Centenary Medal – Frances Gowe

Inspired by her aunt who was a VON nurse, Fran began her nursing career at age 6 with her first nurses kit. It wasn’t until she received her RN status and graduated from UBC School of nursing that her career began in earnest at age 30. She discovered what a truly wonderful calling the nursing profession is starting with a position on the newly opened UBC Hospital surgical wards. It allowed her work in the Virgin Islands for five years, participating in disaster relief nursing following Hurricane Hugo, giving her valuable cross-cultural experience. Returning to Vancouver to complete her MScN at UBC, her thesis work led her to 20 years of dedicated nursing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, working with the most marginalized members of our society. Choosing to remain a frontline nurse, she joined the Maximally Assisted Therapy program providing HIV care and support on a daily outreach basis. Meeting her patients on the street, in SRO’s, and in the clinic, providing HIV, TB, Hep C, and mental health care in a respectful and relational manner, she fostered and maintained relationships that resulted in some retaining their health over decades. Fran retired at age 60, but her love for her patients and her work brought her back within a month! That was 8 years ago.“Thank you to UBC School of Nursing for starting me on this incredible journey. It has been an honour to be part of such significant work for almost 40 years.Thank you to my family and friends and all the teams I have worked with over the years without whose support it would not have been possible. I have never regretted my decision to be a nurse. Thank you for this award.”