In Honour of Glennis Zilm

Photo credit: BCHNS

Born in Saskatchewan, Glennis grew up in New Westminster, BC, and graduated from Vancouver General Hospital in 1957 and from UBC Nursing in 1958, a member of the infamous and close-knit BSN class that contributed more than its fair share of national leaders in nursing practice, education, and research during the latter half of the 20th century.  She received a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University in 1969 and a Master of Arts in Communications from Simon Fraser University in 1981.

Glennis’ diverse working life has included nursing at Maple Ridge Hospital; public health nursing in New South Wales, Australia; and instructing at the Royal Columbian Hospital, new Westminster.  She was an Assistant Editor of The Canadian Nurse  from 1963 to 1969, and an editor/reporter for  The Canadian Press from 1969-1972.  She says that she found the most interesting aspects of her career the combination of nursing and journalism.  She is the author of more than 250 articles and stories that have appeared in national and international newsletters, news papers, magazines, and professional  peer-reviewed nursing journals, including some that have been translated in to French, Japanese, and Hebrew.

Since 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.  Her long lists of publications and other professional credentials, including editing eight volumes of proceedings published by various health care associations or universities.  She is co-author, with Ethel Warbinek, of  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 across Canada.  Later in her career, Glennis presented numerous classes and public speeches on the history of nursing, usually attired in a historical nursing costume.

In 1998, she wrote a text on writing skills for student nurses: The SMART Way: An introduction to writing for nurses (Toronto: Saunders).  With a new co-author, she expanded and updated a fourth edition, The SMART Way: Introduction to Writing for Health Professionals; this was released by Elsevier Canada in Spring 2019.

Glennis has been granted numerous awards including an Honourary Doctor of Letters from Kwantlen Polytechnic University in 2006 and the John B. Neilson Spaulding Award in 2004 for long-standing contributions to history of health care in Canada.  She has received several UBC Awards, including the Nursing Division Award of Distinction 2000, the UBC Blythe Eagles Volunteer Leadership Award in 2010, the Applied Science Dean`s Medal in 2016, and the Alumni Builder Award in 2021.  She is a founding and Honourary Life Member of the BC History of Nursing Society.