Wendy Cooper: Founding member of Camosun’s Nursing program and champion of Victoria’s Nursing history

Shortly after completing her BScN degree at UVic in 1981, and having taught for three years in a traditional Nursing program, Wendy Cooper joined the newly established Nursing program at Camosun.

As a founding member of the faculty, she was part of a group of keen and astute Nursing Educators who all contributed perspectives that ultimately resulted in the success of the new program. It was a heady and challenging time. In Nursing, as in all things medical, change is inevitable and expected as new understandings occur.

Over the years, Wendy, along with her Nursing faculty colleagues, were involved in several major curriculum changes. The first came in the late ‘80s with the advent of theories specific to the practice of Nursing which brought about a major shift in the role of nurses as independent practitioners.

One of the founding faculty members of Camosun’s Nursing program, Wendy Cooper

In 1990 and looking for a new challenge, Wendy enrolled in the Masters Program at UVic. Her thesis research explored the ways in which nurses develop, honour and use intuition in their work. The study of intuition, was a new concept for the its time in Nursing and Health Care where concrete information was paramount. She found that intuition for nurses develops with experience and pattern recognition over roughly five years of professional practice.

After her retirement, Wendy joined the alumnae association of her alma mater – the Royal Jubilee Hospital School of Nursing. Around 1997 the Pemberton Memorial Chapel at the RJH was declared a Heritage Building but, unfortunately, it was closed to the public as it required upgrading to earthquake standards.

The hospital administration approached the alumnae association to raise funds for the restoration of the chapel. Over a 10 year period, Wendy was part of a small but dedicated group that raised $1,000,000 for the restoration.

A rededication ceremony was held in June 2009. A garden, as an oasis for quiet contemplation and healing, was created around the chapel. Both Chapel and garden are a refuge that welcome patients and their families, staff and visitors.

Submitted by Faye Ferguson, CCARE Retiree

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