Centenary Medal – Sally MacLean

Sally Butling Maclean is a three time graduate of the UBC School of Nursing. It all started in Nelson BC, a small town on Kootenay Lake known for its stunning natural beauty and its many “Dreamers and Dissidents.” Sally too had a dream: find meaningful work and see the world. Thus began a began a 50-year stellar career that ranged from acute care to public health, education, administration, policy consultant and global health practitioner, in settings across Canada, Africa, Europe and Asia.

In 1982 after more than 20 years as a staff nurse in several different areas of practice, and a newly minted master’s degree from UBC School of Nursing, she moved from direct care to the realm of nursing policy with a focus on improving systems of professional self-regulation and standards for nursing practice and education. Notable developments included establishing a province-wide system of RN and nursing student representatives with a mandate to increase understanding and use of newly established standards for nursing practice. As well, she was instrumental in developing the first list of basic competencies required for entry to practice in BC and implementing the first distance education RN refresher program in collaboration with the BC Open Learning Institute

In 1994 her career took a new direction again when she moved to Ottawa for a one-year term with the Canadian Nurses Association to conduct a review of a Canadian International Agency-funded program that supported partnerships with national nursing associations in developing countries, including Benin, Chile, Colombia, Nepal, Nicaragua and Uganda. This was the start of the international phase of her career with a mix of volunteer and contract work in Europe and Asia. She held strategic planning workshops with nurses in Pakistan and Rwanda, and supported nurses in Uganda, Ethiopia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbia in the development of professional nursing associations that give nurses a voice in the development of national health plans. One of the most rewarding outcomes of this work was developing a system of baccalaureate education for nurses and midwives in post-war Kosovo.

The nursing profession—locally, nationally and globally—has benefitted enormously from her contributions.