Centenary Medal – Barbara Pesut

Barbara’s first experience in healthcare was as a care aide working in residential care. Her experiences there of developing meaningful relationships with residents led to her desire to become a nurse. She completed her nursing diploma at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in 1982 and began her career working in oncology and bone marrow transplant at BC Children’s hospital. She then worked for several years as a nurse in rural BC. Those rural nursing experiences sparked an interest in critical care nursing and so she returned to the city to complete a critical care nursing certificate. This led to a decade of nursing within critical care as a nurse and educator. She soon realized how much she loved teaching and so decided to pursue graduate studies. After completing her MSN at UBC Vancouver, she transitioned to a nursing faculty position at Trinity Western University and had the privilege of teaching the first graduating class.  She then served as the Chair of the School of Nursing for six years. During that time, she became increasingly interested in how to provide ethical spiritual and religious care in an increasingly diverse society. This interest led to a return to graduate studies and the completion of a PhD in 2005. In 2007, she returned to her alma mater, taking up a nursing faculty position at UBC’s Okanagan campus. There she received a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Health, Ethics, and Diversity. Her research interests lie within palliative care and focus on strategies to relieve suffering and improve quality of life for patients and families. A volunteer navigation intervention developed jointly with colleagues at the University of Alberta is now being scaled out to twenty sites across Canada.  In reflecting on her career Barbara said, “I love nursing and am so grateful for all of the opportunities that have come my way, and the growth I have experienced, as a result of being part of this wonderful profession.”