History of Nursing in Pacific Canada

[Letter, Ethel Johns to unknown recipient. Re: UBC Dept. of Nursing, c. 1936] Johns, Ethel [1936?]

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 Confidential notes regarding the Qr^- rti ■■ t on of the. Dep'-rtr :at of Kursing
in the    ; g %j of British Oolu bia in October,1U19
1. In October 1919 It J» was a;pointed in the dual capacity of
Director of Cursing in the Vaucouvor General Hospital and as director
of the Itepartiaent of Nursing in the University of British Columbia*
2. Prior to E.J*fs appointment, i Working relationship between
the Univer.ity and the Hospi-al had bean established By,Dr. M Icolm
vg Lriclurn, superintendent of the Vancouver General Ho^rl'al. This
was .most indefinite and unsatisfactory but nevertheless in the
succeeding five years was modified sufficiently to make it workable*
■ -. 3. The main provis ona were as follows;
(a) The Department of Nursing was attached to the faculty of Applied
Science in the Univer Ity and the Director was responsible to the
Dean of that faculty*
(b) A five-year course in Applied Science and Nursing was offered
jointly by the University and the 3ch ol of Nursing of the V.G.H.
Hill course ledtto the 8cade la degree of Bachelor Applied Science
(Nursing) conferred by the University and the diploma in nursing
conferred by the Vancouver General los >itai#
4. The work required was as follows:
(a) Two years of University work in the Depart--^nt of rts and the
arti0..nt of Applied Science*
(b) Twenty-eight months' nursing course in the School of , ur ;dng of
the V.G.H.
(c) One year of combined academic study and field work either in
publle he&ith nursing or in teaching and supervision,
5. The students taking t is course paid the usual University
fees and maintained them: elves during the academic course. During
the hospital period they received maintenance on the same basis, as
the students taking the regular course. During the fifth year they
met their own expenses and paid academic fees.
Under the conditions mentioned above, it is a parent that there was
no "financial MTmngWttti* as between the University and the Hospital. 6. For the first three years E. J. carried the double responsibilities
as dirsctoo of nursing in the hospitcl msA  director of the University
Depart:-, nt. This was possible because At first only a few students
were taking the five-year course and none of them had yet re ched the
fifth year. In 1923 l.J. resigned as director of the Seho-1 of Nursing
and was appointed on a full-time basis to the University staff.
By this time a post-graduate course of one year in public health nursing
was also being offered under the auspices of the University, flhtt eourse
was organized in 1920 by "iss 1     ?d. MaeKemsie formerly C'aijf Superintendent
of the Victorian Order of rlursaa -for Canada. In 1923 Miss 1/    sl«
resigned and E.J. also undo     the general supervision of the one-year^^^t^^x^Mz^M
course. <&*#*&&
7. Most of the students taking the five-year course chose public
health as their option,  j-ven as far back as 1925 there was good
opportunity for field work both in Vancouver and throughout the Province.
The Provincial Deputy Minister of Health was very much interested and
as soon ss ever graduates ':ere available ^either from the one-year course
or the five-year course he appointed them to his starf of public health
8. !Ihe students who chose the teaching and supervise option did
not fare as well at first although slowly but surely they
made their way into positions in the vorlous Schools throughout the
9. The chief difficulties in the formative years were as follows:
(a) We found that sufficient hospital experience could not be crowded
into twenty-eight saonths.
(b) The foct hat the University required the hospital to give the
students experience in certain Departments was a constant source of
trouble and friction. The  students were looked upon as being %
privileged groups and suffered accordingly.
{c} While the public health nursing field work was rich in epportunities
it was not well coordinated or supervised.
(d) The unsympathetic attitude of the supervisors of the V.G.H. toward
the course nsada It difficult to obtain their co-operation in planning
field work for-the 'Students who chose the teaching option*
10. The attitude of the medical profession en s extremely un~
sympathetic at first. Later on they became converted and now cherish
the delusion that it was they who organised, supported and directed
the course. For a time, a few of the lrreconciiables aiaong them kept the Sanate of til@ Univer ity in a constant ferment. Hod it hot been
for the staunch sup.ort of t.b        I of the Univer ity and the Dean
of Applied Science the Department could never have survivid.
11. In 1924 the position of the .Department of ur *ng was greatly
strengthened by the creation of a Department of Public Health which like
t at of nursing was a part of the faculty of pplied Selene*.       A
of this Department (Dr. R. H.     0 was rerj  S3     I   .id co-operative
and from a public health point of view the course was greatly St -ongthened*
To Sum Up
When S.J. left the University in 1925 the principle of the five-year
course was pretty well established and things were working reasonably
well. The  one-year post-graduate course in public health was going
strong. Frequent refresher courses and institutes *mre  beginning to
popularize the Department among nurses in general.
Now ?ie must skip eleven years and see how the Department of Nursing
looked in 1936.
As xolght have been expected, meny changei and improvements had taken
place. In the early years it was necessary to compromise on matriculation
requirements, -etc. These, concessions have been withdrawn and now the
completion of the first year*a work in Arts with a clean slate is required
before the student can be considered for thi combined course. As soon
as her first academic yea ■ is completed the prospective student in
nureing is Interviewed by the Director of the ISuraing' Department in the
University (Miss Mabel P. dray) and is appraised by her. Mios Oray applies
the principles of vocational guidance and *steers aoay* young women whom
she does not think suitable. If, however, the applicant appears desirable
she is provisionally accepted and proceeds to  ke her second academic
year which includes science subjects which will be useful to her as
a nurse.
On the completion of the second academic year the student enters the
School of Nursing in September alono: witjl the regular students. She
is granted exemption from the scionce subjects which she has already
taken in the University. Apart from this, she has no special rivlleges. At the est of th© four uioatks ol  soh
00 o ■   | est!   ;-   (*    St rt   U   ISMI    •   I     ■•   -■■•■■■      •'    /t-;       ■
1 Tff howevert she la a-ceoted wh® proceeds witl I oarse
*fe new ecvors @. pe;       irty-ttio aft* ;>f tweuty~elght
ninths as 11 ra»rly«
Tfrentf nine and a half months       | two wnths tf i-    ->y)
•re spent en actual In      ity: two months are spent at a    o>rit»
l tuberetiloelsf one month Is © ".ant with the VI-• a ^rder oftoMurses.
It Is understood t :.jfc be given I    one i in the
ontB required by the Unive
-r trouble which may arise in connection wttfc discipline is r^ .uX tvd
by the nuth rltlas*
firing the I  . ii years the student has little actual aoat    •%h
the >pt by      I  ..) undergraduate soelatisa^in which
the nur.lng group appears to be quite active*
the student maintains herself and pays her University fees during
the academic portion of her o /'irt^ i far as 1 ®m aware, she still
receives board and nal&te&a&SS fro ■£ the ti»^ I M$
in *h<+    chool or iursl
A stath year is now required
As will be seen by the schedule outlined ab- mt  the student has
aw    - five ealoidcr .    in her fcy and     ml
worfc*  In la now i     e v for the diploma of nursing
of Hurting of tj        .  /i&ei she peases the nmmmmry examinations.
She or her m * registered nurse. If,
h&^    she vii actdlemle degree of Bachelor    .sd
,t un;5o *r*r of combined aeadeoio
study and preal * "~4     at are open to her — public
hm oyvision* full particulars regarding the sixth year
ray and        1 no point In going into
detail which m?;,y not be *
She a sixth year and the lengthening of the hospital
■'.re,in S»J.fs opinion,  waterially strengthened, the whole
..! corrected sow of thejrtnri     tits wh I ware ppureat at
the mttset« Hbw K* J. Foals about the Combined oouo.^e
You ask me • Aether I think that the course instituted in British
Columbia has attracted young women aapab a of as-     leadership*
On the whole, yes. It awst be r.    red that this course has only
been graduating students for about fifteen years and there has been
a s'ifh incidence of raarri&^e^as night reasonably be expected in any
group of normal, in^elli^j.vt'young women, rover*    ;, this course has
already provided nur^-    ,able of holding responsible positions ^
especially in the public tm mrslng service of British Columbia.
The present Chairman of the Lth Section of the Canadian Iwurses
association {louis .'argaret Eerr) is a graduate of this course. The
head of the Hur--ing Service of the Groater Vancouver Public Health
ovice is else a graduate, ohd there are others who appear very
B#JV stills lo   . or;, the co M     orse as  an experiment — but
she believes in it in spite of all its difficulties and disappointments.
few months ago the Pre.sider.it of the University of British
Columbia,who has had an apportpaity of matching the Departed ct through
oil its vicissitudes, caiae to l&ntreai on b visit. Ha told E.J.
that in his opinion the course has amply justified itself and that its
influence a.on^ ttu, women of the University was stead 1     "*ing.
He.'thinks that eventually more and son students will b    Paetei
from the v rious deparBarents into the School of I    ,g.
In S.J. *s  opinion, the most difficult problem still lies in the relationship between the Univer;ity       >t and the Hospital. Sven though
many of the early jealoo -gndices have disa;poured, the
University students m I groiv    t fr m the others.
It is     :.cant3 hoover, thi       hlned curse •tudtaatS are repeatedly
chosen for positions of leadership in the stud nt nurse groups.
There can be no doubt I    oae chances of success would be nneh
better if gjl students took the c i
Perha-s I can best sum up by saying if it. were to do ageln^I would do


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