Glennis grew up in New Westminster, BC and graduated from Vancouver General Hospital in 1957 and with a BSN from UBC School of Nursing in 1958. She received a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University in 1969 and a Master’s of Arts in Communications from Simon Fraser University in 1981.
Glennis’s diverse working life has included nursing at Maple Ridge Hospital; New South Wales, Australia; and instructing at the Royal Columbia Hospital in New Westminster. She was an Assistant Editor for The Canadian Nurse from 1963 to 1969, and an editor/reporter for the Canadian Press from 1969-1972. She states that she found the most interesting aspects of her career the combination of nursing and journalism for The Canadian Nurse and the Canadian Press, and later as a freelancer in medical journalism.
From 1973 she has been a freelance writer, editor and writing consultant, working mainly with individuals and organizations in health care areas. A special area of interest is history of nursing and health care. She has a long list of publications and other professional credentials, including editing eight volumes of proceedings published by various health care associations or universities. One worth mentioning is Legacy: the History of Nursing Education at the University of British Columbia 1919-1994. As a writing consultant she has been a resource person for many workshops and a guest speaker at public lectures and meetings.
Glennis presents numerous classes and public speeches on the history of nursing usually attired in a historical nursing costume.
Awards include UBC Nursing Division Award of Distinction 2000, the John B. Neilson Spaulding Award in 2004 for her long-standing contribution to the history of health care in Canada, The UBC Blythe Eagles Volunteer Leadership Award, an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Kwantlen University College in 2006 and in 2016, the UBC Applied Science Dean’s Medal. She is a founding and Honorary Life Member, BCHoN Society
Sheila’s many achievements have been recognized in awards including a medal commemorating the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty’s accession to the throne. She also received an Award of Distinction in 1999 from RNABC for her outstanding contribution to nursing in Canada.
She graduated from the Royal Jubilee Hospital School of Nursing and continued her studies with a BSc in Public Health Nursing in 1967 and a MEd in Psychopedagogy in 1971 from the University of Ottawa. Sheila worked as a staff nurse at a number of hospitals in Vancouver, Fredericton and Ottawa as well as for the VON before teaching at the Ottawa General Hospital. From 1971-1985, she was an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa before moving to BC, where she became a visiting assistant professor the University of Victoria. Since 1995, Sheila has been an adjunct professor, UBC School of Nursing.
Her community and professional involvements include chairing the Planning Committee for the International History of Nursing Conference in 1997, and Committee Chairperson for the Canadian Association of University Schools of Nursing, Learned Societies Conference, in 1989. She has been active as a consultant in the production of films and books. Her own writing includes co-authoring Pharmacology and the Nursing Process and a chapter in Fundamentals of Nursing.
Sheila is a founding member of the BCHoN Society, was instrumental in initiating the oral history project and has raised over $15,000 for HoN Scholarships by handcrafting a collection of miniature historical nursing figures. She is an honorary life member. Sheila has remained involved with the RJH School of Nursing Alumnae and ensured Begbie Hall, at RJH, was selected as a residence worthy of designation of National Historic significance.
Sheila has been an active member of her community, serving on various committees to improve health care.
Betty graduated from VGH in 1956 and with a BSN from UBC in 1957. From 1978 to 1981, she took her Master’s of Science in Health Services Planning. She worked mostly as a Public Health Nurse for the City of Vancouver and the Simon Fraser Health Unit, which gave her great career satisfaction. Professional and community involvement included 25 years on the St. Mary’s Hospital Board where she chaired and participated in numerous committees. She states that this broadened her appreciation of health care delivery beyond the community level.
Anne Wyness received her BSN (Honors) from UBC in 1965 and her Master’s in Nursing from the University of Washington in 1972. She taught at the Atkinson School of Nursing at Toronto Western Hospital, the University of Toronto, and from 1973 at UBC’s School of Nursing. She states that “Teaching in clinical settings is of particular interest to me and I teach effectively in acute medical and surgical settings as well as in classroom settings”.
Her professional contributions include extensive publications and numerous presentations. She chaired the first Patient Education Committee at VGH, which provided a basis for the ongoing development of patient education initiatives at the hospital. She participated in the development of the first neuroscience certification examination of the Canadian Nurses’ Association, and the evaluation of the outcomes of the first nursing elective in HIV/AIDS care in Canada.
Alison followed her graduation from VGH in 1933 with a BASc in nursing from UBC the following year. Her initial position at Ottawa Civic Hospital ended when a diagnosis of tuberculosis led to required rest. She resumed nursing at VGH in 1935, becoming an instructor from 1938 until her marriage in 1941. During the war she taught Red Cross Home Nursing, and War and Emergencies in Brownsburg, Quebec.
She became active in volunteer work on her return to Vancouver in 1945. A member of the Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association, she helped to plan Alumnae Manor for retired VGH nurses. She was Chair of the Arrangements Committee for the 1950 Canadian Nurses Association Biennial Convention held in Vancouver.
Recognition in her later life included Life Memberships in the VGH School of Nursing Association and in the United Church Women. Throughout her life she was deeply committed to the idea of developing the complete nurse. In furtherance of that goal she endowed the Reid-Wyness Graduate Scholarship in Nursing at UBC.
After graduation from the Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing in 1918, Wright first worked in pediatrics at Vancouver General Hospital, then in hospitals in California and New York. She received her Bachelor of Science from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, New York, in 1941 and also took a post-graduate course in pediatrics at New York Nursery and Children’s Hospital,
As Registrar and Executive Secretary of the RNABC from 1943 to her retirement in 1960, she initiated efforts to establish collective bargaining for nurses in BC and in Canada. She was named an Honorary Life Member of the RNABC in 1952, and an Honorary Life Member of the Canadian Nurses Association in 1962 for her pioneering labor relations work, and for her many professional contributions nationally and internationally through the International Council of Nurses. Her collection of antique infant feeding devices was donated to UBC Woodward Library Special Collections in 1965.
Evelyn trained as a nurse in Leicester, England, and worked as a midwife in the slums of Glasgow. She came to Canada and married 70-year-old Colonel George Worsley in Sandwick, near Courtenay in 1938. After her husband’s death a decade later, she lived in a cottage at Gordon Head.
The high point of her nursing career was becoming nurse-in-charge of the leprosarium on Bentinck Island, nine miles south of Victoria, from 1951 until its closure in 1956. Here patients with Hansen’s disease received the sulfa drugs and humane treatment that allowed most to eventually return to their community.
Mary Mack took her nursing training at VGH from 1930-1932, often working a night shift from 7 pm to 7 am and then attending classes the next day. She was drawn to Public Health because of her concern with the numerous poor, taking this course at UBC. She worked in TB control until her marriage.
She returned to nursing in 1955 in Enderby, administering polio injections and working actively in schools in immunization and public health. She was also a promoter of preventative medicine and active in rural and environmental issues. Her proudest moment was the designation of the Cliff as a provincial park.
Lillian Wooding arrived in Victoria with her family in 1913. She graduated from VGH in 1921, and, after a few years’ nursing, began work with the VON in 1928. This home care often enabled people to recover from their illness without needing to enter hospital. From 1930 to 1936 Lillian worked out of Winnipeg, combining nursing with practical family care. She moved to Gibsons in 1936, where her territory extended up to Powell River, and also worked as a school nurse.
She believes that the current mounting cost of health care could lead to a revitalized VON, providing more economical and effective care in a home setting. Her hobbies included photography, with her work appearing in several Canadian magazines.
See Oral History Files, Fonds 18, Series 3, Subseries 8
Bea Wood graduated from VGH in 1922 and from UBC BASc(N) (first class) in 1923. She received first class standing in the provincial nursing exams, and won UBC’s Governor General award. She became head nurse of the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Operating Room at VGH, and then worked with the VON in Montreal, giving health lectures and providing pre- and post-natal care.
Bea returned to Vancouver to become the first head nurse at the Vancouver General Hospital Emergency Department. When she married the well-known UBC drama and theatre producer Frederick Wood, she left full time nursing, but continued to volunteer at VGH with the Women’s Auxiliary, and work during WWII with the Red Cross Blood Donor clinics.
After Eula Ledingham’s graduation from VGH and UBC School of Nursing in 1927, she worked as a supervisor at the California Lutheran Hospital in Los Angeles. She soon moved back to Vancouver where she married Marvin Wilson. In 1943 she joined the navy and became matron of the HMCS Cornwallis, later being posted to the HMCS Naden.
In 1946 she was awarded the Royal Red Cross, and in 1947 appointed matron-in-chief of the Royal Canadian Nursing Service. She was promoted to lieutenant –commander, responsible for running the nursing branch of the Royal Canadian Navy and in charge of the navy hospital HMCS Stadacona.
In 1947 she divorced her husband and a year later married Commander John Wolfenden. On her death she received a full naval honors funeral, the first in Canada accorded a woman.
Carol Winter received her RN from Foothills Hospital in Calgary, her Bachelor’s from the University of Alberta and her Master’s in Health Administration from UBC, where she won the Robert Johnson award for her potential as a senior Canadian health service manager.
Carol nursed at Shaughnessy Hospital, St. Paul’s, and Edmonton General. At St. Paul’s she became Head Nurse, then Acting Director of Surgical Nursing, responsible for eight surgical units with a total of 212 beds and 287 full time staff. She gave numerous speeches and presentations on Orthopedic Nursing and Management Techniques, and was active in nursing committee work. She was known for her outstanding leadership abilities, but died early from malignant melanoma.
Growing up poor in Saskatchewan, Rosemary was drawn to nursing because it promised three years of food and shelter. She graduated from St. Eugene’s Hospital in Cranbrook with her RN in 1943, and worked in mostly smaller hospitals throughout BC. In one hospital twelve nurses took care of 92 patients around the clock. She believes “smaller hospitals still have great capability”.
Dr. Marilyn Willman was appointed Director of UBC’s School of Nursing from 1977 to 1993. Previously she had been President of the University of Texas School of Nursing, whose faculty she had joined in 1961. She had received her BScN from the University of Michigan, her Master’s from the University of Texas Medical Branch and her Doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Willman believed that more and better-educated nurses were BC’s prime need. She argued that education of nurses belongs in the classroom, whether at the university or community college level. She encouraged more nurses to get their degrees, and to enhance continuing education so that nurses can upgrade their qualifications and keep up-to-date on newer procedures. During her tenure a 4-year baccalaureate program was reinstated, a PhD program was introduced and a collaborative BSN program with VGH School of Nursing was introduced. In 1993, she retired in Richmond BC.
Eva “Billie” Williamson valued education as a lifelong pursuit. She graduated from VGH in 1940, receiving the Alison Cumming medal in medical nursing. She followed this with a Certificate in Public Health Nursing in1942 and a BASc(N) in 1947 from UBC. Further education included a Master’s in Arts from Columbia University Teachers’ College in 1951 and a Master’s in Public Health Administration from UCLA (Berkeley).
She has held several positions as a Staff Nurse, Supervisor, and Associate Director/ Director of Public Health with the Vancouver Health Department. This was followed by a rewarding time teaching Public Health Nursing for WHO in Sri Lanka from 1954 to 1956. In her work she emphasized “health promotion through education and preventative measures to effect ‘high-level wellness’ in the people and communities served”. On the City of Vancouver’s 100th birthday in 1986 she was honored with a Distinguished Pioneer award from the city. Billie wrote a book about her experiences titled Billie girl: a story of life in progress, published in 2007.
Ursula opened the first Lower Mainland clinic for venereal disease. She had been born in Mauritius and spent much of her early life in England before coming to Kelowna in 1912 to help look after her invalid mother. She took nursing at McGill, although it was not until 1959 that she completed her UBC BA.
In 1930 she moved with her sister from Victoria to Vancouver. Here Fif became a social worker and nursing instructor at VGH. She studied epidemiology in New York before opening a venereal disease clinic in Vancouver. She became senior psychiatric social worker at Shaughnessy Military Hospital, and later Director of Social Work at VGH, retiring in 1963.
After her retirement, she and her sister took two extensive driving tours of Europe. They are reported to have sung their praises of God in the morning, and in the evening capped their day with a stiff drink. In retirement she was active in the University Women’s Club and the Unitarian Church.
Elsie Connor was from a Heffley Creek pioneer ranching family north of Kamloops. She completed her nursing training in 1929 at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital, and worked in the Irving Clinic from 1930 to 1945. She was a member of the Royal Inland Hospital Alumnae and the Hospital Auxiliary, and President of the Alumnae in 1957. Gwen Kavanagh describes her as a “lovely lady. The world is a better place for her kindness”.
Ethel started her training at Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary, but contracting TB in 1932 delayed her graduation until 1936 and limited her subsequent nursing. She took a business course and did office nursing for four years, then worked at Tranquille TB Sanatorium in Kamloops. She resigned after her marriage in 1941, but went back to general duty at the Nelson Hospital December 31, 1954. She later worked in CSR for ten years.
Patricia Wadsworth followed her 1954 diploma in nursing from VGH with a BSN in Nursing, Teaching and Administration from UBC in 1955, and her Master’s in Adult Education from UBC in 1970. She spent many years as a teacher and nurse in BC, mostly in supervisory roles, and from 1975 to 1978 was Director Patient Services at VGH and from 1978-1985, Executive Director, B.C. Health Association. She was an active contributor to many professional associations, gave many presentations, and was active as a consultant. Her awards have included a Meritorious Award from the BC Health Association, and an Award of Distinction from RNABC.
Her areas of expertise include organizational reviews, reorganization and on-site administration, and providing advice to individuals and organizations on a wide variety of healthcare issues. She was invited by the American Hospital Association to be a surveyor for the first Canadian association on accreditation, and developed a national protocol for the sharing of resources and collaboration among provincial associations and the national association.
Muriel Upshall was born September 18, 1906 in High River, Alberta. She graduated from the Vancouver General Hospital and University of British Columbia schools of nursing in 1929.
For seven and a half years, she worked for the Provincial Board of Health in Nanaimo. From 1936-1937, she worked with tuberculosis patients as one of the first public health nurses in Richmond where she and Eileen Williams helped found the public health nursing program. Upshall then joined the UBC Student Health Services on the campus and worked there until her retirement in 1971.
She was active with the Canadian Alpine Club, and part owner of a cabin on Hollyburn, above West Vancouver. She made more than ten visits to Lake O’Hara in the Rocky Mountains, and also travelled extensively in the USA, Great Britain, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the West Indies. She was also a member of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, and the VGH Alumnae Association.
Never a nurse, Muriel Uprichard started her working life as a teacher. During the Depression she taught in Saskatchewan schools, following which she studied at Queens University, receiving her BA in 1943, and subsequently her MA from Smith College. She went to England on a British Council Scholarship, and received her PHd in educational psychology magna cum laude from the University of London in 1947.
On her return to Canada in 1948 she joined the Red Cross, and began to work as well with the Canadian Nurses’ Association. She was a consultant to the CNA from 1950 to 1955 on an experiment to improve patient care. A decade teaching at the University of Toronto was followed by teaching at the University of California’s School of Nursing from 1965 to 1971. She was Director of the UBC School of Nursing from 1971 to 1977, tumultuous years in education; Ethel Warbinek describes her as “a woman of vision and a great conceptualizer and innovator”.
Martha (Annie) was born on a farm south of present day Madoc, Ontario. After completing her matriculation at Albert College, Belleville, she moved to Saskatchewan, where she completed her training at the Moose Jaw General Hospital School of Nursing in 1913. She followed this with six months of training in City Infectious Cases at the Women’s Hospital in Buffalo, New York.
In 1916 she joined the Canadian Army Medical Corps and travelled to England with the 8th Stationary Hospital. Surgery for appendicitis led to her return to Canada, but in 1917 she was posted to the 2nd Canadian Hospital in France. After the war she studied and worked in Buffalo, later taking her diploma in Public Health Nursing from the University of Toronto. She worked for the VON in Trenton, then in 1928 became the first VON Public Health nurse in the Okanagan. In her later years her hobbies included beekeeping and painting.
Ferne Trout was born in Arcola, Saskatchewan, growing up in various parts of British Columbia. She attended UBC where she received her Bachelor of Arts in 1939, a diploma from VGH in 1942 and her Bachelor of Applied Science in Nursing from UBC in 1944. Later she received a Diploma in Hospital Administration from the University of Toronto (1964). During her UBC training she contracted tuberculosis and was hospitalized in Tranquille for six months, after which she ran the new affiliation program with the Division of TB control.
Her numerous positions included a year at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, itinerant instructor for the RNABC, Assistant Director of Nursing at the new Pearson Hospital in Vancouver, Educational Director of the Royal Inland Hospital, and Associate Executive Director for the Canadian Council on Hospital Accreditation. Her final positions were Director of Patient Services at Shaughnessy Hospital in Vancouver from 1978-1980, and Director of Special Projects at the Vancouver General Hospital from 1980-1983. After her retirement in 1983, her active life included taking a safari to Africa in her 80s.
Victoria Protti was born in Pocahontas, Alberta. Because her parents both died when she was two, she was raised in a convent. She received her RN from the Edmonton General Hospital in 1938. She also received a Teaching and Supervision certificate from McGill in 1948, and a BSCN from the University of Alberta in 1965. She worked at a number of hospitals in Alberta, and instructed at Edmonton General Hospital. From 1955 to 1959 she was Assistant Director of Nursing at the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.
Bernadet Ratsoy described Victoria as a mentor and innovator, who risked the repercussions of standing up to doctors whose work was poor. She spent the latter years of her life in her White Rock home.
Born in England, Mary Ann was hired in 1855 as a certified nurse to care for Eliza Trethewey of Crich, England, and came to Canada in the same year. Her family were pioneer farmers in Ontario, where Mary Ann resumed nursing. In 1882 she came to BC, where she was hired by the CPR as a nurse.
In 1884 she advertised her services as a “duly qualified and certificated nurse”, and took in patients for nursing care at a nursing home that included a store and small hotel on the banks of the Fraser just below Mission. For many years she was the only nurse in the area. Cora Trethewey (see above) was her granddaughter.
Edna graduated from VGH in 1940 and from UBC in 1941, with a BASc(N). After graduation, she worked for the Provincial Board of Health in Saanich. She ceased regular nursing when she married in 1942, but resumed in 1956 when she moved back to Vancouver. She was a public health nurse in Vancouver from 1956-1961, and in Burnaby from 1961-1978.
In 1980 she founded the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society to support terminally ill patients and their families. 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; in 2006 her many years of service were recognized by having her name placed on the Tree of Life plaque in the newly opened McKenney Creek Hospice in Maple Ridge.
The Trethewey family was well-known BC pioneers in logging and mining in the Lower Mainland. Cora, whose grandmother was the pioneer nurse Mary Ann Trethewey, attended boarding schools in Vancouver and later college in Ontario. She graduated from the VGH School of Nursing in 1922, and throughout her life combined nursing with travel. When she died she left $50,000 to the VGH School of Nursing Alumni Association to provide short-term assistance for VGH graduates who have limited income or are in financial need.
Edith White Tisdall was born in Vancouver, where her entrepreneurial father was a gunsmith and retail merchant; by the time she entered the UBC School of Nursing in 1923, he had served two terms as a Member (Conservative) of the Legislature in Victoria. He became mayor of and long-serving alderman for Vancouver.
At UBC, Edith nicknamed “Toddy”, was actively involved 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 VGH in 1929. As one of the early UBC Nursing graduates, she embraced the new field of provincial public health and school nursing, moving to Kelowna after graduation to become school nurse for the district.
Although she stopped nursing with her marriage to Harley Robert Hatfield in 1932, she maintained a lifelong interest in public health nursing, keeping contact with classmates such as Muriel Upshall. For most of her married life, the couple and their four children lived in Penticton, where her husband ran a major construction company.
Born in Iceland, Bertha emigrated from Isafhjorfur to Winnipeg in 1893. Her family homesteaded in the Holar District in southeastern Saskatchewan. After training as a nurse at the Winnipeg General Hospital, Bertha went overseas with the Canadian Expeditionary Force where she served until the end of World War I.
After the war she trained in Public Health at UBC, then worked in the Vancouver General Hospital. She married Roy Thomson in 1925, but he died when Bertha was forty-three, leaving her with two small children. She moved to Keremeos, where she nursed in primitive conditions to improve the health of the residents.
From 1947 to 1954 she ran Hofn, the Icelandic Care Home in Vancouver. Later she lived in New York and Toronto before returning for her final years in Vancouver. Her life was characterized by selfless care and service to her family and community.
Born in Nova Scotia, Ray received his RN from the Victoria General Hospital School of Nursing in Halifax, and his BScN and MSN from the University of Western Ontario. He worked as a nurse and instructor at a number of hospitals, including the Toronto General Hospital and the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing. From 1972 he was a faculty member (the first male) at the UBC School of Nursing.
In his later years the main focus of his teaching was community health nursing. His greatest areas of satisfaction have been clinical practice and the clinical teaching of students, as he believes that clinical practice is the essence of nursing.
Jill Thompson was born in Saskatoon, receiving her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Saskatchewan in 1960. She held various nursing and instructor positions at Kelowna General Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing, and Guys Hospital in London, England.
From 1970-1971, she completed a public health nursing course as well as other coursework in health care and epidemiology at the UBC School of Nursing. From 1971-1977 she was a public health nurse for the South Okanagan Health Unit in Kelowna, BC. In 1984 she received her Master’s of Education from UBC.
Jill taught nursing in the Diploma Nursing Program at Okanagan College as well as the University College of Fraser Valley. Upon retirement from teaching, she joined the BC History of Nursing Society, where she held various positions as Chair, Oral History Committee; Membership chair; Newsletter guest editor with husband, Bruce Beaudreau, and coordinator of BCHNS’s historical displays at the Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia (RNABC). She also wrote for the society’s newsletter, and was recognized by the society for her knowledge of nursing history and her research into the life of Florence Nightingale.
Margaret Thatcher was especially known for her work with tuberculosis patients. She was born in Victorian England, her father an Anglican clergyman, and arrived in Canada with her parents in 1907. After her graduation from the University of Alberta, she attended the School of Nursing at Kootenay Lake General Hospital in Nelson, then took the public health nursing course at UBC. Following graduation, she worked in various locations as a public health and was asked by a child welfare worker to care for twin boys whose mother was ill with TB. Later on she adopted them.
Her first involvement with tuberculosis nursing was with the Rotary Clinic in Vancouver. She worked for many years on the staff of the Chest Clinic on Willow St., being the charge nurse here from 1944 to 1952. Throughout her life she was known for her gentle, positive personality, her quick wit, and dry sense of humour.