pursue her passion for design.
She had enrolled in Urban Geography at UBC, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1984. Donna began volunteering for organizations working with people with disabilities, finding that she had a gift for looking through hospital and building designs, and would work with architects to upgrade buildings to meet standards. Because of her nursing experience and education, Donna could think of the human response to design in a functional way: the building needs to be accessible; people friendly with access to green spaces; must improve the quality of life of both the patient and health care professional. “I know how buildings work for people” says Donna, “I wanted to have input into the design professions.” So she went to BCIT to get drafting skills and building design experience, attending classes at night and working for architects during the day. She completed a Certificate in Technology – Building in 1993.
In 1994 Donna approached the UBC School of Architecture with her portfolio – which included the design of natural systems – and they suggested that her skills would be better applied in the School of Landscape Architecture. She was accepted into the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the Master program in Landscape Architecture. “I loved every step of the way!” says Donna. “I’ve been able to maintain a focus on people, designing for people and caring about people.” She did extensive research on color and textures, universal design, environmental psychology, landscape design, crime prevention through environmental design, and environmental design (designing with nature and natural systems) graduating with her Masters of Landscape Architecture in 1999.
After graduating, she developed an interest in institutional confinement: what plant material could assist with quality of life during long terms of confinement in a hospital, or better yet, in outer space? She got involved in neurophysiological research and wrote papers on the neuropsychophysiology of color, shape and texture and the connection between the built environment and mind. And all of this research she did on her own with no funding! This work brought Donna in contact with NASA, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Life Sciences Technical Committee and later to the 2005 International Conference on Environmental Systems in Rome, Italy with her paper, The Benefits of Using Aromatics in Space. She has also chaired the Life Sciences and Technical Committee for the AIAA.
Today, Donna is the president and founding principal of Our Designs Inc., a multidisciplinary design company which specializes in Universal Design and Human Factors research to provide aesthetically pleasing, creative, and healing designs appealing to a wide consumer group, and with her experience and education in landscape architecture, the company offers landscape design services that include: environmental design for riparian and bioregenerative habitats; landscape design for developers of multi-family residential town homes; and landscape design for commercial and industrial properties, institutional facilities including healthcare and campus facilities.
“In any career, you can go as far and as high as you can when you want to achieve and make that difference!” says Donna. “Nursing taught me how to delegate, lead, give and sacrifice. The parts of you that make up the nurse carry through everything you do – mother, wife, volunteer, intern landscape architect- it never leaves you, no matter where your life might lead.” “The human body and nature are parallel to each other” she says, “healing the human body and healing landscapes are intertwined. Taking those attributes, talents, and passion and putting them into a profession, that’s Landscape Architecture!”
Paula Tognazzini (BSN ’77, MSN ’83) was born in Tuscany in a little village about two hours north of Florence. She was 11 when her parents immigrated to Calgary, Alberta. She graduated from high school in 1966 and began her RN education that year at the Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary. After graduating in 1969 she worked in Edmonton and Toronto before coming to Vancouver in 1971.She started working at the UBC Psychiatric Hospital until 1975 when she enrolled in the post RN BSN program at the UBC School of Nursing. After graduating in 1977 she started working at the West End Mental Health Team as a community mental health nurse. She began working on her master’s degree at the UBC School of Nursing part-time and completed her degree in 1983.
Paula is a Senior Instructor in the School and specializes in mental health, community health and family nursing. She is passionate about nursing; she knows that nurses make a big difference in people’s lives at a time when they are most vulnerable. She enjoys working with students and believes in creating supportive learning environments. Mental Health Promotion is of particular interest to Paula. She is a member of the Canadian Mental Health Association steering committee for the “Beyond the Blues” campaign for depression education and screening that happens throughout B.C. every October.
Paula was awarded a Teaching Scholarship Project Support Award in 2008 that allowed her to initiate a mental health promotion project that she hopes one day will be completely run by nursing students. The project, called “Are You Going Bananas?” promotes mental health education at UBC university residences, secondary schools and health fairs. The feedback from students indicates that they find it a valuable experience that allows them to collaborate with the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Wellness Centre and other resources in the community. The value of the project is that it also informs and reduces the stigma associated with mental illness.
Paula is on sabbatical from September 2008 to September 2009. She and Dr. Anne Dewar are involved in research on the Management of Acute and Chronic Pain in Home Care Settings. She is learning about pain, pain management and about the experiences and challenges home care nurses face when caring for their patients.
Paula enjoys gardening, loving to “have her hands in the dirt”, as well as hiking and kayaking. And she loves finding out about people’s lives. She has two grown children, and ten and 11 year old cats who are mother and daughter.
1980s Amazing Alumni Stories
After graduating in 1968 from a diploma program in Victoria, BC, Carol Bassingthwaighte worked for 15 years as a pediatric nurse in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. During these years she became increasingly disturbed by the anxiety children experienced during hospitalization. Although there was a growing awareness of the importance of including parents in the care of their hospitalized children, this wasn’t always implemented in practice. Recognizing that she would need more knowledge if she were to facilitate change, she returned to school at UBC to obtain her BSN (1987) and MSN (1996).
“It was exciting coming back to school,” says Carol. She found the faculty welcoming and appreciated that they recognized the knowledge that post-diploma students already had. One professor in particular stood out because she encouraged students to remember to take time for themselves; to actually schedule into their calendars time to care for themselves as students, spouses and parents.
In 1990 Carol began working for a new provincial program that provided supports for children who had medically-complex conditions and wanted to move from hospital to home. This work fit exactly with her desire to decrease the anxiety of children. She remembers the first time she visited a three-year old child in his home; he lay on the living room sofa, playing with his rambunctious brothers, while his naso-gastric tube feeding infused. He was receiving the care he required, but was surrounded by familiar people and belongings, and completely at ease.
After receiving her MSN Carol worked as a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist in the community. Then, in 2003 she began teaching in the UBC School of Nursing. She considers it a privilege to work with the bright young women and men who enter nursing today. She loves the excitement they bring, their passion for nursing and the opportunity for her to pass along her own passion for it. “What I hope to do is inspire a love of nursing, while acknowledging the skills and knowledge each student brings with them. I want to support them in their growth toward becoming nursing professionals.”
Carol has two grown children who, after a number of years travelling the world, have returned to Vancouver. She also has a beautiful granddaughter of four and one half years who she sees as often as possible. It is a special joy to have her family around her. “When I spend time with my family, I can just feel the stress and tension fall away, especially when I’m with my granddaughter.”
A force to be reckoned with at all stages of her life, Carmel was born in 1933 and grew up with the animals in the wide open spaces of Larras Lee Station in New South Wales, Australia. After training as a nurse in Sydney, she headed out to see the rest of the world, nursing in places such as Papua New Guinea. A Canadian since 1960, she entered UBC as a post-RN and obtained her BSN in 1982, later also acquiring an MA in Adult Education from UBC. Among her many professional positions, she taught at the UBC School of Nursing for several years in the 1990s. Her faculty colleagues and students remember her intensity, creativity, and unabashed passion for a lively – even fierce - debate. Carmel was a woman of ideas and opinions, an adventurer, and a champion for underdogs both literal and figurative.
Kris received her BSN from UBC in 1986 and her MSN in 2001. Enrolling in the nursing program enabled Kris to “bridge her two callings”, that of a love of business and management, systems and processes and her desires to relate to others with care and compassion. Kris found that her education was “such a great foundation to the rest of [her] career and life.” To illustrate, Kris says that assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating – all activities she learned and honed in the SoN – are processes she has used in every single aspect of her life. “These are steps you use whether you are helping a child or buying a house.”
Kris says she had outstanding role models while she was a student and notes that those role models were at the front and centre of everything going on at the school – and still are. She named Sally Thorne and Carol Jillings in particular. What she learned from them as models, “is that what you want to do is completely doable”, even if looks like it isn’t. For example, Kris worked full-time while raising her children, who appreciate, understand, and support her and her nursing career. She did with her family what she saw modeled by her mentors. “What goes around comes around,” Kris says.
Kris was an active student while at UBC, involved in the Nursing Undergraduate Society (NUS) as the sports representative from 1984-5 and president from 1985-6. She was one of the pranksters who painted a bright blue “N” on the Engineering cairn!
Her career illustrates how she has managed to combine her clinical and management skills. Currently she is employed by the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) as the Corporate Director, Accreditation and Patient Experience. She is responsible for supporting activities related to quality, safety and accreditation at the PHSA operated agencies including: BC Children's Hospital & Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, BC Women's Hospital and Health Centre, BC Transplant, BC Provincial Renal Agency, BC Mental Health and Addiction Services, BC Cancer Agency and BC Centre for Disease Control. She is an Accreditation Canada surveyor as well as adjunct faculty for the UBC School of Nursing. Before her current position, Kris was Program Director for BC Children’s Hospital’s partnership program at the Children’s Centre at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital, Head Nurse of Pediatrics at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital, and a nurse with various responsibilities at Shaughnessy and BC Children’s Hospitals. Clearly, Kris has taken positions with increasing responsibility as her career has progressed, always focusing on the needs of the patient, program development, operations and strategic planning.
Kris has been very active in the College of Registered Nurses. She carries out site reviews of nursing schools, helping them comply with the expectations of the College. She won an Award of Excellence in Administration in 2003 in recognition of her efforts. Kris is past president of the UBC Nursing Alumni Association and Registered Nurses Foundation of BC.
Kris was nominated for the Woman of Distinction Award in Health and Wellness in 2002 and in 2008, was a selected member of the 7th Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference. She has received the Ted Freedman Award for Innovation in Education, Best International Presentation from the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) and many other awards.
Kris is married and has three sons aged nine, 15 and 18. She is active in many community organizations and supports her children in their community involvement as well. Kris is on the Board of Little Mountain Baseball Little League as Challenger Divison Coordinator. She and her family have been active participants in helping special needs children play baseball. She is thrilled to announce that on May 7th of this year the LMB Challenger Volunteers won the special City of Vancouver Youth Award for promoting community engagement and active living through recreational, fitness and sport-related activities.
When asked what she is most proud of in her career, Kris says she is most proud of her three boys, who are now modeling what she has done and what she saw modeled for her – being involved in the community and doing many things that look like they cannot be done. And now, her children are being recognized for their community service.
She is also proud “of having and seizing opportunities that nursing has offered her.” Kris says that recognizing the work that people do in their communities or in their professions is vitally important because when one is recognized for the work one does, “it propels you on; I feel lifted up, I want to do more and better.”
Martha Mackay is originally from Toronto, which is where her passion for nursing arose. Like many before her, the road to nursing began as a patient. As a teenager, she developed appendicitis, and become quite sick after her operation. She was taken aback by the nurses and the scope of nursing care. “It blew me away how important they were” she says.
In Toronto, Martha completed her basic nurse training (which in those days was a diploma) at George Brown College in 1978. “It’s been a steady path toward more advanced education” she says, referring to the fact that since then, she hasn’t gone more than eight consecutive years without returning to school.
Throughout her master’s degree, she was keen to improve her research skills and during that time began collaborating with several UBC School of Nursing faculty members on research projects related to cardiac patients and behaviour change. “It was very rewarding” she says, “and I occasionally applied for funding to do small-scale studies on my own, but was never successful because I didn’t have a PhD.”
This passion for research is what eventually led Martha back to UBC to complete her PhD. However, while her desire to be an independent researcher has played an important role in her career choices, she also acknowledges a commitment to clinical work and aims to combine the two. “I think that combination is important, but not common in nursing. It has the potential to make the research more relevant and allow a quicker transition into clinical practice.” She hopes to create a balance of time with 70% devoted to research and 30% devoted to clinical practice at St. Paul’s Hospital, where she works in the Heart Centre.
For her dissertation research Martha looked at sex differences in symptoms of myocardial ischemia. The study was presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Conference in 2009, which Martha describes as “the ‘big’ cardiac meeting in Canada”, and profiled by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. As a co-sponsor of the conference, Heart and Stroke chooses several of the abstracts that they think will be of public interest and creates press releases based on their content. “The picked ours up and did a press release” says Martha. “And it just caught fire!”
She attributes the large scope of attention in part to the internet and syndicated press services. Canwest (now Postmedia Network Inc.), one of Canada's largest international media companies picked up the story and it was circulated through numerous Canadian newspapers as well as being featured on nearly 150 websites internationally including in both Thailand and India. “But I was really only interviewed two or three times!” she marvels. One of the sites she was interviewed by was “the heart.org”, the English-speaking cardiology community’s main site for news and high quality information. “It’s both research and clinical content” she says, “but filtered down like newspaper headlines. The piece about our study was on their front page.”
“The reason [our research] caught on is because it’s about patients and symptoms, not some esoteric concept” says Martha. “It’s about what people feel when they have a heart attack. There has been quite a lot of research into whether or not men and women experience heart attack symptoms differently. Some studies show that women have less-common symptoms and some have shown that women don’t have as much chest pain for example, which is one of the cardinal symptoms that people recognize.”
But Martha didn’t have full faith in that research and recognized that it had flaws. She saw that the public was eager for information and were readily accepting the information given to them by the media. “There has been an almost exaggerated response, such that there is now a conception that women don’t have heart attack symptoms that are anything like men’s. In my opinion, that’s simply not true - and our study bore that out.”
She notes that on Oprah Winfrey’s website, for example, it states that “many of the symptoms of heart disease are often ignored, unrecognized or misdiagnosed, because women's symptoms are completely different than men's” (www.oprah.com/health/Facts-About-Heart-Disease-for-Women). “That is almost dangerous I think because it’s misinformation” says Martha. “It’s been a women’s issue many are aware of but are confused about, which I think largely contributed to the appeal of our research.”
There is more and more research evidence accumulating that implies that women are in fact more similar to men in regard to symptoms of heart attack, explains Martha. “There are some differences, but women do indeed experience chest pain, and as often as men.”
The scope of her research has led her toward a number of accomplishments. “I was fortunate enough to receive the clinical research fellowship award from CIHR that supported me while I did my doctoral work.” She won the student essay prize award at the 2009 IPONS (International Philosophy of Nursing Society) Conference. And in 2010 was appointed by the UBC School of Nursing as a clinical assistant professor, a new category of adjunct that is specifically aimed at people like Martha, who hold positions where a combined research and clinical focus is integral to their work.
“It’s all a bit new” says Martha (referring to her position), “and there isn’t much president for it in BC or in Canada, so what it looks like and how it will unfold is still a bit uncertain. In terms of research, I intend to continue looking at people’s behaviours around experiencing heart attacks and other behaviours related to cardiac risk factors.”
When Doreen MacLauchlan was about ten years old and living in Calgary, her father brought her to the opening of the new School of Nursing at Calgary General Hospital.
“I was one of those girls who read all the Cherry Ames Student Nurse books” she says. To a young Doreen, nursing held a world of excitement and possibilities. “It was a really interesting tour” she remembers. “I knew it was what I wanted to do.”
She had dreams of attending the Calgary School, but her family moved west to BC and she attended the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops for her basic nursing program. She graduated in 1967 and worked for a year in public health as a trainee in Burns Lake, returning to Kamloops to work in the hospital there for a number of years before going to UBC in 1979 to attain her BSN.
“It was a time in my life when I was suddenly a single parent, living in family housing on campus with all the other families. It was really terrific” she recalls. “Not only the School of Nursing, which was great, but the whole experience of campus life and education.” She was part of what was called the retreads. “We came in the summer, had an introduction and started in the 3rd year of the program in the fall. Some of our classmates were brand new, 20 year olds, and the rest of us were in our 30s, 40s, and even 50s. It was a real mixture of people and life, nursing and scholarly experiences. I still have some good friends from those days.”
Doreen was interested in community nursing, and wanted more choices than were available in the hospital setting. Though she worked in many different units including psychiatry, ER and daycare surgery, the year she’d spent in Burns Lake had shown her that there was more out there. She really enjoyed the independence, being out in the community, teaching and working with people, being in their homes and getting to know them on a more personal level. So she focused her studies on public health rather than the administrative stream.
After graduating in 1981, she moved to Grand Forks where she was a public health nurse for three years. “It was great to start out in a smaller community. We were generalists – doing basically everything except the home care nursing.” She then moved to Abbotsford and stayed there from ’84 to ‘92. Nursing practice was much different in that community, “We worked in teams (east team, west team) and helped each other with the big schools and events. It was much more like the “big city” than Grand Forks” she recalls.
From there she moved to the Sunshine Coast where she’s been ever since. In Gibson’s she entered into a middle management-type position and quickly discovered that wasn’t the right fit for her. Happy with their current location on the coast, Doreen and her family chose not to relocate, but she arranged for a transfer to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) in 1994.
Doreen works in the Centre’s STI/HIV Clinic. It’s a two hour commute to the clinic, which is located on West Broadway in Vancouver, but she says its a good opportunity for some downtime and occasional dozing. “I’m actually retired” she says, though she still works casual shifts a couple of days each week. “It’s stimulating, and a good place to work. No two days are the same and that’s one of the great things about nursing; you never know who you’re going to see or what’s going to happen!”
“We run a free clinic and anyone can come” she says. We do HIV and STI teaching, assessment, testing, treatment and prevention. It’s STI/HIV sexual health-based practice.”
Teaching has been a major part of Doreen’s work at the clinic, and one that she really enjoys. Especially now that their program has gained certification status, they are teaching patients, clients, and other public health nurses, as well as doctors, residents and medical students.
At the clinic, Doreen is also involved with research on various tests, programs and medications. “If you look at HIV, it has changed so much since we started testing back in 1984. Now, things are very different – it’s not as hopeless as it was in those days. And usually people feel better after they leave here.”
Doreen appreciates the team environment at the clinic. Though there is always a physician on site, at least 80% of the people who come in would be seen by a nurse. If something goes beyond their scope of practice, the physician can be consulted. “But most things we can manage,” she says, “so it’s really an expanded role.”
She has been semi-retired for five years now, but sees full retirement coming in the next year or so. She has her hands in a few other activities that she would like to start devoting more time to.
She is a fiber artist, and belongs to the Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers Guild. “I’m a weaver, and learned to do that in Grand Forks in ‘84. Each time I moved I connected to a guild and when I retired, my present to myself was a spinning wheel.” She also loves to travel, and sometimes combines these two passions, such as in July 2010, when she travelled to Albuquerque New Mexico, for an international weaving conference. “I’ve been to a few so far, and there’s always lots going on, they’re a lot of fun and a really great time!”
In addition to spending time with her husband (of nearly 25 years), she also has two children and three granddaughters that she likes to visit with. “I want more time for those other activates now” she says. “It’s time to let someone else take over.”
Sheila received a BSN from UBC in 1986. It was a four-year program then and intense at times. Returning RNs came into the program halfway through, “helping to ground us in reality and the world of experience”. It was a good group even though the classes were large. Although she had considered a career in Rehabilitation Sciences, Sheila thought Nursing was broader, would offer her more opportunities to teach, to travel and work in a variety of settings and with a variety of people. “It offered a world of opportunity”.
Sheila did two years of the BSN program, took a year off to ski and work and then came back for the remaining two years. She still keeps in touch with her best friend from nursing school who now works as a midwife in Australia. Her first job after graduation was at St. Paul’s Hospital (SPH) in Vancouver and Sheila says of that work experience: “It was great! I loved it. My heart is still there”. It had a stable population of caring staff who used to have many fun times together, like going to Doll and Penny’s on Davie Street for breakfast after coming off of night shift. Although the work was very demanding it was also very rewarding and Sheila still keeps in touch with nurses and physicians from this first nursing job.
Eventually Sheila wanted to try a different experience in a different hospital. She continued at SPH as a casual nurse and began working at VGH as well in the Neurology Intensive Care Unit. Sheila then decided that clinical teaching was where she wished to focus and worked for three years as a sessional clinical faculty with the UBC School of Nursing.
Sheila taught clinical in the first year of the nursing program at UBC and loved the opportunity to work with the nursing students. During this time she also started working in the community during the summer and worked as a casual Home Care Nurse at all of the different health units in the city of Vancouver. When Sheila worked in home care, she liked the autonomy of it, the fact that it allowed for more personalized care than in a hospital and that people in their own homes have their own agendas and are often happier there as opposed to in hospital. It allowed for a different model of care and relationship with patients, being easier to focus on a person and their family in the home, with no bells ringing and no other competing demands. Sheila felt more able to participate in the interdisciplinary care as a part of the team when working in home care. “It’s like night and day. You can use all of your nursing skills in homecare”.
After leaving the UBC SoN, Sheila then worked full-time as a Home Care Nurse in Vancouver and eventually transferred her Home Care Nursing job closer to home, on the North Shore. While working on the North Shore in Home Care Sheila moved into leadership positions. Her first position was as a Home Care Nursing Consultant, then as an interdisciplinary Team Leader and finally as the Home Health Educator, also an interdisciplinary position. She says her heart is still in home care. But because she enjoyed the leadership positions so much, she decided she wanted to study leadership and did so at Royal Roads University in Victoria, obtaining her Master of Arts in Leadership and Training in 2007.
When asked what she enjoys so much about leadership and mentorship, Shelia indicated that it would be difficult not to enjoy such work! About half of the time she is engaged in personal growth and development and during the other half, she uses her personal growth and development to help others with their journeys. “That is so nice, to be able to learn how to be more effective as an individual and as a leader in personal relationships, in what matters, and then to help people do that in their own lives”. Sheila tries to help students think about their triggers, their biases and how they come across in a group process as an example of what this looks like in a teaching situation. “You always have to start with yourself, then share it with other people. “That appealed to me; it’s very rewarding and it’s really what we do as nurses. Everyone can be and is a leader, how do we foster that so all can be leaders?”
Sheila says that teaching students today is very rewarding. At UBC the students come with a huge amount of life experience and they are so engaged and really a joy to teach. “I hope to be able to share my passion for nursing especially in areas such as care of the older adults where there is so much potential and so much reward. These students have so much to contribute and they set a very high standard. I also believe that this is a good time for the students to enter nursing and that there is good reason to be optimistic about the future of nursing so I hope to also share this perspective with the students”.
Sheila loves the outdoors. She enjoys cross- country and down- hill skiing, running, hiking, biking and swimming. And she loves gardening. In mid- June, Sheila, her husband and her dog, look forward to an addition to the family, their much longed- for child. “My idea of a great day is this: there’s lots of light, I’m going for a run and then I’ll do some gardening and walk to the beach and the coffee shop with my husband and our little black lab.” Sheila has already worked out how she will be able to do gardening with a new baby after her brother suggested to her that she would not be able to do so.
Upon learning at the age of 36, in 1993, that her breast cancer had metastasized, Judy Reimer (BSN '83) decided to find a constructive way to make use of her catastrophic experience. A single mother of two young children, she felt committed to leaving them with the lifelong knowledge that, while their mother might lose her life to cancer, it could never destroy her spirit. In 1995, with the encouragement of a collective of women who began meeting around her kitchen table, Judy conceptualized the idea for the Life Quilt for Breast Cancer Project.
In the years since its inception, the Life Quilt Project has captured the imagination of Canadians coast to coast, created a community networking mechanism unlike any other before it, and generated a foundation for raising awareness about practical support for women with breast cancer. Judy's professional practice in mental health nursing made her acutely aware of how difficult it is for most people to share their stories of pain and loss, and to know how to listen to the stories of others. In quilting, she could envision people joining together to create a lasting testament to the impact of breast cancer, and weaving the stories of their own loved ones into every stitch.
When she died on October 3, 2002, Judy left behind three spectacular quilt panels. Each depicts a forest theme, metaphorically representing the breast cancer experience. "Cut in Prime" represents a ravaged clear-cut forest and symbolizes initial diagnosis and treatment; "Call to Rebirth" portrays the fireweed that signals the initial stage of healing; and "The Green Canopy" illustrates forest rejuvenation suggesting hope and self-renewal. The large images are surrounded by 136 smaller quilted squares, each contributed by women living with breast cancer, their friends or families to express their own thoughts and experiences with the disease. Each is an individual tribute to loss, love, hope, and courage.
Over 20,000 individuals across Canada have participated by stitching within the larger quilt panels or contributed a square to this magnificent project. Much of the actual quilting process occurred in town halls and community centres across the country. Many more people have been touched by the beauty and power of the exhibit as it travels around the country, creating a focus for reflection, connection, and action. As Judy well understood, through collective action, ordinary people create the extraordinary.
Judy's dream as a mother was to show her children that she could bring light to the dark side of terminal illness. Her dream as a nurse was to create community resources for the practical support of women with breast cancer, and to facilitate the kind of open dialogue about breast cancer that might help people begin to find relief for their inner pain. She accomplished both in full measure.
Throughout her student years at UBC, her nursing career, and her final years as a breast cancer activist, Judy's passion for life and for living well was infectious. She had a remarkable sense of humour, always applied with sincere compassion, and a delight for the absurdities inherent in bodily functions and impairments. She engaged with people who encountered her personally or professionally in a manner that made you feel interesting and valued. She was insatiably curious, and unafraid of confronting life head on; she leaves a legacy of hope, connection, and healing for all Canadians.
Dr. Dawn Smith (BSN ’87) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Ottawa. Prior to this appointment she taught and mentored independent student projects in community health, influencing societal change, and nursing research with the Collaborative Nursing Program of B.C., and at Dalhousie.
Health for all’ has been her enduring passion in nursing. Her work as a community health nurse in Canadian and international settings focused on community development and health promotion with vulnerable groups such as Aboriginal, displaced and immigrant populations. Dr. Smith currently teaches community health nursing in the undergraduate nursing program. Her doctoral research examined two Aboriginal organizations' experiences improving care for pregnant and parenting Aboriginal people. She also completed a complementary study examining models for transferring knowledge to improve health policy and practice with Aboriginal communities. She is a principal investigator on a community-based research project to improve organizational and provider capacity to deliver safe and responsive maternal child health interventions in Aboriginal communities. She is co-investigator on community health research projects focusing on: a) fall prevention in Aboriginal communities; b) developing a framework for international Aboriginal health indicators. Upcoming research and knowledge translation initiatives will examine models for facilitating quality nursing care in urban, rural and remote Aboriginal communities.
“I obtained a Diploma of Nursing in Winnipeg in 1972, but it was only when I began working in the Mental Health field several years later that I realized nursing was the profession for me. I had a curiosity about people and how the human psyche works,” she said. “Nursing channelled my long-standing interest in helping others. Seeing people learn and grow was intriguing.”
Teaching clinical nursing soon became Toni’s passion and she spent her next 20 years as a health educator. She worked in a variety of teaching settings across Western Canada including Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, Douglas College in New Westminster, and Red River Community College in Winnipeg. In 1986, she left her teaching position at Red River College to facilitate the implementation of a diploma nursing program at Keewatin College in The Pas, in Northern Manitoba. “Many of the nursing students were First Nations. We used skills like sitting in silence, listening, reflecting, and only then giving thoughtful responses. I learned that responding too quickly to someone’s question could be considered dismissive.” Toni already had her BSN 1981 from the University of Victoria and decided that a Masters Degree would give her career mobility as well as a better theoretical foundation for her burgeoning teaching career.
For more than a decade after graduating with her MSN in 1988, Toni was a Nursing Instructor at Kwantlen College (now Kwantlen Polytechnic University). One highlight at Kwantlen was delivering a third-year nursing course in Nepal, giving students and teachers an opportunity to apply the principles of community development in an international setting. Working at high-altitude with the poverty-stricken Nepalese villagers helped students and faculty appreciate cultural differences in a nuanced light, and sometimes challenged western health care beliefs.
The MSN also provided surprisingly transferable skills for other industries. Toni spent a year developing curriculum with a Vancouver hair salon academy leading to their accreditation with the Post Secondary Education Commission. She also worked for four years in the tourism industry in BC, developing infrastructure, company policies, employment guidelines, as well as facilitating strategic planning with the Vancouver Trolley Company and West Coast City and Nature Tours.
Since retirement in 2002, Toni has had many adventures such as circumnavigating Mont Blanc in Europe, hiking Machu Picchu in Peru, and spending time with The Hugging Saint, Amma at her ashram, Amritapuri in South India. Currently Toni volunteers at Theatre Terrific, a Vancouver theatre company for artists with disabilities.
By Paula Stromberg
1990s Amazing Alumni Stories
Born in 1938 in North Bay, Ontario, Lois began her nursing career at St Michael's Hospital in Toronto before moving west. She held many positions at St. Paul's Hospital throughout her career from Staff Nurse to Patient Care Manager, and worked at both the Vancouver General and the BC Cancer Agency. On the basis of a BA degree, Lois fought her way into the UBC masters program, taking a number of qualifying courses to establish her theoretical grounding within the discipline.
She was eventually admitted to the MSN program and graduated in 1996. Later, she was appointed as an adjunct professor in the School, offering her wise and skilled mentorship to students.
Throughout her career, Lois was an energetic and enthusiastic activist within her professional community. She played a vital role on the St. Paul Hospital's Ethics Committee, the BC History of Nursing group, the UBC Nursing Xi Eta Chapter, the BCIT Med/Surg Advisory Committee, and the Langara College Holistic Health Program. She was also a dedicated member of the Vancouver Chapter of the Registered Nurses Association of BC, once holding the position of Chapter President, and remaining active in that group long after her “work retirement.” In 1994, she received RNABC’s Award of Honour.
In the months prior to her death in August, 2008, Lois chronicled her experiences as a person with terminal cancer in a series of intimate and reflective articles in the local press. Combining her love of nursing, philosophy, ethics and history, she found the perfect way to make her mark and use her own failing health as a device to teach others. As part of her legacy, she encouraged her family and friends to make donations to the BC Nursing History Society, of which she was a founding member.
Marlee Groening is a Lecturer at UBC SoN who completed both her BSN (1992) and her MSN (2000) at UBC. She started teaching at UBC after finishing her BSN and then decided to do an MSN because she loves learning and academia.
As a student, Marlee learned from many of her academic mentors. The two faculty members who particularly stand out for her are Sally Thorne, Carol Jillings and Clarissa Green. They provided guidance and thoughtful feedback on how to push the boundaries of her thinking so that she could continue to challenge herself and later, her own students. Having one’s thoughts acknowledged and validated is a vital dynamic in the development of a person’s intellectual life and Marlee aspires to do this with her students.
Marlee primarily teaches mental health in the undergraduate program and has had the fortune of also being involved in some research projects addressing tobacco use among individuals living with mental illness. She loves the fact that the school has been flexible about her lecturer position in order for her to take opportunities to step out and continue her nursing practice in community MH part time in order to stay current in practice as well as bring a fresh eye to her teaching role. In addition to staying current, Marlee thinks that it is easier to connect with students when she is able to use current real life clinical situations in her efforts to integrate theory to practice.
Marlee is a passionate and committed advocate for people with mental health concerns. “My mission is to ‘turn on’ people who are not yet interested in people living with mental health challenges… every day”. People with mental health concerns inspire Marlee with their courage and ability to rise above these obstacles despite the stigma and disadvantage that people live with in every aspect of their lives. They are personable, funny and aspire toward forward movement and personal growth in their lives. For example, she remembers a man living with chronic schizophrenia who learned how to cook and create his own recipes, all the while living with nasty, hostile hallucinations that plagued him throughout the day. She expects students and colleagues alike to be tolerant, respectful and have enlightened attitudes toward people living with mental illness. She wants people to understand the complexity of mental illness and to understand that attitudes toward mental illnesses are inescapably shaped from birth by socialization and media. Ironically, she thinks we delude ourselves into thinking there is any such a thing as “normal”.
When Marlee is not working for pay, she is a “newspaper junkie” and loves to hang out with her 13 year-old daughter and two wirehaired dachshunds. She also loves to cook and read cooking magazines. A dream day for her would consist of reading The Vancouver Sun/Globe and Mail/The New Yorker and Psychology Today, and then bake bread and make soup for her family for dinner. “That is my idea of fun, my ‘me’ time.”
She also belongs to the Richmond Chorus and is currently rehearsing for their Brahms German Requiem concert. Marlee also volunteers with the Adoptive Families Association of BC by selling Christmas trees at Ikea and doing presentations for families engaged in adoption on topics such as transracial adoption, medical issues concerning international adoptions or how parents can best support their child to the exciting, joyful, yet challenging, aspects of coming to their new home.
UBC School of Nursing Honorary Professor Dr. Verna Splane O.C., M.P.H., LL.D., F.A.P.H.A., R.N., died in the early hours of Saturday January 10, 2015 in Vancouver.
A longtime resident of Vancouver, but a distinguished citizen of Canada and world, Verna Huffman Splane was one of the most pre-eminent and influential nursing policy leaders of her generation. A public health nurse and policy advocate, she was a pioneer on behalf of nursing through her extensive international health and development work with the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses, including consultations across many different countries.
Born in 1914 into a Peterborough Ontario family with limited financial resources but with high principles for community responsibility, Verna Huffman was always a top student in her early school years. At the time she graduated during the depression years, a university education seemed far out of reach. Instead she opted for nursing, obtaining her RN diploma from the Peterborough Civic Hospital School of Nursing in 1937. She subsequently joined the Victorian Order of Nurses, which was beginning to expand its capacity in public health and community based nursing. Over the years, she continued to expand her educational base, obtaining a Certificate in Public Health Nursing from University of Toronto (1939), a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Teacher’s College Columbia in New York (1957), and a Master of Public Health degree from Michigan University (1964).
Over the course of her career, Verna held a number of major employed and voluntary positions in Canada and abroad. She became Canada’s first principal nursing officer – the highest office held by any nurse in the country (1968-1972). She also served as a vice-president for the International Council of Nurses for two terms during 1973 and 1981. She was elected vice president of International Social Service, an organization based in Geneva that was dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by migration and international humanitarian crises.
During her time in Ottawa, Verna married Dr. Richard Splane, a social worker by profession who had served in the Dept. of National Health and Welfare in Ottawa from the early 1950's to the early 1970s, becoming widely known as the chief architect of progressive public policies such as the Canadian Social Assistance Plan. His strong interest in international social welfare led to his work with a number of nongovernmental agencies, including UNICEF, before they came to Vancouver, where Dick was a distinguished academic leader in social policy and social work. As a “retirement project,” Verna and Dick conducted a seminal 53-country study of the roles of government chief nursing officers. This project culminated in the publication of their major book Chief Nursing Officer positions in National Ministries of Health: Focal Points for Nursing Leadership in 1994. Although Verna had worked closely with the UBC School of Nursing in various capacities since the 1970s, in 2006 she was granted the distinction of being named an Honorary Professor, a position she held until her death. In November of 2004, on the occasion of her “first 90 years,” Richard Splane and UBC Nursing Director Sally Thorne co-hosted an “An Afternoon of Dialogue and Reflection” on the remarkable nursing career of Verna Huffman Splane. Nursing dignitaries from around the country gathered at UBC to examine the impact her professional leadership continued to have on health policy.
Verna’s contributions to the nursing profession and to health internationally have been recognized with the Award of Merit of the Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia (1987), the Order of Canada (1996), Queen Elizabeth II Silver and Gold Jubilee medals (1977 and 2002), the Jeanne Mance Award, which is the Canadian Nurses’ Association’s highest honour (1982), the Canadian Red Cross Distinguished Service Award (1981), the Lillian Carter Center for International Nursing Award (2001) and honorary doctorates from Queens (1980), St. Francis Xavier (1989), UBC (1996) and the University of Toronto (2007). She was also the first Honorary Life Member of the Association of Registered Nurses of BC (2013).
Verna was delighted with the attention generated by her 100th birthday (November 23, 2014), although she expressed the sincere hope that she would be remembered more for her professional accomplishments than for having lived beyond her time. With a characteristic twinkle in her eye, she graciously accepted the congratulations, and then turned the conversation back to more important things, such as the pressing nursing issues of the day. Until the end of her life, she remained highly enthusiastic about the political and policy doings of nursing. She greatly valued her extensive network of nursing colleagues near and far, and despite failing health, was always delighted to hear of their activities and accomplishments. A true mentor to many, she never ceased to be able to articulate the most penetrating questions, and call her colleagues to account for their progress in addressing the challenges facing the profession. In the words of one of her colleagues, “She, and her career, were the stuff of legends.”
Verna died in the early hours of Saturday January 10, 2015 at Crofton Manor in Vancouver with her beloved Dick at her side. A service of remembrance was held later that month at UBC, attended by nursing leaders from across the country.
Contributed by Sally Thorne
Genelle teaches in the specialty program at BCIT, enabling students to get advanced certification in perioperative nursing. She has been with this program since 2005.
She is a ’71 graduate of the Holy Cross Hospital School of Nursing in Calgary. With a husband in the Canadian armed forces, they lived in various cities across Canada. This enabled Genelle to have many interesting positions and opportunities.
Genelle’s pre-BSN work history focused on emergency and perioperative nursing. It seemed that wherever she moved, nurses with these skill sets were always in demand. She has spent 15 years in pediatric nursing.
“One of the things that I have learned throughout my career is how valuable nursing knowledge can be to a variety of settings and endeavors.” In 1977 Genelle was hired by the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (Ottawa) to work within the Volunteer Department. She assisted with interviewing, placing, and monitoring hospital volunteers. At this time, parental presence in the hospital was not common, and she was able to initiate a program utilizing volunteers to assist with feeding infants and toddlers who were appropriately identified by ward staff. Another aspect of this job involved conducting hospital tours for interested community groups. It was particularly fun when she toured groups of Brownies and Cubs. With her perioperative background, she was able to spend some time talking about what it was like to be in the hospital as a patient, and what usually happens when kids come for operations.
When Genelle eventually found herself in the Lower Mainland working at BC Children’s Hospital; she decided that she wanted more education. She enrolled in the RN-to-BSN program at UBC as a part-time student in 1994. It was a bit daunting at first, because, at this point, she hadn’t been in school for more than 20 years. She enjoyed everything she did during her BSN and, in the end, took more courses than were required, including medical anthropology, bioethics and technical writing. She loved it all and states, “You never know what opportunities will appear in your life” and how these subjects might be useful.
One of those opportunities came in 1997. She was hired as one of the first four Nurse Advisors at Worksafe BC. The nurse advisor position was not defined, and Genelle found herself working with case managers (interpreting client medical reports and treatment plans), and working with physicians (facilitating client surgery and ongoing rehabilitation in the community). She thought that there might be a particular niche for herself as an advocate to help those people who fell through the cracks of rehabilitation services. She decided that further education would be important, and so, in 1999 she enrolled in the UBC MSN program, once again a part-time student.
But she missed speaking directly with patients. And so, in 2001 she returned to acute care at Vancouver General Hospital. Shortly after beginning work in their operating rooms, she was asked if she would apply for the clinical educator position. Her answer was “Yes!” She continued taking her MSN, but with the support of her manager was able to organize a leave of absence and complete her course work.
Once again, Genelle loved the process and content of her Master’s courses. “I learned so much,” she said. Completing her thesis allowed her the opportunity to explore her interest in the professional identity of nurses. Financial support came through several UBC bursaries and scholarships, VGH Alumnae bursaries and scholarships, and the BC Registered Nurses Foundation. A highlight for her was to be the first recipient of the Canadian Nurses Foundation Helen K Mussallem Fellowship, and to have the opportunity to meet and visit with Dr Mussallem.
Genelle is committed to sharing her knowledge and skill. She is active in the BC Operating Room Nurses Society, the BC History of Nursing Society, and is now trying to feed a newer passion for international nursing. She has been on two surgical missions to Cambodia with Operation Rainbow Canada and will be going with this group to Indonesia in 2009. Although this work is primarily humanitarian, she hopes that there will be opportunities to work towards developing the perioperative nursing capacity of the communities she visits. She is looking forward to working with the Canadian Network in Surgery and Department of International Surgery in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC, helping to use Canadian perioperative nursing knowledge to support nurses involved in patient care in other parts of the underdeveloped world.
Genelle has been a registered nurse for 38 years. “I’ve loved every minute of it.” Genelle and her husband have two children and three grandchildren. She enjoys the outdoors, gardening, singing in her parish choir and being actively involved in her community. “I love it all” she said. She refers to herself as a “continual bloomer”.
Elsie Tan is a Senior Instructor with the UBC School of Nursing. She attended BCIT for her basic nurse training, worked for ten years at BC Children’s Hospital and then went to the University of Victoria as a returning RN. After finishing basic nursing at BCIT, she specialized in pediatrics and began her career at BC Children’s Hospital before returning to school. She then completed her MSN at UBC and promised her mother that she would “settle down” before carrying on with further studies. She is still settling down!
Elsie began teaching at UBC (first with VGH) during and after her MSN. She had actually wanted to return to being a CNS, not a teacher (though she had ambitions of becoming a teacher earlier in life). Teaching came naturally to her when she began at UBC instructing first-year students’ labs, then second-year medical/surgical clinical practica, and later, theory classes. She was seconded to the Ministry of Health for one year where she was one of six provincial nursing consultants in the Nursing Respite Program. After completing her master’s degree, she was asked to be a sessional instructor from September to April of the academic year and in May, June and July, she taught at Kwantlen College and the University of Victoria. She had all of August off and usually went travelling.
As a sessional instructor at UBC she taught the pediatric course, co-taught and then led the clinical pediatric course in the Multiple Entry Option Program (MEOP). In 2001, she started teaching a new course – the Social Construction of Health and Illness – continued teaching the “old” pediatric course, and developed and taught the new pediatric course while transitioning to MEOP. Since the transition, she has taught various courses such as the distance education course in independent study and preceptorship. Later on, she became involved in leadership, health promotion, and guest lectured in pediatric courses. She continues to teach the Social Construction of Health and Illness.
Elsie remembers the challenges of the Concepts course she took as a student during her MSN. All of her fellow students found it difficult, and to cope with the difficulty, they joked together after class, asking each other, for example: “How do you define a chair, a shoe?” Although they joked about it, they would end up talking very seriously about the conceptualizations. Through this course they learned how to shift their thinking and how to become more abstract and critical thinkers. To this day, when some of them meet, the question of “so how do you conceptualize …?” is always jokingly raised. Another way Elsie’s small cohort of classmates connected was by joking about their working space and how often they were there. They would all agree not to use the school-shared study space on the weekends but to remain at home and with family but then all would end up on site finding each other in their private space studying hard … “we never listened to each other.”
When asked what she likes best about her work, Elsie replies that it’s the multifaceted nature of her teaching. It gives her the opportunity to keep learning new content and to know what students are learning. She is in a good position to create linkages for them because she knows what they have learned and what is coming up for them. When she has the opportunity to teach a new class, she requests that she teaches it for at least two terms so that she can “experiment” in the first term, and then have time to prepare and streamline or hone it, in the second term.
Outside of work, Elsie loves to do many things but her passions are in dance, travel and cuisine. For Elsie, dancing is about spirit, energy and movement. She has practiced just about every dance form beginning with formal training in ballet, then moving on to tap, jazz, modern, Latin American, and ballroom. She is currently very much into belly-dancing. Elsie says she could dance all day and all night, enjoying losing herself and yet becoming more grounded by doing it. She is married and encourages her husband to ballroom dance with her.
Since childhood, Elsie has greatly enjoyed travel, and has visited most countries in the world. Her parents, and her mother in particular, thought that “the world is the best classroom” so during the school breaks, “we were off somewhere.” She loves hearing different voices, tasting different cuisines and discovering different ways of living and being. She went to Egypt last year and hopes to return to the Middle East and climb Mount Sinai. And the next “must go to” place for Elsie is the Maldives to swim at night in the glowing ocean and before the country disappears entirely.
Elaine Unsworth, UBC School of Nursing Adjunct Professor, is a clinical nurse specialist in Geriatric Mental Health with Providence Health Care and shares the story of four male residents in Holy Family Hospital who wanted a cat. Instead of refusing the request, the clinical nurse leaders brought the residents and their families together to discuss how having a pet might work. Holy Family Hospital is now home to a loving cat. In fact, the five care homes within Providence Health are homes to six cats and some birds. “We have to start asking ‘why not?’” says Elaine, who is one of a dynamic team at Providence Health working with the Eden Philosophy of Care, created by Dr. Bill Thomas and adopted almost three years ago. “The Philosophy looks at how we provide care and treat people who live in our care homes, and how we make them pleasant homes in which to live,” says Elaine, who played a key role in establishing the standards and creating the staff model. The three plagues of residential care facilities that the Eden Philosophy says contribute to suffering are helplessness, loneliness and boredom, and it offers 10 principles to counteract them.*
There have been many changes over the last few years at Providence Health residential care facilities—all working toward deinstitutionalization. Prepackaging medications means they can be delivered to stable elders by care aides which frees up RNs to do more specialized care. More care aides means more individual care for residents and more opportunity for residents to be involved in care decisions. Expanded communication channels help staff on various shifts know the details of each person living in the facility. “The staff do a great job at providing care the way the residents want it,” says Elaine. “I hope when I move in I’ll be able to have a coffee in my room when I wake up and have a bath at night.”
During her undergraduate studies, Elaine took an elective in mental health. During her first job, she was introduced to the geriatric population. Although she was concerned that this cohort might not be very stimulating, she learned otherwise and not only loved it but chose this area to pursue in her master’s program. She continues to thrive on the challenges of bio-psycho-social geriatric care. Today she enjoys the challenge that the model will be ever-changing as residents change, staff change and individual needs play into the daily mix. “I love doing this work,” she says. “It’s so important that we respect elders and what they want, and as we move toward providing individualized care, it’s exciting and rewarding to see people still growing and developing, even well into their 90s!” However, Elaine cautions that in order to keep this ball rolling there will have to be more proactive marketing done to advocate for senior care as most people are not exposed to senior care until a loved one experiences it. “I wish we could offer opportunities for everyone to talk with someone in their own language every day, and have more choices—like having a bath when they wanted and eating the food they want. We need to focus on the fact that we work in the residents’ homes, that they don’t just live where we work.”
As Elaine continues to discover the gifts that seniors can offer her, the School continues to celebrate its alumnae and members of its faculty for the heartfelt work they do to improve the care for all those in need.
2000s Amazing Alumni Stories
Lynda Balneaves completed her PhD at UBC in 2002 and began working in the School of Nursing immediately as a tenure-track faculty member, having fast-tracked through her BSN, MN, and PhD. Lynda loves research and received outstanding mentorship during her PhD program at UBC, particularly from her former supervisor, Dr. Joan Bottorff. Lynda reflects that the UBC PhD program “pushed” her thinking about theory and the philosophy of science and nursing. Lynda’s previous nursing education had been very pragmatic and focused mainly on the practical skills of nursing, so “thinking about thinking” truly expanded her horizons, helping her to understand how knowledge in nursing is created, and taught her how to be reflective and inquiring in her work.
Lynda’s undergraduate degree was in science, specifically, Zoology, and as much as she enjoyed it, it took measuring the wing spans of mosquitoes one summer, while working on an acid rain research project, to realize science alone wasn’t going to be satisfying enough for her. She wanted a career that promised more interpersonal contact and a chance “to make a difference” in individuals’ lives. Also, a family member’s illness and regular hospitalization during her BSc gave Lynda a chance to observe nurses at work and recognize their autonomy and very specialized disciplinary knowledge. Lynda also valued the incredible flexibility and variety in nurses’ work and realized that nursing could offer her many diverse opportunities as a profession.
Lynda came to UBC for her PhD because she loved the city of Vancouver, but more importantly, because the scholarly expertise she wanted was here. Both Drs. Sally Thorne and Joan Bottorff had expertise and active research programs in the area of cancer research. This was the field she had already worked in during her MN and what she wanted to pursue academically, with a specific focus on the role of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in cancer care. Lynda completed her PhD from 1996-2002, while also expanding her interprofessional teaching skills as a teaching assistant in the SON and as a Tutor in the UBC Medical Program. She also had a chance to hone her research skills by working on numerous research studies as a graduate research assistant and project director throughout her PhD program.
Lynda is passionate about research because she “…loves asking questions, exploring the unknown, and because every day in research is different - you are always creating new knowledge, you have autonomy, and you get to follow your interests!” Taken together, all of these characteristics of research make for a very flexible and rewarding career. Lynda shares her enthusiasm for research by teaching the Critical Inquiry and Evidence-Based Practice courses to undergraduate and Master’s students, where she hopes to convey the message that, “You can’t provide excellent nursing care without research and the evidence it provides.”
In terms of her research accomplishments, Lynda is most proud of the Complementary Medicine Education and Outcomes (CAMEO) research program, which is focused on developing evidence-based education and decision support interventions to help cancer patients and their families make safe and informed decisions about CAM. She sees this program as a way of building a bridge between clinical practice and research and addressing an important gap in cancer care. She is an Affiliate Nurse Scientist at the BC Cancer Agency (BCCA) and has made alliances with nursing colleagues, like Tracy Truant who is the Regional Professional Practice Leader, Nursing at the BCCA (and another UBC alumni), which enables her to move programs, such as CAMEO, forward in clinical settings. The mission of the CAMEO project is to have every patient who comes through the door at the BCCA assessed for CAM use, have an opportunity to ask questions about CAM, and have those questions addressed, based on current evidence. In so doing, it is hoped that patients receive the best possible care and advice regarding how to safely use CAM as part of their cancer journey.
At the end of the day, Lynda says she “works hard and plays hard.” She is very physically active, loving sports of all kinds. She has currently begun taking a Tae Kwon Do class, partly because skiing is over for the season! She has also been active in competitive dragon boat racing, having competed nationally until she hurt her back, still coming in 5th! She loves cross country skiing, reading, going to live music events, working out, and spending time with her family and friends. “I have a very full life!”
Jean Barry, a 2002 graduate of the UBC Masters of Science in Nursing program, is currently working at the International Council of Nurses in Geneva, Switzerland. Jean was born in Bell Island, Newfoundland and completed her Bachelor of Nursing at Memorial University of Newfoundland. For over a decade, she worked in various areas of adult and paediatric nursing practice in Newfoundland, Ontario and British Columbia. In 1989, she accepted what was to be a one month position at the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (CRNBC) and has been involved in nursing regulation and policy work ever since.
She worked in a number of different positions at CRNBC and then in 2003 moved to address regulatory policy issues at the national level with the Canadian Nurses Association. In Jean's own words, she made the best decision of her career when she decided to return to university to complete her Masters and applied for and was accepted into the UBC program. The program opened her eyes to the broader health policy issue and introduced a global way of thinking. She was inspired by fellow students and their questioning minds and by the dynamic dialogue and interaction between the professors and students in her classes. She focused a lot of her Masters work on issues related to the integration of internationally educated nurses into the Canadian health care system and this helped to inform her work at CRNBC and later at CNA where she started as senior nurse consultant and moved into the position of Director of Regulatory Policy. There her horizons expanded into nursing ethics when she oversaw the update of the CNA Code of Ethics to its current version. In this position she also dealt with policy issues, the national exams for RN's and NPs and oversight of the specialty certification program.
In 2010 she made the leap to working at the international level and moved to Geneva Switzerland to work as a consultant, nursing and health policy for the International Council of Nurses. Her portfolio there includes addressing issues related to regulation, education, advanced practice and maternal and child health from a global perspective. Her work takes her on much international travel with a focus currently in West Africa to help support nursing education and regulation in that region. As part of addressing issues at the international level, she works closely with other international organisations such as the World Health Organisation. She indicates it is very challenging, eye-opening and exciting to address issues from a global perspective. She greatly enjoys the opportunity to work with nursing leaders from around the world. She is very proud of her Masters from UBC and credits it with setting her on this new and exciting career path.
Aaron Bates (BSN '08), applied to the UBC BSN program from Guatemala. As the country representative for Pueblo Partisans - a small Vancouver Island-based non-governmental organization - he designed a community development strategy for a displaced indigenous population and provided cultural interpretation, leadership, and Spanish-English interpretation for visiting nurses doing clinical training there. His decision to become a nurse developed from those experiences.
"I provided translations of traumas and the rudimentary framework to understand the context of an individual's particular pains, yet it was the nurses who were able to make these patients feel better by providing some physical relief," he recalls. "I wished to integrate my experiences in Guatemala and translate them into meaningful social action. I could think of no better way of doing so than by dedicating myself to a career in nursing."
During his program, Aaron had the opportunity for direct clinical learning in a variety of diverse settings. Perhaps the most influential was the Bella Coola General Hospital in the Bella Coola Valley on the central coast of British Columbia during his final clinical course. "It was a slice of our country that I had not previously experienced; I saw the human side of conditions we had been guided to explore at UBC. I was able to offer my nursing knowledge to a population that, nearly without exception, was welcoming and appreciative of my efforts."
As a new graduate, Aaron continues to seek opportunities that will challenge him to explore his capacity to make a difference as a registered nurse. He has taken a position at Dartmouth General Hospital in Nova Scotia. "I've enjoyed this, perhaps more than any nursing I have yet done. We see all of humanity. We never really know what is going to happen. We don't see people at their best, yet we have the privilege of entering into the most intimate parts of peoples' lives and assisting in their care. Nurses, physicians and other staff respect each other's unique knowledge and unique roles. And, there is so much to learn."
At the Faculty of Applied Science congregation ceremony in November 2008, Aaron was chosen as the student speaker for the graduating class. In his address, he spoke to his own passion for nursing and recognized comparable commitment that all graduates within the Faculty of Applied Science - which includes nursing, architecture and landscape architecture, and engineering - have for their interconnected capacity to contribute meaningfully to the betterment of society. "We are as diverse as those whom we strive to serve. We are motivated by so much, in our choice of this caring, and trying, profession. We recognize that our universal humanity is perhaps best expressed when we are at our most vulnerable, and require the intimate care of strangers."
Jacalyn Brown (BSN ’01) lives in Burnaby B.C. and is a Registered Nurse in the Cardiac Care Unit at St. Paul’s Hospital. She has been curling for 15 years and loves both the competition aspect of the sport, and her team. She plays Lead for Team Mallatt. Her career highlight was winning her first B.C. women’s title.
On February 28th, 2009, Team Mallet represented British Columbia in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts – the Canadian Women's Curling Championship. Leading the way through the competition, Brown’s team came second only to Team Canada, the defending Canadian and world championship team from Winnipeg.
Jacalyn curls out of the Royal City Curling Club and has curled for 15 years. She has attended the 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2006 Women’s Provincial Championships and in 2001 was the Women’s Provincial Champion. In 2000 and 2007 she was the Mixed Provincial Champion. Jacalyn enjoys running, crafting, motorcycles and reading.
"My interest in improving health care stems from my desire to really make a difference for patients and for the people who live in our community," says Sue Carpenter. Sue is a 2005 graduate of the UBC MSN program delivered in collaboration with Thompson Rivers University (TRU). Her capstone degree project was an examination of the impact of emergency room overcrowding on staff and patients and proposing solutions. "I studied what other countries were doing to address emergency department congestion," says Sue. "Historically, emergency departments tend to be the ones left to deal with congestion. The more the system can be involved-acute care, home care, community, etc.-the more help there is to solve the problem. We need to be sure the system recognizes that emergency patients are everyone's responsibility."
In her capacity as Corporate Director of Emergency Services for the Interior Health Authority, Sue works with 35 emergency departments across the region. "Because we have several small rural communities, access to service and sustainability of coordinated service are very important." An idea that Sue uncovered as a result of her MSN project was the creation of multidisciplinary "access and flow" teams including senior leadership. Toward this end, Sue and colleagues sponsored a series of "Decongestion Forum" sessions. At each, invited physicians, nurses and other health care professionals were challenged with the question "What would you do in your own sector of health care in order to decrease the emergency congestion?" These initiatives stimulated working together to share the responsibility of congestion and to create proactive solutions. Although there is no "quick fix," says Sue, "we are seeing incremental differences." Her colleagues, however, see these initiatives as having province-wide impact. Recently, they acknowledged Sue's work in this area with the Thompson Rivers University Distinguished Alumni Award for professional achievement.
Sue has also been active in further key initiatives to resolve health care system challenges. Faced with an unexpectedly high potential rate of attrition among nurses in the ICU, Sue organized in-house critical care training programs in partnership with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and the provincial government. Drawing on evidence from the literature, she also helped shape a new strategy for helping with staffing shortages. By "over hiring," or assigning an extra nurse on each shift to provide vacation and sick relief, she demonstrated that it was possible to reduce last minute relief nurse requirements. "At the beginning it was difficult to convince everyone of the program's value because of the risk in paying for an extra shift," says Sue. "However, I knew it was right. Our casual nurses wanted full-time and this gave us the opportunity to build relief into the schedule."
"Sue has led Interior Health Emergency Services in directions that many individuals within the system thought were not possible," says Tom Fulton, Professional Practice Leader and Chief Nursing Officer, Interior Health Authority. "Our multiple and culturally varied emergency departments have been drawn together to work collaboratively on system-wide approaches to unending challenges. Sue has been able to facilitate these diverse groups and support them in identifying common issues and solutions."
Sue recognizes the influence graduate education has had on her ability to advance patient and staff care within Interior Health. "The UBC/TRU cooperative was a great opportunity for me. I had just started my new full-time role as Corporate Director of Emergency Services, so this provided me with the opportunity to live at home and enroll in the program," she says. "It was great to have a program coordinator who lived in Kamloops as well."
Sharon Simpson, Assistant Professor at the TRU School of Nursing and on-site program coordinator for the Kamloops-based students, agrees that the joint initiative has been an excellent opportunity. "Many nurses in our community have told us they could not have obtained a graduate degree if this opportunity had not been made available," Sharon says. "I know that other faculty members in our School have also been involved in the UBC program in ways that have expanded their learning." For Sue, returning to complete her master's degree at UBC has given her the confidence she required to take on a more senior position within her local Health Authority and to develop care delivery programs with the potential to really make a difference. "It is great to have an impact on clinical care from this position and to continue to improve the experience for both staff and patients."
“Amazingly enough, it is coming up to the five year anniversary of my graduation from the UBC School of Nursing in April this year," says Alison. With a passion for people, science, and human physiology, she had completed an undergrad degree in Physiology and wanted to work in a health promotion related area after graduating. “I tried research but decided I wanted to work more directly with people, in a teaching and therapeutic capacity.” She spent a number of years working in fitness and human resource-related administration and then decided on nursing as a path to more clinically-related health promotion work.
Upon starting nursing school, her intention was eventually to pursue work in public health, “I became very interested in acute medicine through my time in the program and worked in acute medicine at VGH my first year after graduating. I had a concurrent interest in maternal/newborn health, so had focused my avenues option in maternity.”
After working casually in acute medicine for a year, Alison started working casually in post partum at BC Women's for some time as well. The shift work was not a good fit, so she decided to pursue her interest in public health nursing sooner than she had anticipated. She moved to Raven Song Community Health Centre and has been working there with the Infant Child & Youth Team ever since. “My work focuses on children ages newborn to five years old and their families,” says Alison. “I love my work. It involves a wide range of activities from post partum home visits to growth and development assessment, immunization administration, and counselling, as well as working with families to connect them with appropriate resources in their communities, building their capacity to thrive in the multiple determinant of health areas. It has also been a highlight to join the clinical instructor team at UBC. I've been involved in the maternity course, spending the day with students doing post partum maternal and newborn care in the community setting.”
One of Alison’s recent successes has been establishing a "Nurses on Bikes" program funded through Vancouver Coastal Health's Innovation Funds, which allows nurses to use their bikes for their work related contacts in the community.
Christine Fantuz graduated from the UBC School of Nursing in 2007 and presently works in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for the Calgary Health Region in addition to a position as a clinical instructor at Mt. Royal College, teaching first-year students in their BN program.
During the nursing program at UBC, Christine did field placements in a number of nursing specialty areas such as maternity, mental health and geriatrics, and was surprised at how the tools from each aspect of nursing transferred into the next. During an international placement in Nepal with fellow graduate Julia Iwama, Christine was able to share information from her leadership and management course. "Julia and I didn't bring any notes with us from that class because we figured we wouldn't need them in Nepal, but there we were talking about change theory, organizational charts and transformational leadership because the hospital would soon renovate and expand."
One of Christine's long range plans is more international relief work -- to provide care in Third World countries to children, to orphans or to whomever is in need. "Wherever you go, people need health care," she said. And in Nepal, where the life expectancy is 48.9 years, Christine believes they could also benefit from education. "I really believe that education is the root to making a difference," she said. "I'm not a believer in doing 'for,' but rather in doing 'with.' I'd like to be able to empower people and get them excited to make positive health changes in their lives."
Christine was awarded the Karen Elaine Florence Madsen Memorial Scholarship in 2007-- an award given by the School of Nursing to a final year student who shows not only outstanding personal qualities but high academic achievement and a true dedication to the nursing profession. "When I saw the award online, understood the reasons for it, and recognized that it had been recommended by the faculty I was ecstatic, honoured and overwhelmed," she said. "When it arrived, I was trying to figure out how I could possibly finance my clinical learning in Nepal," said Christine. "I was determined to complement my nursing education with an international experience in a Third World country so this award helped immensely."
"I feel very fortunate," she said; and the School feels fortunate to have graduates like Christine who combine their life experience with new learning to offer thoughtful, compassionate and effective care to those in need wherever they find them.
Mandy Hengeveld has always had a passion for environmental conservation and international development. She spent most of her twenties working on coral reef conservation projects in South East Asia.
On one of her projects, a teammate became trapped under a fallen coconut tree. “We were in a very remote area and I was the most trained person there with any medical background” says Mandy, “but all I had were my lifeguarding skills.” She decided then and there that she needed to increase her medical knowledge, and decided to pursue a career nursing.
She was accepted into the UBC program and has since graduated and worked in both the cardiac surgery and cardiology units at Vancouver General Hospital and is now working in emergency at Lion’s Gate Hospital.
In April, 2010, her passion for global issues was again put into action when she travelled to Haiti to assist with the relief efforts following a devastating earthquake. Just before she began nursing school, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami struck Indonesia, causing tremendous devastation. “If had already been a nurse I would definitely have gone” she says. “So when the earthquake hit Haiti, I knew I needed to be there. It has been in my blood, and part of the reason I wanted to pursue nursing in the first place.”
A colleague that had gone to Haiti in February helped her secure a spot. Mandy had a month to prepare. She gathered medical supplies and did fundraising and awareness, setting up tables in the lobby at Lion’s Gate Hospital and selling raffle tickets to try to get the word out that Haiti was in need.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect before going,” she admits. “I had an idea, but you can’t really know how it’s going to be until you get there. The experience was more positive than I thought it was going to be and I felt really supported by people back home in Vancouver.”
The team flew into Port Au Prince and travelled about 30 minutes east to Fond Parisien, where they established home base at the Haiti Christian Mission. The Mission was located in a two-storey building with a medical clinic on the ground floor and living quarters above. Although they were outside the actual earthquake zone, from Fond Parisien they were easily able to travel back to Port-au-Prince to set up mobile clinics for people living in tent cities and in the more devastated areas.
“It was good to be outside of the city” says Mandy. “Even though there were tent cities in the area we stayed, I think it would have been harder to be in Port Au Prince – there was so much devastation and chaos.”
One of the benefits of working with the Haiti Christian Mission was a sense of security. They had a translation school and the translators accompanied Mandy’s team to the clinics. “Being with the local people really made a difference” she says. “There was one local person for each team member. We never felt security was an issue. People were happy to see us; they knew we were there to help.”
Barney Hickey, RN, BSN, MSN, CPMHN(C) earned a diploma in nursing from the General Hospital School of Nursing in St. John’s, Nfld in 1982. He immediately moved west, taking up staff nurse positions on a psychogeriatric unit at Rosehaven Hospital in Camrose Alberta, an acute medicine unit at Mission Memorial Hospital in Mission, BC, the float pool and later the short stay psychiatric unit at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. In 1988, he took on a head nurse position at the Regional Psychiatric Centre of the Correctional Service of Canada in Abbotsford. After doing a one year position as registration officer at the Registered Nurses Association of BC in 1990-91, he went on to become patient care manager in psychiatry at St. Paul’s Hospital. In 1996, he completed his post-RN BSN degree at the University of Victoria, and in 1998 began work with the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation integrating progressive harm reduction policies into the Dr. Peter Centre's day health and residential programs. This included supervision of injections when the RNABC confirmed that supervision of injections is within the scope of registered nursing practice in order to prevent illness and promote health. In 2002, he completed his MSN at UBC School of Nursing, writing a major essay on “HIV/AIDS psychosocial issues: implications for nursing practice and leadership in Canada.” From 2005 to the present, he specialized in nursing education in a faculty position at Langara College. Along the way, he also gained National Certification from the Canadian Nurses Association in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing.
Barney was recognized as a “colourful character” by all who knew him. He was a tireless and persistent champion for optimizing care for marginalized populations, both locally and at the national level. Open and public about his own longstanding HIV-positive status, he maintained an active engagement in both professional and public advocacy activities in relation to the population affected by HIV throughout his career. Beyond his paid professional employment, Barney was always actively engaged in advocacy work on behalf of HIV/AIDS issues. He was a member of the Canadian Association for HIV Research (1994-2002), and the US Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (1995-2002), a Board Member of the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (2002-2004), and the Canadian Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (1996-2007).
He was a visionary, an idealist, and also a pragmatic realist. He was willing to push boundaries, champion causes, and bring difficult and sensitive issues to public attention. At the same time, he was always exceedingly mindful of his responsibilities as a health professional and a community role model. He had a marvelous sense of humour, solid core values based on decency, human respect and his Newfoundland roots, and was a reliable and trustworthy advocate for the disaffected within society.
Barney received many acknowledgements (professional and otherwise) in his life. Among those he was most proud of were the Award of Excellence from the Canadian Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (2001) for “exceptional contributions to the development of HIV/AIDS nursing care in Canada,” and the Award of Excellence for Nursing Practice (2002) from the Registered Nurses Association of BC. He was also quite delighted to have been named by the gay men’s community “Mr. Vancouver Leather” in 2003.
During the last several months of his life, Barney was on medical leave, dealing with various health issues that eventually progressed to include the lung cancer from which he was unable to recover. On June 30, 2012, he married his partner of 19 years, Jan Meyers. On July 9, 2012, he died peacefully at home at the age of 52. As per his request, his ashes were scattered over English Bay.
In the days following his death, several community groups posted obituaries in memory of Barney’s remarkable life. In one of these, his friend Reive Doig captured the dedication that epitomized what Barney Hickey brought to the community: "Barney was at heart a nurse. He had that nurturing nature and he seemed to bring that to every aspect of his life.”
2010s Amazing Alumni Stories
2013 BSN Graduate Sara Eftekhar has already made an enormous mark on the world. She embarked on her nursing education having already created an exceptional foundation of skills, networks and credibility from which to build a professional role that will undoubtedly make a global difference.
Immigrating to Canada from Iran at the age of eight, Sara was the only Middle Eastern person in her Richmond BC elementary school at that time. Her early struggles communicating in English and trying to fit in to an unwelcoming school community eventually triggers an early activism around school environment and engaging others to try to make a difference. By the time she arrived in high school, her commitment to creating community was solidified, and leadership became an important part of her new identity.
On the basis of these early experiences, Sara became highly active in supporting refugees who need help adjusting to life in their new country. She volunteered for numerous local organizations, advocated for global health causes alongside Senator Jaffer in Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Sara entered the nursing program at UBC to expand her capacity to make a difference. During her program she worked with disenfranchised populations in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, served as the B.C. Youth Ambassador for the Canadian Council for Refugees and served as President of the Civic Association of the Canadian Iranians Youth Group. Ultimately her volunteer work has taken her to nine countries and brought her skills to the attention of many organizations and initiatives.
Sara represented Canada at several international conferences as well as the prestigious Ship for World Youth Program in partnership with UN university in Japan.
Her curricular and extra-curricular learning opportunities led her to specialize in maternal health, and her passion these days is women’s health issues. Just as her parents moved the family from Iran to Canada in response to a lack of academic opportunities for women, she hopes to extend her knowledge to women in other countries.
She also hopes to continue her work abroad, perhaps with an organization like Doctors Without Borders, and she has an online project in the works, currently dubbed globalactivism.ca, through which to write about people working to make their respective communities a better place. In the future, she hopes to get a master’s degree in public health so that she can help develop public policy to alleviate the social inequality she has seen both in Canada and abroad. In the meantime, she draws on the powerful stories of her patients to inform a deeper understanding of how the most vulnerable members of society are treated, and what role nursing can play in making a difference.
She is currently working with the National Alliance for Children and Youth to create an agenda for the federal government about issues youth are facing in Canada which include poverty and education.
Despite the early stage of her professional career in nursing, Sara’s extraordinary work has already been acknowledged through numerous recognitions. Among these are the Outstanding Youth Award from the Mayor of North Vancouver, a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the YWCA Vancouver Young Woman of Distinction Award, and a prestigious fellowship from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
She was also been named by the Royal Bank of Canada as one of Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants for 2013. It would be no surprise, therefore, that on graduation in May 2013, UBC would name her as one of its graduates “most likely to change the world.”
Sara is clearly a force of nature, and the School will be watching her career with admiration and pride
For Fuchsia Howard, nursing and health care have been a core part of who she is and her life’s direction since she was a young girl. Her choices may not have always seemed obvious, but her journey has caught the attention of many of her colleagues and friends and offers inspiration on a number of levels.
Her relationship with the UBC School of Nursing began after working for four years in acute care at Vancouver General Hospital; she decided to pursue a master’s degree. She had a background in surgical oncology and knew this was where she would focus her research.
Near the end of her program she applied for and received funding from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, but it would not begin until after she completed her MSN. The obvious decision to Fuchsia was that she should apply to the PhD program and continue her research.
Her doctoral thesis was on women’s decision making about risk-reducing strategies in the context of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. “I examined the process of making those decisions, as well as women’s constructions of the right time to make those decisions.”
“I’ve always been interested in women’s health,” she says, “partially because throughout my life I have been surrounded by very strong and amazing women. I could see there was sometimes inattention to women’s needs and wanted to help address this.”
Fuchsia is drawn to qualitative research, “because it provides voice to patients as opposed to the voice of a dominant discourse. I think this interest was influenced by my mom who is partially nonverbal and thus, often needs assistance to express herself and her wishes and really relies on the people around her.”
When she was about five years old, Fuchsia’s mother was in a car accident and suffered severe injuries that included a traumatic brain injury and quadriplegia. Her brain injury affected her such that she couldn’t eat or speak, and she had significant difficulties with her memory. She was transferred to Vancouver (from their hometown of Nelson) and spent two years there before returning to Nelson, where she was placed in an extended care facility. She remained in the facility for about ten years, during which time a group of individuals eventually advocated for her and fought for her transfer to community care.
Once she moved into the community she became more engaged, began making numerous efforts to communicate with those around her and, with assistance, now leads an active social life. “It’s been amazing to see the changes in her. She is engaged and is happy” says Fuchsia. “Sometimes I get really down on the world, and then I think how ridiculous that is. My mom is able to have a positive attitude and says wonderful things about the world. In spite of everything she’s gone through she still manages to shine and inspire the people around her.”
When it comes to life and death situations and decision-making her mother’s care team often looks to Fuchsia. Although honoured, she finds this difficult at times, because as a nurse she has opinions about what is right for a patient, but as a daughter she sometimes views things quite differently.
“It’s been challenging for me as a nurse, who believes very strongly in the rights of patients and honouring their perspectives, yet not seeing that be the case with my mother in some health care situations. But in a way being a nurse has really helped, and my mom’s situation was ultimately one of the reasons I went into nursing – I wanted to be informed and didn’t want to be on the outside of her care.”
“One of the problems is that she is among the first people to survive so long after such a traumatic accident. Another is that when health care professionals first see her some see a woman who is disabled, speaks slowly, can’t eat and who might not remember meeting them. They don’t understand how much she has accomplished in spite of those things.”
As someone who has really learned from the people who support her mother, Fuchsia knows that there are effective ways of engaging with individuals. As with her research, she focuses on patient-centered engagement. “So for my mom,” she says, “rather than asking questions about what she did yesterday, we tell her what she did, which triggers her memory, and then we can begin to have a conversation. You really need to learn to engage under her terms.”
Her mother’s accident, and consequent care, has shaped the way that Fuchsia approaches her research and the way she views health care relationships. She sees the importance of patient-centered care and knows the benefits first-hand.
In her research Fuchsia uses a relational approach, which recognizes that peoples’ decision-making occurs within the context of their lives. People can only enact a decision as long as a choice is available to them. And she recognizes that the group of women that have been advocating for her mother all these years are a huge part of her mother’s ability to make those choices about her own life and health. “It’s been so interesting to witness how their commitment to her influences the health care professionals’ commitment to my mom, but also who my mom becomes.”
Seeing her mother struggle against and overcome her life’s obstacles enabled Fuchsia to do her PhD. “Witnessing her overcome things that no one thought possible gave me the confidence to pursue those dreams.”
“Growing up people always said that it must have been difficult, but I never saw it that way. I always saw her as my mom, and didn’t know her any other way. I think that if anything, she has given more to me because I have been able to look up to her as a role model who can overcome obstacles, and is proud to be who she is.”
Priscilla Taipale was born in Moosonee, in Northern Ontario, a small town with a population of approximately 2000 people. There is no road and access is only by plane or train. The community – comprised of about 85% native people – is very isolated.
Though educational opportunities were minimal in Moosonee, Priscilla’s father was adamant that his daughters be involved in as many academic and learning opportunities as were available. Neither of her parents had graduated high school, but both value a formal education. “In that kind of isolation, you don’t have many opportunities and can often get into trouble” says Priscilla. Which is why, when she was 16, her parents sent her to Sudbury to complete her final years of high school.
Going from a school of 300 to one of 1500 students in a much bigger city without her parents was tough, she recalls. “It was a huge culture shock. I felt like I didn’t belong and I would call and beg them to let me come home.”
No one in her family had a background in health care, but through lifeguarding and learning first aid, her interest was sparked. She enrolled in Laurentian University and completed the undergraduate nursing program there, marking her as the first of her family to obtain a university degree.
Priscilla decided to take her new education to BC. She worked in general surgery, critical care and the ICU at Chilliwack hospital before obtaining a position in cardiac surgery ICU at VGH. “That move shaped the rest of my career” she says. After six years she decided to travel and spent time working in London, England in a cardiac specialty centre – work that would have a huge impact on her master’s thesis. Upon return, she entered the UBC MSN program. “When a small grant came up through Vancouver Coastal Health for nursing research,” she says, “I knew would be a fantastic opportunity to show other nurses that you can both be involved in patient care and do research.” She applied and was awarded the grant ($5000).
Her thesis focus originated from comparing the cardiac care practice here and in the UK. She had noticed big differences in the ways that pain and sedation were administered and wondered about the culture and decision-making processes involved in nurses’ medicating practices. She proposed that patients were being given not enough pain medication and too much sedation, contributing to the incidence of delirium. “I looked at post-operative delirium in cardiac surgery patients related to the PRN (a medical term meaning "as the situation arises") administration of analgesia and sedation in cardiac surgery ICU.”
“This research really highlights the risk factors for patients who develop delirium and the need for adequate delirium assessments” she says. “This has significant implications for cost, length of stay and prolonged cognitive impairment. Nurses can really look at their own practice to create better outcomes.”
As she was finishing her thesis last January, Priscilla realized she wasn’t ready to be finished, and that she would apply to the PhD program. She is evolving her work through her dissertation, looking at the way that analgesia is being given to patients and thinking about pain. “Seventy percent of ICU patients have moderate to severe pain” she says. “We’ve been looking at pain for how long? And we’re still not getting it.”
Her stance is that the disparities in pain management are not only a knowledge issue but also an issue of attitudes, values and beliefs. She is working with faculty member Tarnia Taverner, who specializes in pain management, to conduct both qualitative and quantitative assessments of pain management at three sites, on the units where nurses are highly involved in the administration of analgesia: palliative care, ICU, and recovery room.
Research has become Priscilla’s passion, she says, and was the reason she chose UBC for her graduate studies. She continues to be overwhelmed by the supportive and experienced faculty. “My supervisor, Pam Ratner, has been unbelievable. I didn’t really realize what I was getting myself into when I proposed my thesis project. It’s become much larger than I ever anticipated, but she’s never once let me believe that it was too much or that I couldn’t succeed.”
While completing her PhD, Priscilla is working part-time in the emergency department at VGH. She has just received a Four Year Doctoral Fellowship from UBC. The fellowship, which is based on academic excellence and awarded upon the recommendation by the graduate program, will provide Priscilla with funding to cover both the costs of her tuition and that of her research.
She is very grateful for the support she has received, especially from her father. “He has always encouraged me to work hard and made sure that I realized – no matter where I grew up, or the opportunities that I thought I did or didn't have – that hard work and dedication eventually lead to success.”
“I’ve been really fortunate” she says. “It’s funny when you don’t really plan for things how they all just fall into place.”