Helen Shore, Associate Professor Emerita and Patron of the Consortium dies at age 95

On Tuesday, November 3rd in the evening, Associate Professor Emerita Helen Shore passed away at the age of 95. She was an alumna (BSN ’61, MA in education, ’71), a faculty member (1965-1990), and a longstanding friend of the School of Nursing.

Helen was proud of sharing common ancestry with Florence Nightingale, and of being the daughter of pioneering health professionals in Alberta. She began her own nursing career in 1946 with an RN diploma from Vancouver General Hospital, and over the years she emerged as an influential nurse leader in Vancouver, especially in public health nursing. Helen was a strong advocate for nursing’s voice in policy, raising awareness of nursing’s important roles in addressing public health problems.

As a member of our faculty for 25 years, she was actively involved in curriculum development for both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Even after her retirement in 1990, Helen remained dedicated to the School: she helped establish an internal research award in public health nursing, and contributed funding for nursing history scholarship. In 2013, she generously supported the launch of the Consortium for Nursing History Inquiry in the UBC School of Nursing, and remained actively engaged as the Consortium’s patron.

Her achievements have been recognized by many awards throughout her career, including: a Merit Award for Excellence in Teaching (1975); the Nursing Division’s Distinguished Alumnae Award (1990); the UBC School of Nursing Partnership Award (2013); the UBC Faculty of Applied Science centennial Dean’s Medal (2015); and the UBC School of Nursing Centenary Medal (2019).

We deeply appreciated her enthusiastic interest in our School and her commitment to our profession. She was an ardent advocate of public health nursing and strongly committed to nursing history. Her role as Patron of the Consortium of Nursing History Inquiry was highly valued. We will miss her.


The Ongoing Impact of Colonialism & Racism on Canada’s Health Care System

By Lydia Wytenbroek & Emily Peacock

Dr. Lydia Wytenbroek:
Indigenous people in Canada experience widespread disparities in health outcomes. I have found that undergraduate students come to recognize this through discussions about the incidence, morbidity, and mortality of various chronic illnesses. Students have also explored how chronic illness statistics can be reflective of the structural discrimination and racism that shapes health care policies and practices. In class discussions, we have considered the ways in which health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are rooted in Canada’s colonial history. In the fall of 2020, I invited students to attend several academic talks on the history of health and colonialism. On October 30, 2020, the Department of History at the University of Lethbridge held a lecture by zoom as part of its Driedger Lecture Series. The lecture was delivered by guest speaker Mary Jane Logan McCallum, a Professor of History and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous People, History and Archives at the University of Winnipeg. McCallum’s talk was called Structures of Indifference: An Indigenous Life and Death in a Canadian City and was based on a book by the same title that McCallum co-wrote with historian Adele Perry.

Structures of Indifference focuses on the life and death of Brian Sinclair, an Anishinaabe man, who died in 2008 from an easily treatable infection after spending thirty-four hours in the emergency waiting room at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. Hospital staff ignored and dismissed him, assuming he was homeless or intoxicated, and failed to provide him with necessary medical care. Following his death, an inquest found that no single person was to blame and that the situation could have happened to anyone. Instead of focusing on racism and discrimination, the inquest linked Sinclair’s death primarily “to multiple failures in the policies and procedures of processing patients in the ER” (McCallum & Perry, 2018, p. 132). In Structures of Indifference, McCallum and Perry challenge the findings of the inquest by placing Sinclair’s life and death in historical context and exposing the structures of indifference that undermine and devalue Indigenous lives. Historical methodology is one tool that nursing students can use to explore broader issues of racism and systemic discrimination in healthcare, as well as foster discussions about ways to promote health equity. What follows is Emily’s critical reflection on Mary Jane Logan McCallum’s talk on October 30, 2020.

Emily Peacock:
Nursing students are continually reminded of the caring and benevolent nature of the nursing profession. If that is so, then why do Indigenous people suffer neglect from healthcare providers time and time again? In a transformative lecture, Dr. Mary Jane Logan McCallum discussed the prevalence of racism in Canada’s health care system by talking about Brian Sinclair’s death. McCallum began by reviewing the history of colonialism in Winnipeg. Even though Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre was established on Indigenous land through Indigenous displacement, Indigenous people were denied access to quality health care. For much of the twentieth century, Indigenous people in Manitoba received medical care in segregated hospitals that were often understaffed and under resourced. Indigenous people wanted access to modern healthcare facilities and were interested in adapting and combining various forms of medicine to best support their communities. Despite this, they were met with significant resistance by a health care system created to benefit predominantly white settler Canadians.

Fast forward to 2008, when Brian Sinclair wheeled himself into the Emergency Department of the Health Sciences Centre where he was seeking care for a treatable bladder infection. During his time in the Emergency Department, health care providers ignored and neglected Sinclair. On multiple occasions, members of the public alerted health care providers to Sinclair’s deteriorating condition, but health care professionals dismissed these concerns by suggesting that he was likely homeless or intoxicated. Ultimately, it was their indifference that led to Sinclair’s death only thirty-four hours later. This indifference, as McCallum and Perry (2018) point out in their book, and the related neglect, continue to influence the provision of healthcare. Their book has not lost any of its relevance, as in September 2020, we witnessed how nurses taunted 37-year-old Atikamekw woman Joyce Echaquan, who captured the nurses’ failed actions and abuse on her phone as she died. While the Quebec premier condemned the actions of these nurses, two of whom were subsequently fired, he was also quick to assure the public that this situation was a ‘one-off’ and not an issue of racism. Yet, Indigenous lives, like Brian Sinclair and Joyce Echaquan, continue to be lost. In addition, individualizing the nurses’ actions also avoids any consideration about how these might be indications of larger health care system failures. This begs the question: How can this possibly not be an issue of systemic racism?

McCallum, M. J., & Perry, A. (2018). Structures of indifference: An Indigenous life and death in a Canadian city. University of Manitoba Press.

Lydia Wytenbroek is an Assistant Professor at UBC School of Nursing. She is a historian of twentieth-century health care, with a particular interest in the history of nursing.

Emily Peacock graduated from the University of Victoria with a BSc in Psychology. She has spent the previous four summers working for the B.C. Wildfire Service and is currently a nursing student at the University of British Columbia.

A special issue on the history of nursing education

Quality Advancement in Nursing Education/Avancées en formation infirmière [QANE-AFI]

Congratulations to the journal of the Canadian Association for Schools of Nursing for a special issue on the history of nursing education:

The History of Nursing Education | L’histoire de la formation en sciences infirmières

With guest-editors:

Dr. Sioban Nelson, University of Toronto and Dr. Pauline Paul, University of Alberta

Nelson, Sioban and Paul, Pauline (2020) “The History of Nursing Education | L’histoire de la formation en sciences infirmières,” Quality Advancement in Nursing Education – Avancées en formation infirmière: Vol. 6: Iss. 2, Article 1.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.17483/2368-6669.1267

Visit the journal’s website for a full view of the special issue! [https://qane-afi.casn.ca/journal/vol6/iss2/1/]

Nursing History Collection at UBC Rare Books and Special Collections

Celebrating Nurses and Health Care Professionals at RBSC


Saskatchewan million dollar campaign, June 17, 1922. SPAM461C.


Happy Nurses Week! Among the variety of fascinating, thought-provoking, and celebratory commentaries about nurses this week, here’s the link to one from UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections Librarian, Krisztina Laszlo

Celebrating Nurses and Health Care Professionals at RBSC


Nursing History Symposium 2020

Nursing History Symposium delayed until further notice

Due to COVID-19 and the UBC and School of Nursing’s public health safety measures in response, the Nursing History Symposium has been delayed until further notice. We will provide updates as new information becomes available. Detailed information on COVID-19 and UBC’s response can be found at: https://www.ubc.ca/



Nursing Artifacts and Nurses’ Uniforms: Preserving Nurses’ Cultural History

A Symposium in Honor of the BC History of Nursing Society’s 30th Anniversary

Date: 30 Apr 2020

Presented by: Keynote Speaker: Christina Bates, former curator of the Canadian Museum of History and author of A Cultural History of the Nurse’s Uniform

Room: Cecil Green Park House, 6251 Green Park Road, UBC Vancouver

Time: 9:30am – 2pm

Please register by Monday, April 27, 2020: Regular $10 Student and Retirees $5 (If you require assistance in registering, please contact 604.822.7747)

RSVP and Registration

Schedule of Events

09:30: Registration & Refreshments

10:00: Welcome and Opening Remarks by

  • Kathy Murphy, President, BC History of Nursing Society
  • Geertje Boschma, Professor, UBC School of Nursing

10:00: Keynote Address by Christina (Tina) Bates, former curator of the Canadian Museum of History, Ottawa

          “Nursing History Embodied: Collecting and Researching a Uniform Collection”

  • Tina Bates will present the Canadian History Collection of 1,800 artifacts, with a focus on its 52 uniforms from nursing schools across Canada. She will demonstrate material culture methods that can tease out meaning from artifacts. Based on her book, A Cultural History of the Nurse’s Uniform, she will examine the role of the uniform in creating nursing identity over one hundred years. The uniform was an active participant in the changing culture of nursing work and thought.
  • Following the presentation, there will be time for discussion with the audience.

11:00: Refreshments

11:30: Fashion Show of Nurses’ Uniforms

  • Facilitated by the members of the BC History of Nursing Society, and introduced by Lynne Esson

01:00: Lunch

Closing Remarks by Kathy Murphy and Geertje Boschma

Throughout the program: Displays of published works and artifacts on nursing history

Special Event! Commemorating Nursing: 100 years of Academic Nursing at UBC 1919 – 2019

Notice of Special Program Event at the 2019 CSHM-CAHN Conference!

Commemorating 100-years of Academic Nursing at the University of British Columbia, 1919-2019

Group photograph of Donelda Ellis and third year UBC Nursing students at Grace Hospital
c/o UBC Archives Photograph Collection (10.14288/1.0163551)

When: June 3, 2019

Where: UBC Campus

What: 1. Pre-lunch panel, 2. Celebratory luncheon with student awards, 3. Post-lunch joint roundtable with the Canadian Historical Association

Pre-Lunch Panel Session

In 1919 UBC established Canada’s first university degree program in nursing, a virtually unheard of step, especially in the Commonwealth at large. Perhaps the new university in BC, only established in 1915, “as the last provincial university founded in Canada,” might have been flexible and open to new (public health) endeavours in ways that its well established counterparts in the core of Empire were not. Hence UBC made history with opening its doors to nursing as its first women’s education program, a choice not favoured by the BC Clubwomen for example, who rather would have preferred a program in home economics, — perceptibly a more fashionable and uplifting avenue towards academic education deemed appropriate for women. Nursing’s first director, Ethel Johns, had a seminal role in the introduction of a degree program in nursing. Her participation in influential nursing projects and research abroad brought international prestige and critical expertise to the program.

How did nursing education fare in a male-dominated university, with cultural codes of gender and class imposed upon a program that seemed to be more “pragmatically conceived than philosophically inspired?” And what is the meaning of commemorating nursing in the larger public debate over commemoration, statues and naming? A pre-lunch panel explores the wider British Columbian and Canadian context of the fledgling academic nursing program and the evolution of academic nursing. Following lunch, a joint roundtable with Canadian Historical Association will reflect on the meaning of commemoration, with a focus on the recollection of nurses in public memory.

Nursing Education at UBC starting in 1919: Forging an Academic Degree for Nurses Geertje Boschma (University of British Columbia)

Career Aspirations of B.C. Women Interested in Post-Secondary Education in the 1960s and 1970s                                                                                                                 Margaret Scaia (University of Victoria)

Panel Chair(e): Alison Phinney (University of British Columbia


Post-Lunch Interdisciplinary Session

This roundtable centers on the commemoration of nurses in public memory across a number of contexts. By critically examining representations of nurses as icons, trailblazers, war heroes, and symbols of virtue, discussants will unpack the power and meaning of the commemoration of nursing, and, more broadly, women’s caring work. In the context of current public debates on the nature – and political correctness – of historical plaques, monuments, and statues, and the broader symbolism of assigning place names, this roundtable explores the multiple uses of commemoration in and of nursing and health-related caring work. Brief presentations by five historians of medicine and nursing will be followed by discussion with the audience.

Pictures, Plaques, and Statues: The Real and False Utilities of Commemoration                Jill Campbell-Miller (Carleton University)

Florence Nightingale: Defining Iconography and Monumental Challenges                    Sioban Nelson (University of Toronto)

Imagining and Remembering Wartime Nursing                                                            Sarah Glassford (Provincial Archives of New Brunswick)

After the Armistice: Documenting War, Commemorating Peace in Canadian Nurses’ War Memories                                                                                                                   Andrea McKenzie (York University)

Health Care Workers, Policy Makers, and Historical Memory                                            Peter Twohig (St. Mary’s University)

Chair(e): Whitney Wood (University of Calgary)


For information on the joint CSHM – CAHN conference at Congress, visit

Canadian Association for the History of Nursing: https://cahn-achn.ca/

Canadian Society for the History of Medicine, annual conference: https://cshm-schm.ca/

View the Program Here!

For general information on Congress, visit


Register for Congress Here

UBC School of Nursing Centenary Display: II

Members of the BC History of Nursing Society and the Consortium for Nursing History Inquiry have created the second instalment of a new display in the School of Nursing in celebration of the School’s Centenary.

This display features artifacts and archival documents that highlight the School’s history from the 1970s to the 1990s. Please visit it at the School of Nursing on the third floor of UBC Hospital from May until September 2019.

Nursing History Symposium 2019 Webcast

The 2019 Nursing History Symposium on Thursday March 14 was an inspiring and invigorating day. Thank you to all our speakers and guests. We are excited to share the keynote address and panel session here!

Nursing History Symposium 2019 at a Glance

View Full Program and Abstracts

Dr. Susan Duncan, Keynote Speaker Nursing History Symposium 2019




Watch the Keynote Address
by Dr. Susan Duncan






Dr. Joan Anderson, Panel Member – Nursing History Symposium 2019



Watch the Panel Session






Enjoy Some Photos From the Event!


Question Period – Nursing History Symposium, 2019

UBC Press Display at Nursing History Symposium, 2019

UBC SoN Director Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc and Guest – Nursing History Symposium 2019

BC History of Nursing Society Members and Nursing Graduate Student – Nursing History Symposium 2019

Audience – Nursing History Symposium 2019

BC History of Nursing Society Display, Nursing History Symposium 2019

UBC School of Nursing Centenary Display

Members of the BC History of Nursing Society and the Consortium for Nursing History Inquiry have created a new display in the School of Nursing in celebration of the Centenary.

UBC School of Nursing in the 1950s and 1960s

This display features artifacts and archival documents that highlight the School’s history from the 1950s and 1960s. Please visit it at the School of Nursing on the third floor of UBC Hospital.