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.