The last SMHC Reunion of 2007.
Dr. Edward Johnson Gold Medal Awarded each
year to a graduating student who demonstrated
clinical and academic proficiency throughout their
Back Row: Annette Thorimbert, Ruth
Steeves, Lois Stevenson, Alfonse
Gaborieau, Ann Marie Boisjoli
Front Row: Marg Fidler, Bill Leyland,
The nurses residence and
school of nursing were
opened in 1926. However, in
1921, Doctor Charles Barnes
organized the first nurse
training program. All subjects
were taught by medical staff
and the Assistant Matron.
At this time all students were
female and required to live
within the residence. Their clinical practice
was supervised by senior nurses. Amongst
their many duties were keeping the patients
clean, dressed, assisting with their meals
as well as looking after soiled linen,
garbage, washing, waxing and polishing the
floors. Lectures continued for two years
and in the third year the student nurse was
now a senior and able to take charge of the
Students were paid $40.00 per month. In
the 1930s and 1940s, the students
graduated as Psychiatric Nurses. In 1949,
the first male students were allowed to take
classes with the females. It was not
however until the early 1950s that a nurse,
Margaret Solar, was specifically appointed
as a nurse teacher for the school.
In 1959 the block system of training
commenced. This was the first move to
prevent students from attending classes
after working on the wards the same day.
The class of 1963 was the first to graduate
under this new scheme. In 1960 the
Registered Psychiatric Nurses act came
into existence. A minimum number of
theoretical hours was established. Also, at
this time a separate nurses library came
into existence. The emphasis within the
education program was “re-motivation” of
chronic patients due to the advent of
psychotropic medications which made the
patients more accessible to their
In 1980 the new RPNA Act received Royal
Assent which included responsibility for
establishing and maintaining standards for
psychiatric nursing education.
However, in 1991 the Provincial budget
discontinued funding for the Selkirk school
and the last class to graduate was in July
1992. The preparation of psychiatric nurses
was transferred to Brandon University for a
4 years undergraduate program leading to a
Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing.
This pin was based on the
UK Royal Medico-
Association Badge for
British mental nurses.
The Last Faculty Photograph 1992
Dianne Gaboreau (Director); Pat Helwer; Sandy Huff (Secretary); Audrey Wasnie;
Melanie Shumilak; Jeanette Warren; Ruth Enns; Richard Bartlinski (Asst Director);
Christine Hoeschen; Dianne Stolar; David Ezzard.
Preserving 140 plus years of History . . .
School of Psychiatric Nursing
L - R