Nursing Pioneer Leaves Bequest to School of Nursing

Helen Shore
Helen Shore
(Photo by Don Erhardt)

As someone who shares a common ancestry with Florence Nightingale, it seems only natural that Helen would emerge as one of the most influential nursing leaders in the province. She has also been a generous UBC donor for many years and recently created an estate gift, which reflects her passionate advocacy for the School of Nursing.

“The role of a nurse, in my opinion, is to draw from science-based knowledge and develop a care plan to help an individual develop abilities to cope with and manage a health issue,” says Helen Shore, a UBC alumna (BSN 61, MA 71) and Associate Emerita of Nursing.

Helen was born in Calgary, Alberta. Her father and her mother were pioneer doctor and nurse in Bowden and Alix in northern Alberta who had a great influence on Helen. As a young woman, she moved to Vancouver and enrolled in the Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) diploma program. After graduating, she was assigned to open a ward in the Infectious Disease Hospital at VGH during a polio epidemic. She then went on to be a staff nurse at the Calgary General and King George VII in Hamilton, Bermuda to gain experience.

When Helen returned to Canada, she completed a diploma course in Teaching and Supervision at UBC School of Nursing and then taught Nursing Arts at the Royal Columbian Hospital, New Westminster for ten years. She then enrolled in UBC School of Nursing and earned her BSN, which led to a position with the Metropolitan Health Services as a public health nurse in Vancouver.

It was during this time that Helen met Trenna Hunter Director of Public Health Nursing and a former President of the Canadian Nurses Association. Both her BSN education and Trenna Hunter’s encouragement served to enlarge Helen’s understanding of nursing.

“The thing about Trenna was that she fostered public health nurses to demonstrate advanced skills, and she supported innovation in nursing practice. Working with her increased my pride and confidence.”

Although being a public health nurse was deeply satisfying to Helen, a phone call from Evelyn Mallory, Director of the UBC School of Nursing (SON), would soon change the course of her career.
“To make a long story short, she offered me a faculty job substituting for a professor who was going on education leave,” explains Helen. “It was a great offer, so I thought why not?”

At UBC, Helen met many academics focused on the challenges and needs of the profession. She presented nursing workshops on “Nursing Process” that were held throughout the province and later completed an MA in Adult Education, which reflected her new role as an educator. She was proud to join a committee of faculty members who would develop and implement a new curriculum for the 4-year BSN.

Today, Helen is recognized as a pioneer of her profession, both within the University and within the province. She hopes that her gift will help to highlight the School’s unique history and make it stronger: “Nursing has been a part of the UBC campus for 100 years now,” says Helen. “But we don’t really have a space that is suitable for our Bachelor, Master, and PhD programs or to recognize the important contributions our graduates make to society. That’s my reason for making this gift—to support fellowships, nursing history, and nursing space, all those things that will bring the distinction and recognition that is appropriate to a modern and progressive School.”