Christina Bates, curator emeritus in history at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, has written a new book, A Cultural History of the Nurse’s Uniform.

This first and only in-depth analysis of the attire worn by the largest workforce in the health care system explores the role of the nurse’s uniform in creating nursing identity for over a hundred years.

Watch for a review of book in a future BCHNS Newsletter!

Published in November 2012 the book can be ordered by email: ([email protected])

online: (  or by phone: (819-776-8387 or 1-800-555-5621).


Honouring Dr. Helen Mussallem

A  service  to  celebrate  Helen  Mussallem’s  life  will  be  held  at  West  Point  Grey  United  Church,  8th  and  Tolmie,  on  Saturday  January  12th  at  1  PM.

In  lieu  of flowers contributions  may  be  made to  the  Canadian  Nurses  Foundation, 50 Driveway, Ottawa ON, K2P 1E2.

Nursing Leader leaves us,Dr Beverly DuGas

Dr.Beverly Du Gas,  a founding member and the first President of the BC History of Nursing Professional Practise Group, now  Society, suffered  a  severe  stroke  mid  November  and  died  on  November  22nd.

Until  about  a  year  ago, Beverly  regularly  attended  our  meetings & events,  despite  her  many health  challenges.  In April 1998 Beverly was given Honourary Membership Status in the BCHNS for her outstanding & continuous support of the BCHNS.  Beverly’s children honoured her career on her 80th Birthday by sponsoring a portrait doll in the RNABC Memorial Doll Collection, which can be viewed at the CRNBC Library and on this website. 

We honour & recognize all Beverly’s accomplishments, we will all miss her and her unfailing desire to contribute ideas.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to her family.

A service will be held at St.Faith’s Anglican Church Vancouver, Saturday Dec 1,2012 at 10:30 a.m.  Donations can be made to the Church or to the UBC School of Nursing Scholarship Fund.



Beloved BC Nurse, Dr Helen K Mussallem

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.


Congratulations to BCHNS 2012 Honour Roll

BC History of Nursing Society Hycroft Mansion High Tea Event


Cathie Borrie RN,BSN,MPH,LLB with Actress,Patti Allen

On  March  22  at  Hycroft  Mansion,  History  of  Nursing  members  and  guests  enjoyed  a  memorable  and  sensitive  performance  of  a  lyrical  memoir  titled  Mind  and  Memory: You  say  Goodbye,  I  Say  Hello.  Actors  Cathie Borrie (daughter)  and  Patti  Allen (mother),  portrayed  the  “spiritual,  emotional  and  intellectual  revelations  made  possible  by  a  mind  transformed  by  Alzheimer’s”.

Delicious refreshments & silent auction were enjoyed by all.

Cathie  Borrie  is  the  author  of  the  book  “The Long Hello” available at:

2012 CAHN/ACHN Annual Conference

15-17  June 2012, Medicine Hat, Alberta

The 2012 Annual CAHN/ACHN Conference, to be held in Medicine Hat, Alberta on June 15-17, marks the 25th anniversary of our association. Founded in 1987, CAHN/ACHN has an ongoing commitment to stimulate and promote historical scholarship of nursing and health.

The conference theme is: Places and People’s Health: Exploring Nursing in Diverse Contexts. We welcome papers that explore diversity and contingency of nursing knowledge and practice. Aiming at a critical understanding of connections between place and practice, the conference seeks to examine the history of nursing and health care in diverse geographic, social, and political contexts, including rural and remote locations, specialty areas, and various communities.

Reading List: Labor of Love

Labor of Love. A Memoir of Gertrude Richards Ladner 1879 to 1976

  • Authors: Sheila J. Rankin Zerr, Glennis Zilm, Valerie Grant
  • 113p, index, B&W photos/illustrations.

Labor of Love: A Memoir of Gertrude Richards Ladner 1879 to 1976 is based on a short family document written by Edna G. Ladner, daughter of Gertrude Richards Ladner.

Based on the memoirs and family photographs and documents, the book provides insights into the life of a nurse of the early 1900s, her life as a student nurse and her early career as an operating room nurse at the Provincial Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, British Columbia.

It also contains background on the pioneering Richards and Ladner families, as well as data relevant to the history of the Provincial Royal Jubilee Hospital and nursing uniforms of the day.