Remembering DR. HELEN NISKALA 1929-2018

We are saddened to hear of the passing of Helen Niskala, one of the founding members of the BC History of Nursing Society, and a supporter of the group for many years. A tribute to Helen can be found on the UBC School of Nursing website at:
At Helen’s request, there will not be a service. Her ashes will be taken home to Ontario, where they will be placed in with those of her mother in South Porcupine. At that time, there will be a small family gathering to say farewell.


Dr. Susan Armstrong-Reid

Associate member DR. SUSAN ARMSTRONG-REID received the 2018 Lavinia M. Dock award for her recent book China Gadabouts: New Frontiers of Humanitarian Nursing, 1941-51. The book, published by UBC Press, examines previously unexplored and undervalued roles of Western and Chinese nurses in the famous China Convoy’s humanitarian efforts from 1941 to 1951.
The American Association for the History of Nursing gives the Dock award to the author of a book noted for its outstanding research and writing. Susan writes “it was exciting to win the award. It would be lovely to share the news with BC colleagues. Your organization and Glennis Zilm have been extremely supportive of my work.”
For more information about the book, see


Jennifer Stephens
Lydia Wytenbroek PhD



Member LYDIA WYTENBROEK successfully defended her doctoral dissertation for a PhD in the Graduate Program in History at York University in September. Her dissertation title is “American Mission Nurses in Iran, 1907-1947: Faith, Gender and Profession.” Lydia writes “I am very grateful for BCHNS support of my work over the years. I am currently the Rice Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellow in Nursing and Health Care History at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, where I am working on transforming my dissertation into a book!”
For more information about Lydia’s dissertation and her current challenges, check out the Fall Issue of the BC History of Nursing Society Newsletter, page 10.



Jennifer Stephens PhD
Dr. Sally Thorne,, Jennifer Stephens & her children

Member JENNIFER STEPHENS received her PhD from UBC in May 2018. Her dissertation titled “Exploring issues of identity for Adult Hematology Patients” won the best dissertation award. She received the 2018 Kristine Griffith Memorial Graduate Scholarship in Nursing for Outstanding Dissertation. Dr. Sally Thorne was her advisor.
Jennifer is a member of the BCHNS website committee and manages our Facebook and Twitter accounts. She is also on the Archives Committee and responsible for oral histories.


The British Columbia Historical Federation BUZZ provides timely information and is a forum for member societies to publicize events and activities. The following request appeared in the November 2018 issue.
Search underway for public nursing monuments
The BC History of Nursing Society invites you to join them as they search for public monuments and memorials throughout British Columbia that honour nurses. Does your community have any buildings, monuments, memorials, stained glass windows or sculptures that honour nurses?

The society wants to enhance the online exhibits/nursing presentations section on its website that currently features Vancouver Monuments (completed 1996). Please take time to review this presentation and see the memorials currently recorded.
If you know of any monuments throughout BC that honour nurses, please contact the society through their website:

UBC 2018 BSN Orientation

Professor Cheryl Segaric, Cheryl Entwistle (RJH 1908 walking out costume) & Sheila Zerr, Jeanne Manse costume

On August 30, 2018, the UBC School of Nursing welcomed approximately 120 incoming BSN students. The History of Nursing Group has been invited to be part of the orientation program, first by Glennis Zilm, and recently by Cheryl Entwistle and Sheila Zerr. The History Group members dress in costume to present the group’s objectives and programs and encourage the students to become interested and involved with the history of nursing.  This year two students became members following the presentation. The photo pictures Dr. Cheryl Segaric, orientation coodinator, Cheryl Entwishtle in 1908 Walking Out Nursing Costume and Sheila Zerr in Jeanne Manse Costume

Nurse to Remember

Little has been known of Canadian War hero, Mona Parson, a nurse trained in US, but from Nova Scotia. We all should remember her this Remembrance Day.  Click on the link below to watch the youtube video that tells her story.

Website Award Presentation

Ron Hyde, from the BC Historical Federation presented Anita Petersen and Lenore Radom with their BC Best Website Award Sunday, Sept 16th at our TEA & TALES event.  The Award consisted of a certificate each and $250.00 to BCHNS.  Lenore then presented Anita Petersen, our amazing Webmaster with a $250.00 cheque for her creating of the website and her strong support of the website Committee, Beth Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Stephens & Lenore Radom. They are a team which consistently strives to be a “work in progress”.

We wish to sincerely thank Nan Martin for nominating us to the BCHF and Francis Mansbridge, our part time Archivist,  for his very supporting letter.

Watch for video link coming soon

September 16, 2018 successful Tea & Tales event

The Tea & Tales event Sunday September 16th, at Hycroft mansion, featuring 3 authors, was another successful event enjoyed by all 31 who attended.  Authors, Carol Harrison from Terrace, Sonya Grypma & Lisa Smith both from Lower Mainland gave very informative background of their well researched books. Guests were royally served a delicious “Afternoon Tea” by Sheridee Lee Catering & her team!

Members can look forward to a more detailed description & photos of the event in our next newsletter

CAHN/ACHN Annual Conference 2018

President Kathy Murphy sends this photo of the BC representatives at the CAHN/ACHN Conference held in Halifax from June 15-17, 2018. Gloria Stephens, formerly from BC, was Chair of the Hosting Committee.

“In the three days we heard 32 interesting research papers, viewed excellent displays, consumed delicious food, enjoyed some of the Halifax sights and were entertained by some wonderful Maritime musicians and dancers. The Hosting Committee were so gracious, and even the weather cooperated!”

Look for more details about the Conference in an upcoming BCHNS Newsletter.

Rare Books and Special Collections Tour

Here is a photo of BCHNS members that visited the Rare Books and Special Collections at the UBC Library, guided by Archivist Krisztina Laszio, on June 21, 2018. Nan Martin in the foreground is viewing some of the Florence Nightingale letters.
Many of the letters are addressed to Nightingale while others are sent from her or involve other correspondents discussing Nightingale. The letters date from 1877 to 1965. A substantial portion of the collection was purchased from a Bostonian antiquarian book dealer in 1966 and 1967 by the Woodward Library. Online access to these digitized letters can be found at https:///