Helen Mallett Guenter-Smith: An early leader in Nursing education at Camosun

Helen Mallett started teaching in Camosun’s Practical Nursing program in 1971. At that time, the Practical Nursing program was offered at Junction Campus, which was a satellite campus of the Trades Training Division of the college.

Helen had been with the college for a couple of years when the Program Coordinator resigned. After some urging from fellow team members, Helen agreed to take on the Coordinator role, a position she held until she retired, a total of 15 years.

In the early 1970s, the college was approached by the Gorge Road Extended Care Hospital and  the Juan de Fuca Hospital Society requesting a training program for their workers. This marked the beginning of the Long term Care Aide program.

All the colleges in the province were collaborating on the development of these programs. Helen’s team worked many hours to develop the Long Term Care Aide curriculum, a model that became the basis for the program used throughout the province.  In time, the training of home care workers was also addressed.

Long Term Care Aide students, 1980s

In the early 1980’s, the Junction campus programs became part of the college’s new Health and Human Services Division. The college was forging ahead with a building program and there were plans to move the Junction programs to the Lansdowne campus. In preparation, Helen and her team researched and designed the Nursing laboratory for the new Fisher building. Unexpectedly, the college received funding for a new Registered Nursing program so the Nursing laboratory was reassigned to the long-awaited RN program.

Consequently, Helen and her committed team continued their important work at Junction campus developing and implementing provincial training programs that supplied skilled and knowledgeable workers for the healthcare community. Helen retired in 1988 and Junction campus was finally closed in the late 1990s.

Most of the Junction teaching Team around the time of Helen’s retirement in the late 1980s
Left to Right: Audrey Green, Mae Mellor, Gerry Kachaluba, Helen Mallett, Pat Cameron, Faye Ferguson, Pat Wong,
Sue Melrose, Joyce Lennard

Story by Faye Ferguson, CCARE Retiree

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