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CNA Memorial Book honours contributions of exceptional nurses

May 11, 2021 — As we celebrate National Nursing Week, the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is honoured to announce that the names of eight deceased nursing leaders who made significant contributions to the profession will be added to the CNA Memorial Book [PDF, 918.8 KB].

The book of names and biographies provides a way to publicly and consistently recognize former nursing leaders who have contributed to the nursing profession, the health-care system, CNA membership and the public. Recipients were nominated by CNA members and reviewed through a selection process. Additionally, all deceased CNA presidents and executive directors are honoured in the book.

“The Memorial Book is a wonderful piece of history that paints a vivid picture of expert, committed nurses who were a role model or example for others,” said CNA president Tim Guest. “Each page elegantly describes the contributions of nurses, who, in service to their fellow Canadians, elevated the profession and health care in this country.”

The nursing leaders (in alphabetical order) who will be included in the Memorial Book are:

Kay Dier (1922-2018)
Over her nursing career, Kathleen (Kay) Dier served in Canada and abroad in a wide range of nursing leadership positions including staff nurse, associate dean, and consultant. Kay established the nursing station in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, and in 1973, established an early nurse practitioner program at the University of Alberta, in collaboration with medical colleagues. She worked as a senior nurse advisor and consultant with the World Health Organization in various countries. The common theme evident in her contributions was her interest in the most vulnerable members of society, including older adults and people in the Canadian North and internationally. Many nursing education programs around the world (in Pakistan, Thailand, India, and Ghana) can credit their existence and strength to the contributions of Kay Dier. Furthermore, her contributions as an academic leader at the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta were exemplary and transformational.

Joan Gilchrist (1928-2020), former CNA president (1976-1978)
Joan was a force of nature in the nursing world. After functioning as a staff nurse in Toronto, Victoria, and Juno, Alaska, she returned to her alma matter, the School of Nursing at Wellesley Hospital in Toronto as head nurse and instructor. In 1956, she became nursing supervisor at Mount Sinai. It was clear she was headed for major administrative responsibility, and in 1959 she became director of nursing and principal of the School of Nursing at Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. She later went on to become assistant professor of nursing at McGill University and then was promoted to Flora Madeline Shaw Chair as full professor of nursing. In 1983, she went on to become the dean of the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Western Ontario. Her activities within the community of nursing in Canada were no less distinguished, culminating in her presidency of CNA.

Daurene Lewis (1943-2013)
Dr. Daurene Lewis was the seventh generation of Black Loyalists who settled in Annapolis Royal in 1763. Her many careers included administrator, nurse, nursing instructor, businesswoman and politician. She was a graduate of the Children’s Hospital School of Nursing (RN) in Halifax in 1963 and Dalhousie University (diploma in teaching). In 1979, she entered municipal politics and won a seat on the Annapolis Royal town council and in 1982 became the deputy mayor. In 1984, she was elected mayor of Annapolis Royal, becoming the first Black mayor in Canada. Later, determined to give back to the people of Nova Scotia, Dr. Lewis began working with the Home Care Association and volunteered on committees and boards. Years later, she became the executive director at Mount Saint Vincent University’s Centre for Women in Business. Among her many awards, she was named to the Order of Canada in 2003.

Patricia “Pat” (Rogers) Pocock (1940-2020)
Pat Pocock was a registered nurse who worked in the perioperative field for 50 years. She started her career as a perioperative registered nurse at the Grace Hospital in Windsor, Ont., followed by a year of working in the operating room at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton. The next 14 years were spent in leadership and teaching roles in Windsor. The last 28 years of her hospital career were spent in leadership roles at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London, Ont. Pat is past co-chair of the Canadian Operating Room Leaders network and has committed her career to issues related to leadership within perioperative nursing.

Shirley M. Stinson (1929-2020), former CNA president (1980-1982)
Shirley was an outstanding and visionary nursing leader. Her major contributions to graduate education for nurses and to development of a national and international nursing research infrastructure made her one of Canada’s most honoured nurses. A dedicated fundraiser for nursing research, she lobbied the Alberta government for Heritage funds and was a founding chair of the Alberta Foundation for Nursing Research, where she promoted the study of advanced clinical nursing practice, theory, and research both nationally and internationally. She was the first woman and first nurse to receive the federal title of Senior Health Research Scientist. Long a proponent of interdisciplinary education, she was the first nurse to hold a professional appointment with the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine. Shirley taught, inspired, and mentored several generations of nurses and hospital administrators, including many of today’s leaders in education and in nursing.

Jan Stirling (1927-2017)
As a northern nurse, Jan Stirling contributed to nursing and public health in Yellowknife and the vast Arctic. Affectionately known as “Grandma Jan,” she had a special empathy for marginalized people. She often offered her home to those in need on a cold night, worked with the NWT Seniors’ Society to develop and implement a strategy to prevent elder abuse, and was instrumental in helping Vietnam refugees settle in the north. After graduating from the Saint John General Hospital School of Nursing, Stirling enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was stationed in Kure, Japan, during the Korean War. Later, she obtained a BSN from the University of Ottawa. As the manager of the Public Health Centre in Yellowknife for over 25 years, her work included hundreds of medical evacuations from remote communities and the high Arctic. She received numerous honours including the Order of the Northwest Territories (2016).

Cynthia Stutzer (1952-2018)
New Jersey-born Cindy held nursing positions in the United States from 1974-1986 prior to obtaining her registered nurse licence in British Columbia. In 1987, Stutzer became a clinical nurse specialist in the oncology, hematology blood & marrow transplant program at British Columbia Children's Hospital, a role she maintained for her entire career in the province. She was a leader in the fields of pediatric pain management, bereavement, pediatric palliative care and end-of-life care. She participated with the Provincial Pediatric Oncology Network to create levels of service for pediatric oncology nursing care in communities outside of Vancouver by enabling community partners in hospitals and care settings to obtain the knowledge and skills to care for children with cancer in their own communities. Stutzer was a pediatric trainer with the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium and a contributor to the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses Palliative Care Guidelines.

Joanne Wooldridge (nee Weisgerber) (1967-2019)
In addition to being a loving, inspirational wife and mother, Joanne was very passionate about her work with newborn babies and maternal services. She began her career at BC Women's Hospital in the labour and delivery room. There, she made lifelong connections in the nursing community. In 2001, she obtained her master of science, nursing, degree and became the lead in many community programs for mothers and babies through Vancouver Coastal Health and the Provincial Health Services Authority. In 2017 she became the director, maternity and surgical services maternal newborn program, at BC Women's Hospital, a role she treasured as she steadfastly was committed to the progression of the maternal newborn agenda after the successful and triumphant move into the new patient tower just months after her arrival into the director role. Her colleagues speak in celebration of her life that shone brightly and has illuminated the paths for so many along the way.

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About the Canadian Nurses Association
The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is the national and global professional voice of Canadian nursing. We represent registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed and registered practical nurses, registered psychiatric nurses and retired nurses across all 13 provinces and territories.

For more information, please contact:
Eve Johnston
Media and Communications Advisor
Canadian Nurses Association
Cell: 613-282-7859
Email: ejohnston@cna-aiic.ca