Sheila J. Rankin Zerr was born and raised in Powell River, B.C. and graduated from the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria in 1957. Her career as a staff nurse took her to Vancouver, B.C., Fredericton N.B., and Ottawa Ontario. After completing graduate studies at the University of Ottawa, she held teaching positions at the Ottawa General Hospital, the University of Ottawa, the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia.
Her teaching career covered numerous areas of nursing practice and theory. At the Ottawa General Hospital she taught Paediatric Nursing based in the clinical ward. At the University of Ottawa, as a tenured member of the faculty, she taught classroom courses combined with three days a week in the clinical area. After returning to British Columbia in 1985 she accepted a position at the University of Victoria to teach distance education courses by TV on the Knowledge Network. In 1994 she joined the faculty of the University of British Columbia to teach computer based distance education courses.
Her research projects and publications include writing and testing the Child Care Program for St John Ambulance, Pharmacology and the Nursing Process, gathering and publishing stories of nursing in northern Canada, numerous studies in nursing history. Her interest in displaying nursing history with costumed portrait dolls is evident in collections now held at the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia.
Sheila has served on numerous national and local healthcare boards and committees. She lives in Tsawwassen with her husband Ray. They have 2 married sons and 4 grandchildren.