Alberta Nurses Recognized with National Honours

EDMONTON, June 10 /CNW/ - Three registered nurses from Alberta have been recognized with national honours from the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA).

At a gala celebration in Halifax on June 8, Betty Gourlay accepted the CNA Order of Merit for Nursing Policy, Dr. Greta Cummings accepted the CNA Order of Merit for Nursing Research and Alice Reid accepted the CNA Order of Merit for Administration. Each was nominated for their outstanding contributions to the nursing profession.

"These remarkable nurses exemplify the extraordinary contribution of the nursing profession," says CARNA President Joan Petruk. "Each has excelled in their area of practice to advance the health and well-being of Albertans and Canadians alike."

The CNA Order of Merit Awards began in 2008. The awards honour excellence in five areas of practice: clinical nursing practice, nursing administration, nursing education, nursing research and nursing policy. The awards were created to honour nurses who, through hard work, leadership, innovation and knowledge, have had a significant and sustained impact on the nursing profession and the practice of nursing in Canada.

About CNA

The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is a federation of 11 provincial and territorial nurses' associations and colleges representing 139,893 registered nurses and nurse practitioners. CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses, supporting them in their practice and advocating for healthy public policy and a quality, publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.


CARNA is the professional and regulatory body for Alberta's 33,000 RNs. Its members include registered nurses working in direct care, administration, education and research. CARNA sets nursing practice standards and ensures Albertans receive effective, safe and ethical nursing services. For more information, visit

Photos available on request.


    2010 Alberta Recipients of the Canadian Nurses Association Order of
    Merit Awards

    Order of Merit for Nursing Policy
    Betty Gourlay, RN, BScN, MHSc
    Principal Consultant, Care Partners

Betty Gourlay's demonstrated commitment to nursing through participation on local, provincial and national committees and boards has strengthened independent RN practice and orthopaedic nursing for over 30 years. During a time of anxiety and transition for RNs in the 1990s when government cutbacks resulted in significant layoffs, Gourlay launched one of the inaugural independent nursing practices in Canada and forged the way for others looking at alternate employment options. As the first president of the Canadian Association of Nurses Independent Practice, Gourlay was instrumental in the development of standards and criteria for the assessment and licensure of independent practice RNs. As a board member of the Alberta Registered Nurses Educational Trust (ARNET), Gourlay mobilized RNs from across the province to raise funds to support continuing nursing education. In 1988, she was instrumental in the charity securing a $10 million endowment from the provincial government. Gourlay continues her fund raising activities and is currently active with the Canadian Nurses Foundation's 4.0 campaign to raise funds to support nursing education and research in Canada.

    Order of Merit for Nursing Research
    Dr. Greta Cummings, RN, PhD
    Associate Professor, University of Alberta

Dr. Greta Cummings' research focuses on leadership in health care. She has identified gaps in knowledge relating to factors that contribute to absenteeism, improved quality of nursing work life and cultures of patient safety. She works to examine how these factors contribute to the health system to achieve better outcomes for providers and patients. Her work as the principal investigator of the Connecting Leadership Education and Research Outcomes program has strengthened development of RN leadership. A well-funded researcher, Cummings completed 11 research studies that were supported by local, provincial and national agencies and organizations. Her work is well recognized as essential to supporting the evolution of nursing practice. She has an exceptional record, including publishing more than 50 peer-reviewed papers and published chapters in refereed books.

    Order of Merit for Administration
    Alice Reid, RN
    Bigstone Cree National Health Center

Alice Reid's 30-year career has covered almost every aspect of nursing practice. She recently acted as chief executive officer at Bigstone Health Centre in Desmarais, Alberta, where she led the transition from primary health care to home and community care. Combining community-based research methodologies and traditional healing, Reid brought together northern Cree communities and the University of Alberta to integrate traditional and western medicine to better understand determinants of health. Reid is founding director of the Pee-kis-kwe-tan or "Let's Talk" Society, the first Aboriginal mental health service in Canada and sits on the advisory board of the University of Alberta's Indigenous Nursing Initiative.

SOURCE College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta

For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview, contact: Margaret Ward-Jack, 780.453.0515,

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