Dr.Helen Kathleen Mussallem, Canada’s most decorated nursing leader and a native of British Columbia, died on November 10th in Ottawa at 98 years of age.
A graduate of the Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing, she served overseas during World War II. She obtained her baccalaureate in nursing from McGill and master’s and doctoral degrees from Columbia, and returned to administration and teaching at VGH before heading a national study to evaluate schools of nursing.
During her long nursing career she served as Executive Director of the CNA from 1963-1981. Internationally and nationally renowned she was frequently consulted on policies for nursing and nursing education. She received many outstanding national and international awards, including Canada’s highest honor, Companion of the Order of Canada.
She had a special place in her heart for history of nursing and, as a nurse from this province, has supported the BC History of Nursing Society since its inception. She was awarded honourary membership in the Society in 2000.
Her funeral will be held in Ottawa on November 16th. In lieu of flowers her family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Canadian Nurses Foundation. Please watch for further notices about a gathering in Vancouver to honor Dr. Mussallem, probably in January around the time of her birthday.