Nan was born in New Westminster in 1914 and entered the Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing in 1930, graduating in 1934. Following graduation she worked as a general duty nurse and in private practice until she enrolled in the Public Health Nursing diploma program at UBC, graduating in 1945. For the next seven years, she worked as a public health nurse in Rossland and Chilliwack. In 1954, she received a BSN degree at UBC. Following graduation she was hired by the World Health Organization as a public health nursing consultant in East Pakistan and Iran. She left WHO four years later to attend the University of Washington in Seattle and graduated a year later with a Masters in Nursing.
Nan spent the next nineteen years at RNABC, first as Director of Education Services and in 1970 was appointed Executive Director. Many remarkable changes occurred during these years. The number of RNs almost doubled, nursing education began moving away from hospital schools to educational institutions, the RNABC labour relations division was created, a disciplinary process was formalized and RNABC expanded its influence on health care delivery in BC.
In 1978, recognizing her outstanding forty-three career as a nursing leader, Nan received the RNABC Award of Merit, the Association’s highest honour. At this time she retired. She died in Port Coquitlam in July 1996 at age eighty –two.
Written by Ethel Warbinek, BC History of Nursing Society
BC History of Nursing Society – Nan Kennedy Page