Fairley, Grace (1881-1969)

gracefairleyGrace Fairley was born in 1881 in Scotland, where she was trained as a nurse at Swansea General Hospital before coming to Canada in 1912.  After working in Montreal at the Alexandra Hospital, as superintendent of nurses at the Hamilton General Hospital and  in 1924, in London Ontario,  she came to Vancouver to be Director of Nursing and Principal of the School at Vancouver General Hospital from 1929 until her retirement in 1943. She raised the pre-requisite standards, helped close small training schools, ended menial labour, improved working conditions by introducing the 8-hour shift and increased hours of classroom instruction. She also lobbied for a new School of Nursing Student Residence

Her many administrative positions include vice-president of the American Hospital Association from 1916-1917, president of the RNABC, third vice-president of the International Council of Nurses from 1941-1953, and president of the CNA from 1938-1943.  She received the Agnes Snively memorial medal in 1943 and a Centennial Medal in 1949.

Dr. Helen Mussallem, one of her former students, comments that she “saw the nurse’s role extending beyond the hospital, and introduced into her nursing education program many types of clinical experiences that were real innovations at that time”.

Contents of Biographical File

  1. Biographical Sketch
  2. Materials in support of nomination to the CNA Memorial Book.
  3. Writings by Fairley
    1.  “The Nursing and Treatment of Contagious Diseases as a Special Course,” The Canadian Nurse 12 (10), (1916) 571-574.
    2.  “A Curriculum for Schools of Nursing in Canada,” The Canadian Nurse 27 (9), (1931), 476-479.
    3. “A New Teaching Device,” The Canadian Nurse 29 (6), (1933), 303-304.
    4. “So You are Coming to Vancouver,” The Canadian Nurse 31 (4), (1936), 154-155.
    5. “An Open Letter,” The Canadian Nurse 34 (10), (1938), 579-580.
  4.  “The Snively Medal Awards,” Ellis, K.  “Grace M. Fairley,” The Canadian Nurse 38 (6), (1942), 383-384.
  5. “Ready for New Tasks,” The Canadian Nurse 39 (4), (1943), 259-260.
  6. “An Honour for Canada,” The Canadian Nurse 37 (11), (1941).
  7. “Nursing Service Recognized,” The Vancouver Sun, May 4, 1949.
  8. Campbell, Marjorie Campbell. (1956). Miss Grace M. Fairley (pp. 94-113). In Campbell, M.C., The Hamilton General Hospital School of Nursing 1890-1955. Toronto: Ryerson Press.
  9. “Crusading Nurse Dies,” Nursing Times, August 7, 1969.
  10. Paulson, Esther, “Memories of Grace Fairley,” February 1999.
  11. Obituary, The Canadian Nurse 65 (5), (1969), 18.
  12. B&W photograph
  13. Biographical information
  14. Notes by Alison Wyness
  15. Vital Statistics Death Registration Index