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A Message from our President – AGM 2020

What a year this has been for all of us!   As with almost all non-profit societies it has certainly been challenging for us to carry out our mandate this year. That said, we are proud to report that we still managed to provide 182 bursaries to BC’s nurses to assist with their basic and advanced education.  We have also been exploring some new opportunities for RNFBC going forward and are looking forward to sharing them with all of our members, donors and friends.

Since the opportunities to meet are very limited right now due to Covid 19, we have chosen the option given by BC Societies to not hold an AGM in 2020 and instead push it forward to a date in early 2021.   We will let you know when and where it will be in the new year.  Meantime, if you are not an active member, please consider becoming one so you can join us.  If you are a member, please be sure to renew your present membership before years end.  We need and depend on your support!

Also, as this difficult year comes to a close and we consider the horrendous impact this pandemic has had on our loved ones and colleagues, we hope you also think about the amazing skill nurses have demonstrated and sacrifices they have made in caring for so many sickened by it.  As a way to recognize and support their work, please consider making a meaningful one time or monthly gift to RNFBC to help support our current and future nurses.  The process details can be found on www.rnfbc.ca.

In closing, on behalf of the RNFBC Board of Directors and our terrific staff I would also like to thank you all for your interest and support.  It means more than you know!  Until we can actually meet in person, please stay in touch – and stay safe.

Best regards:

Heather Mass RN Msc, Interim President
on behalf of the Volunteer Board of Directors
Registered Nurses Foundation of BC

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As St. Joseph’s School of Nursing Celebrates 100 years, please meet Linda Bitterman, Alumnae Executive – Her Nursing Journey and Legacy..

Last winter our St. Joseph’s Alumnae executive were excited, busily planning our 100th year anniversary in 2020 when COVID-19 hit. This got me thinking back to my early nursing days and realized how much a bursary can help a student nurse and how very important the established bursaries like St. Joseph’s are. In talking with RNFBC on how to promote our bursary, we thought what better way than celebrating St. Joseph’s SON 100th anniversary with a story about my personal nursing journey and legacy.

Many students know that nursing is going to be their chosen career, but that wasn’t me! As a teen, I was obsessed with my sports, ie. basketball and skating in the winter, and softball all summer! So, my dream was to be a P. E. Teacher. That all changed in a moment’s time at age 16 when I was a passenger in a head-on 3 car collision. There were 15 young people involved, with one dead and all but one injured, and most with fractures. This was in the days before seat belts so I was sent flying through the front windshield. The boy I was with, who was our driver, pulled me out of the car then laid down and died. He had severed his aorta. I had multiple injuries, internal bleeding, head injury, and over 130 sutures to my face and neck (apparently the nurses counted them. I wouldn’t know as I was still unconscious!). I’m telling you all this because, as a result of my time in the hospital, and all I saw and heard changed the course of my life! I got to really like most of my nurses, but there was one that was very impatient with me. I remember her forcing red Jello on me, and telling me if I didn’t eat it I’d have to have the IV back in! It took a lot of years before I could eat red Jello on my own! I also remember the staff talking about me but I couldn’t open my eyes or say anything! This was something I was very aware of when I was nursing and always remember the sensitivity of the patient’s feelings. Because of my injuries I was out of high school for 2 years before I was accepted at St. Joseph’s here in Victoria. I would always get the same thing told to me – “your marks are good, but we can’t take a chance on you, health-wise.” Thank God for the wonderful nuns who were willing to give me a chance! So I graduated in 1964, but did have to make up about 5 months because of having pneumonia in my last year, but I did make it!

My 1964 Graduating Class

>55 years later….that’s me in the centre in a striped sweater!

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