100 years of nursing on the prairies. When we saw the opportunity to create a Centennial project that honoured the contribution of registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses to the history of the provinces, and the people of Saskatchewan and Alberta, we couldn’t resist.

We knew our concept was an ambitious one.

We would produce a web and DVD-based resource that pulled together documentary and audio-visual material from the archives of the provinces, combined with material produced by the United Nurses of Alberta and the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses since the creation of these organizations in the mid-1970s.

This celebration of our history would be widely accessible and at the same time a durable document that would stand permanently as a recognition of the Centennials of our provinces and of nursing in these provinces.

We would invite nurses in both provinces to contribute material, as well as nursing colleges, nursing professional associations, nurse educators, health care agencies, historians, news organizations, journalists-anyone who wished to contribute material.

We would make the collection bilingual. We would produce this Centennial project in three months while we managed our other responsibilities for our respective organizations. Only two amateur (and naïve) historians could imagine such an ambitious project was possible to complete in such a tight time frame.

However, we assembled a very talented and incredibly committed team of writer/researchers/videographers and web designer. As they say at the Junos, without the remarkable energy and creative talents of Mary Oakwell, Courtney England, Richard Diener, Don Bouzek and Terry Massey, none of this would be possible. As well, we must acknowledge the full cooperation and assistance of the Saskatchewan Archives Board, the Glenbow Museum and Archives and many other organizations.

Most important has been the willingness of nurses and other individuals who have contributed personal photographs, stories, letters and interviews, and through them, the remarkable stories of nurses on the prairies have come to live.

However, we must acknowledge that the incredibly ambitious scope of this history, and the tight time frame of this project, has meant that many major events, personalities, organizations and issues that should be an integral part of “100 years of nursing on the prairies are missing. To this extent, “100 years of nursing is a work in progress”. For those serious omissions, as well as the inevitable errors, we must apologize to the individuals and organizations.

But, all of us were struck and moved by the power and intensity of the stories, photos, and audiovisual material that we have managed to assemble. We hope you will share in our excitement and pride in the remarkable contribution that nurses have made to this important century in our provinces.

Keith, Larry