Canadian Nurses Association awards excellence in nursing profession

VANCOUVER, June 19, 2012 /CNW/ - During its national biennial convention, the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) honoured six nurses for outstanding leadership and contribution to the nursing profession. The highest honour - the Jeanne Mance Award - was given to Sandra Hirst of Calgary, Alberta. Five other nurses were awarded Orders of Merit.

"It is a privilege and a pleasure to present these nurses with well-deserved honours," said Judith Shamian, CNA President. "I also wish to thank them for their dedication to the nursing profession. I do so on behalf of Canadians because these women are truly helping improve the health of our nation."

The prestigious Jeanne Mance Awards is given to an individual for their significant and unique contribution to the profession and the health of Canadians. Sandra Hirst, director of the Brenda Strafford Centre for Excellence in Gerentological Nursing at the University of Calgary, has dedicated her career to advancing the care, health and well-being of seniors. Her decades of work in this field have involved terms on Alberta's seniors' advisory council and an appointment by the prime minister to the National Seniors Council where she was instrumental in the development of a federal elder abuse prevention strategy. A longtime and vocal advocate for seniors on issues such as abuse, suicide and sexuality, Hirst has also been named a Distinguished Fellow by the Canadian Centre for Elder Law and has received a lifetime achievement award from the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta.

"Canada's health-care system is going through a period of significant transformation," said Rachel Bard, CNA CEO. "As the largest group of health-care professionals in Canada and with their unique brand of interaction with patients, nurses are playing a leadership role in that transformation. We know the nurses honoured tonight are a shining example for their colleagues and the profession's future generation to ensure we are the change we want to see in Canada's health-care system."

Five Orders of Merit were awarded to nursing leaders in the areas of clinical practice, education, administration, research and policy. The activities of the following nurses at the national and international level have resulted in increased status and public recognition for the nursing profession:

  • Clinical Nursing Practice: Jocelyn Reimer-Kent is a clinical nurse specialist at the Royal Columbian Hospital, an adjunct nursing professor at the University of British Columbia and president of the Canadian Council of Cardiovascular Nurses. She is recognized worldwide for developing the Reimer-Kent Postoperative Wellness Model, which has successfully reduced common complications following operations and resulted in rapid surgical recovery for patients. Jocelyn also played an integral role in helping the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia bring nurse practitioners (NPs) to the province, and then developed an acute care NP post-graduate fellowship program to prepare NPs for practise in cardiac surgery.

  • Nursing Education: Nancy Moules, a professor at the University of Calgary's faculty of nursing, is being recognized for her teaching excellence and expertise in the patient-family dynamics of children's cancer care. As a professor in child and family-centred cancer care with the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation and Research Institute, she is a leading expert in family nursing, grief, cancer care and the effect of childhood cancer on parental relationships. Known for her innovative teaching style, Nancy has earned three Student's Union Teaching Excellence Awards and the Hall of Fame Teaching Excellence Award.

  • Nursing Administration: Dianne Tapp, dean of the University of Calgary's faculty of nursing, has led the faculty in building a reputation for nursing research. She was integral to a program with nurse scientists from across Canada in training and increasing the research capacity of future cardiovascular nurse scientists. A highly visible figure in provincial and national nursing communities, Dianne has taken on leadership roles with the Canadian Council of Cardiovascular Nurses and the Alberta Nursing Education Administrators.

  • Nursing Research: Ellen Hodnett, professor at the University of Toronto's faculty of nursing, is a committed mentor and award-winning researcher who has supervised some of Canada's most successful nurse researchers. For 15 years, she held Canada's first endowed nursing research chair. Ellen was the first nurse appointed to the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group of the World Health Organization's Department of Reproductive Health and Research. She was also the first woman and first non-physician to be Chair of the Clinical Trials grants review panel for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Known throughout the obstetric world as the expert in the field, Ellen's works has led to new legislation in Uruguay and Brazil and new practice guidelines in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States around continuous support during childbirth.

  • Nursing Policy: Donna Brunskill is a retired nurse administrator, registrar and educator from Saskatchewan. After practising in rural and urban hospitals, Donna served as an instructor, clinical coordinator and nursing program head at the Saskatchewan institute of Applied Science and Technology. Following teaching, Donna took her career to the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses' Association (SRNA) where she was a nursing consultant, registrar then executive director — a role she held for 18 years. She led SRNA in designing and implementing legislative changes to pave the way for NPs to practise in the province. Her commitment to the nursing practice and protection of the public is also evident in her work in creating a health leadership institute, promoting registered nurse mobility throughout Canada, and introducing a continuing competence program for RNs.

CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. A federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing 146,788 registered nurses, CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada's publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.


For further information:

For more information or interview requests, please contact:
Kate Headley, External Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 561
Cell: 613-697-7507

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