In Honour of Jean MacDonald

  • Photo credit Maggie Vanoeveren

    Jean MacDonald (formerly McAuley)

  • Sponsor: Perioperative Registered Nurses Association of BC

Jean MacDonald was born in Vancouver and grew up during the depression years in Chilliwack, BC., where she attended school.

As a nine-year-old child Jean was hospitalized with bilateral mastoiditis.  It was during this hospital stay that Jean, impressed by the work of the nurses, decided to pursue a career in nursing.   Jean trained at St. Paul’s hospital in Vancouver graduating in 1949.

With more nurses than nursing positions available, Jean returned to Chilliwack where she did some private nursing while she applied to the airlines, and also to the six months, Operating Room Nursing Post Graduate program at Vancouver General hospital (VGH).    Fortunately for the nursing profession, Jean’s acceptance to the post graduate program arrived first.

Following Graduation from the OR program, Jean worked for three years in the OR at VGH before heading to Ontario where she worked at both Kingston General and Ottawa Civic Hospitals.  Jean returned to Vancouver in the mid nineteen fifties, and was a full-time mother until being widowed in 1962.    After completing a refresher course, Jean resumed work in the OR at VGH, where she remained for the next 20years.   During these years, Jean worked primarily in the Urology specialty before becoming OR Supervisor responsible for all human resource matters.   It was in this role that Jean successfully advocated for the hiring of technicians to function in the scrub role.

As an early member of BC Operating Room Nurses Group, Jean volunteered for conference planning, organizing both the Entertainment and Exhibitors committees.   Jean continues to meet regularly for lunch with retired BCORNG members and remains the fashionista of the group.   Jean recognises that a nursing career allowed her to support herself and her daughter, and continues to offer nurses the opportunity to work anywhere in the world.