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Gail Donner Recipient of Jeanne Mance Award, Canada’s Highest Nursing Honour – News Release

Ottawa, June 8, 2010 – Gail Donner will receive Canada’s most prestigious nursing award, the Jeanne Mance Award, for her positive impact on the practice of nursing in Canada.

“Gail Donner is the true embodiment of what makes a great nursing leader,” said Kaaren Neufeld, president of the Canadian Nurses Association, which presents the award every two years. “Recognized nationally and internationally for her academic excellence and inspiring guidance, Gail is articulate, engaged and influential – and her leadership has had a marked positive impact on health-care delivery systems in Ontario and across Canada. She is an inspiration to us all.”

Professor Emerita at the University of Toronto’s Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, Donner holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing and a PhD in adult education from the University of Toronto, as well as an honorary doctorate from Ryerson University. Donner retired in 2001 as professor and dean from the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto. She has worked in leadership roles at Ryerson Polytechnic Institute (now Ryerson University), the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, and the Hospital for Sick Children. She is now a partner in donnerwheeler, a career planning and development consulting firm.

Donner has held a number of government and community appointments, including member, Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council Hospital restructuring committee; chair, Air Ambulance Review, Ministry of Health, Ontario; and vice-chair of the Director's Advisory Committee on the Long-Term Future of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).

"There are a lot of very well-qualified people who could have been given this award, so although I knew I had been nominated, it still came as a surprise,” said Donner. “I am absolutely honoured to join the company of nursing luminaries such as Bloomberg professor Linda O’Brien-Pallas and former dean Dorothy Pringle, among others, who have made a real difference in nursing and health care in Canada."

Internationally recognized for her contributions to the nursing community, Donner has published extensively and is a popular speaker and presenter on health care and professional nursing issues. Her academic research and consulting interests range from health policy and nursing administration to career planning and development in Canada, the United States, Europe and South Africa.

Donner is an active volunteer in her community. She serves on the board of trustees of the Hospital for Sick Children where she is chair of the Quality Council, and is book editor for the Canadian Journal of Nursing Leadership. She has received numerous awards over the years, including recognition from the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, the Ontario Medical Association, the Canadian Nurses Association and the YWCA of metro Toronto.

The Jeanne Mance Award Since 1971, CNA has honoured a nurse at its biennial convention and annual meeting with the Jeanne Mance Award, which is named after one of Canada’s most inspirational nurses. Jeanne Mance was the first lay nurse in North America, and was founder of the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital and co-founder of the surrounding settlement of Ville-Marie, which later became Montreal.

Nurses nominated for this prestigious award are individuals who have made significant and innovative contributions to the health of Canadians. They have worked to increase the public recognition and awareness of the nursing profession and have positively influenced nursing practice in Canada and abroad. Past recipients include Verna Huffman Splane, Dorothy Kergin, Ginette Lemire Rodger and Judith Oulton.

Donner will be recognized at a gala banquet dinner on June 8, 2010, during CNA’s biennial convention in Halifax, with nurses from across the country in attendance. CNA will also be presenting five Orders of Merit representing the five domains of nursing. The recipients of these awards are:

Clinical nursing practice: Gaylene Molnar, for her inspired work of evolving geriatric nursing care in Canada.

Nursing administration: Alice Reid, for her administrative expertise as a nurse leader, teacher, practitioner and voice for aboriginal health.

Nursing education: Deborah McLeod, for her exceptional work in the field of nursing and psychosocial oncology education.

Nursing research: Greta Cummings, for her substantial contributions to nursing research programs in Canada.

Nursing policy: Elizabeth (Betty) Gourlay, for her tireless contributions to advancing a professional and educated voice for nursing.

About CNA

CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. It is a federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing over 139,000 registered nurses. CNA believes that the sustainability of a quality, publicly funded, not-for-profit health system rests upon a vibrant nursing workforce.

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For more information, contact:

Paul Watson
Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Tel: 613-237-2159 x283
Cell: 613-697-7507 
E-mail: pwatson@cna-aiic.ca