Nursing pioneer honoured

September 2009   Comments

One of nursing’s most accomplished and admired figures has been named a National Historic Person of Canada. In a career that spanned more than five decades, Ethel Johns (1879-1968) was a tireless advocate for nursing education, establishing the first university degree program in nursing in Canada at the University of British Columbia and playing a pivotal role in helping to create new standards and expectations for nurses. From 1919 to 1925, Johns served as both nursing director at Vancouver General Hospital and head of the newly minted department of nursing at UBC. After a stint in Europe where she was instrumental in helping to develop nursing schools for women, Johns returned to Canada to become editor of The Canadian Nurse, a position she held from 1933 to 1944. 

Johns was the recipient of numerous awards including an honorary doctorate from Mount Allison University, as well as a prolific writer, collaborating on a history of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and penning a series of pamphlets about the nursing profession. Her pioneering spirit and visionary leadership continue to resonate in the nursing community today.

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