Centenary Medal – Linda Leonard

What shaped my practice of nursing as an educator, clinician, researcher, and advocate? Answer: my BSN and MSN studies at UBC and encouragement as a UBC professor of nursing (1975-2003) to enrich my teaching by active engagement in nursing practice.  My major focus was perinatal, family and community health nursing plus curriculum development. The rewards: students who enthusiastically provided quality nursing care and my work with multiple-birth families.

Over 35 years ago, I was introduced to multiple-birth families. I had little understanding of the issues that were unique to these families; the health risks associated with a multiple pregnancy; the unrelenting and exhausting nature of parenting young twins, triplets or more; and the virtually non-existent multiples-specific resources. Parents and infants became my teachers.

The outcome was that I developed the UBC Multiple-Births Support Program which provides, gratis, selected support to families during multiple pregnancy and childhood, to professionals from various disciplines and to local, national and international multiple-birth organizations. One component is Twins, Triplets & More! A Resource Guide for Multiple Pregnancy and Parenthood www.nursing.ubc.ca/pdfs/twinstripletsandmore.pdf.  My advocacy for these families has achieved national and international exposure via numerous publications and presentations, the development of best-practices guidelines and policies, and linkages to Multiple Births Canada (Advisory Board) and the Multiple Births Foundation (UK).

It was an honour to receive accolades for the quality of my teaching and nursing practice:  the UBC Killam Teaching Prize, the Multiple Births Canada Making a Difference Award, the RNABC Excellence in Nursing Practice. The UBCSoN Centenary Medal of Distinction is no exception.