Dorothy Jean Kergin (BSN ’52)

Dorothy Kergin was director of the School of Nursing at the University of Victoria from 1980 until shortly before she died in 1989. During her tenure, the distance education degree program for registered nurses grew rapidly; nurses throughout the province were able to take their entire programs through a combination of innovative distance learning courses, some of which involved use of the newly established Knowledge Network and satellite television to take education into remote areas of the province. Before moving to Victoria, she was associate dean of Health Sciences (Nursing), McMaster University. An extremely influential woman, she was active in promoting collaborative relations between nursing education and nursing service; even when she was beginning her career with the provincial public health department in BC she was committed to joint appointments between university programs and agencies so expertise could be shared. At McMaster, she was deeply involved in developing an expanded role for nursing in primary care; her research in this area later was incorporated into basic degree programs as part of the physical assessment skills for nurses and firmly established new roles for all nurses. Dorothy Kergin also was involved with international nursing and was consultant to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) regarding development of nursing in Pakistan. She was president of the Canadian Association of University Schools of Nursing from 1976 to 1980.

(Excerpt from Legacy: History of Nursing Education at the University of British Columbia 1919-1994, 1994, Glennis Zilm and Ethel Warbinek, Chapter 4).

Other material provided by the BC History of Nursing Society archives