UBC Archives Audio Recordings Collection

[Interview with Margaret Street, UBC Professors Emeriti Oral History Project, Part II] Carroll, Ann 1990-10-30

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Ann: Could you comment on how the education of nurses has advanced since your first days in the profession? How it has been accepted as an academic program at the university?
Margaret: Nursing education has travelled a tremendous distance in this century, from the apprenticeship training which Ethel Johns so deplored as a student in the Training School of the Winnipeg General Hospital, 1899-1902, to the present time, when the education of nurses, like that of of other professions, is under the auspices of educational institutions, colleges and universities. The Canadian Nurses' Association and associations of nurses in the provinces have been unanimous in endorsing the goal, by the year 2000, of university preparation, at the baccalaureate level, for entry to the nursing profession. No doubt this well-known objective is a source of anxiety to the large numbers of nurses practicing today who are graduates of hospital diploma programs. Many of them, together with graduates of two-year college programs in nursing, have been taking steps to upgrade their qualifications, and to obtain degrees in nursing. But for many this is probably not feasible, and their anxiety is real. Hospital schools of nursing in Canada have been largely phased out during the past thirty years. The Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing has been a notable hold-out, but within the past two years history has repeated itself, and that School has entered into an affiliation with the UBC School of Nursing. Since last September, Dr. Willman has told me, all students admitted to the V.G.H. School of Nursing will be admitted simultaneously into the degree program. They will be taught and supervised in the clinical field by instructors from the university and from the V.G.H. School of Nursing - the latter, it is understood, having the necessary qualifications. I find this a fascinating development from the historical point of view. For the UBC School of Nursing it opens up a large clinical practice field, one in which the presence of the students and their program should promote high standards of nursing care. Dr. Willman says that so far this venture is going well.
Ann: Why is it that the nursing program is a joint venture with the VGH and not with the University Hospital?
Margaret: The University Hospital, from the outset, has provided a clinical field for the UBC School of Nursing, as it has for medical students and those of related health disciplines. It is the primary facility for the School of Nursing. But the affiliation is with another School of Nursing- the VGH School of Nursing, a different situation entirely.
Ann: Were you on any other university committees?
Margaret: None outside the School of Nursing.
Ann: What have you been involved in since your retirement from UBC in 1972?
Margaret: My book was published in 1973, and prior to publication, I had been involved in the final stages of its preparation, especially indexing. After publication, I was busy for a time with related correspondence. Then came the really big job of preparing all of the papers connected with the research and writing of the book for presentation to the UBC Archives. These included the large volume of Ethel Johns' papers, which I obtained permission from her executors to place in the Archives. Under the guidance of Laurenda Daniells, I prepared inventories for both sets of papers- mine and Ethel Johns'. It must have been 1975 before this task was completed. Following publication, I was also invited to attend a research conference at the McGill School for Graduate Nurses, where I gave a report on the research procedure I had followed. Then I undertook a project in connection with my Church (Our Lady of Perpetual Help), where Father Douglas Pankhurst is an outstanding preacher. Father had kept his notes on his sermons from the beginning of his priesthood. So I undertook to re-type all of these, and to organize them in books, with the objective of their preservation. This very enjoyable and instructive work occupied much of my time until last year. I feel it was well worthwhile, and Father was very pleased. I am no longer involved to any extent in nursing, but recently was elected the first honorary member of the recently-formed History of Nursing group of the Registered Nurses' Association of B.C. I made no commitment, however, to attend meetings!
Ann: Are you involved with the Professors Emeritas Group in any way?
Margaret: I attended one meeting about a year ago, and paid my fee - very small fee. But I decided that although I would continue to "belong" I would not attempt to attend meetings. I do not have a car, and at age 83 I feel the need to slow down! I appreciated the initiative of that group in securing the entry to dental and other health insurance. But otherwise, I am not too interested in their programs to date. I seem to have enough activities to keep me as busy as I now want to be. Have you any other questions, Ann? Thank you for your interest.


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