Thelma Midori, RN, BSN, MEd, was an extraordinary and visionary nurse educator who was hired by Camosun College to coordinate Vancouver Island’s first nursing diploma program located in an educational institution rather than a hospital. Controversial in its day, she and her new faculty began the program with 82 students in 1980. Thelma’s collaborative principle-driven approach rooted nursing education in a holistic philosophy. She reconceived nursing education based on adult learning theory.
In the 1990’s, together with the nursing faculty at the University of Victoria and three other B.C. community colleges, Thelma was instrumental in creating a collaborative nursing program offering a baccalaureate degree in nursing. This collaborative model, as well as the caring curriculum it offered, was at the leading edge across North America. Thelma’s approach to education was always innovative and inspiring to her faculty and staff.
One of Thelma’s legacies is the thousands of proficient and caring nurses who provide quality health care around the world. In 1991, Thelma was appointed dean of health and human services at Camosun. In this role she created opportunities to support aboriginal education and aboriginal nursing and developed a range of community and allied health programs. After recovering from an illness several years ago, Thelma emerged as the “laughing gentle warrior.” She retired in 2005 and died of breast cancer at age 67 in April 2012. Thelma’s legacy at Camosun and in her community reaches far beyond nursing. Her name is invoked with love and with laughter. She continues to inspire.