Centenary Medal – Genelle Leifso

Genelle Leifso is a ’71 graduate of the Holy Cross Hospital School of Nursing in Calgary. Beginning in 1994, as a part-time UBC student in the RN-to-BSN program, she completed her MSN in 2005. The recipient of various scholarships and bursaries, a highlight was to be the first recipient of the Canadian Nurses Foundation Helen K Mussallem Fellowship.

Her varied academic studies and the inspirational support of UBC nursing professors fuelled her own passion to promote nursing education, first as a perioperative clinical educator at Vancouver General Hospital and later as faculty in the post-graduate perioperative program at BCIT.

Genelle says that nursing was never “just a job” for her and, this being the case, she can’t stay away. While technically retired, she still works casually at the Chilliwack General Hospital OR, sharing 47 years of nursing knowledge and skill with colleagues. She is active in the Perioperative Registered Nurses Association of BC, the BC History of Nursing Society, and feeds a passion for international nursing.

She has participated in humanitarian surgical missions, developed and delivered perioperative skills workshops under the auspices of the Canadian Network for International Surgery, and is an active delegate with the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) Emergency Response Unit. She deployed to assist with relief efforts following the Nepalese earthquake, worked with displaced populations in Bangladesh, and recently was a facilitator at a CRC-supported workshop in Jerusalem. She has shared her experiences and the importance of perioperative education for nurses at conferences in Canada (e.g. Bethune Roundtable, ORNAC) as well as internationally (e.g. Trinidad, China).