Centenary Medal – Dawn Faris

Dawn Faris (nee Cant) is an excellent example of a well-rounded nurse, having acquired nursing expertise in a variety of employment. This began immediately after receiving her BSN from UBC in 1955. She married Don Faris the day after her practicum in June. (Incidentally, this makes her the daughter-in-law of Marion (Fisher) Faris, not just an alumna, but the very first alumna of the School of Nursing). Dawn served on the surgery unit at the TB Pavilion for six months, and then the newlyweds travelled to pre-independent Northern Nigeria, where Don was posted to an agricultural research centre operated by Her Majesty’s Overseas Civil Service. There, Dawn took on the role of a “dispensary operator” at a nearby college where she was expected to perform nurse practitioner-level duties. After four years, the family, now with two young boys – soon to be three – returned to North America. At the Davis campus at University of California where her husband was obtaining a further degree, Dawn became relief obstetrics supervisor.  When the family moved again, she performed general duties in a 34-bed community hospital in northern Alberta. Next, she accepted the start-up role as the mental health nurse who served a large swath of northern Alberta and BC by car or chartered aircraft. In 1977, Dawn returned to UBC to pursue her MSN with a focus on curriculum design and education. She notes that she has been “hugely blessed with the stress on critical thinking and problem-solving which have served [her] well ever since.” Dawn and her husband departed for India where they spent the next twelve years near Hyderabad. There she assisted in designing the curriculm for the MSN programme at Osmania University. She also worked in a family health care programme for workers from 30 countries employed at the international institute where Don worked. Under a WHO contract, Dawn worked with the ministry of health in Jakarta designing evaluation strategies for students’ clinical nursing practice. Finally, she rounded out her career with an NGO in India setting up a community-based health clinic used as a demonstration model for nursing students on practicum. Dawn’s scope of knowledge and experience make her an extraordinary example of the range of duties and success that can be achieved with a UBC nursing degree.