Leaving With A Red Rose: A History of the Ottawa Hospital School of Nursing

Leaving With A Red Rose: A History of the Ottawa Hospital School of Nursing

More than four thousand nurses graduated from the Ottawa Civic Hospital School of Nursing during its forty-nine year existence (1924-1973). This lively history not only chronicles the growth of a justly acclaimed school, it also provides an interesting look at three earlier institutions from which, in 1919, the Ottawa Civic Hospital evolved: the County of Carleton General Protestant Hospital, the Ottawa Maternity Hospital and St. Luke’s General.

Leaving with a Red Rose is now out of print. (ISBN 0-9690761-0-X)


Chapter Five: Edith Young’s Organizing Genius

Another notable event in 1951 was the granting of two weeks’ sick leave to student nurses. Hitherto, nurses who had been unable to complete their ward assignments because of illness were required to make up all the time they lost before their finishing date, three years from the day they entered training. The School faculty had discussed the desirability of sick leave in the late 1940s but it was the fall of 1951 before it came about. The first move to obtain the coveted fringe benefit was made by the Student Council, who, through their secretary, Kathalyn Ann McKenzie, wrote to Miss Young, informing her that “the students of the Ottawa Civic Hospital would like to request some sick leave during their training.” The director of nursing lost no time in acting upon this request, passing it on promptly to Dr Piercey, who in turn advised Miss Young on 2 October that the trustees’ executive committee had agreed that, “for the present,” two weeks’ sick leave would be allowed student nurses during their three-year course. The award might not seem overly generous in 1980, but nevertheless it represented an important advance in what today would be termed staff relations.

The letter which precipitated these developments also triggered a reaction which the Student Council’s secretary clearly had not anticipated: in her reply, Miss Young asked if the OCH interdepartmental correspondence paper used for the letter had been purchased by the Council. She added, “I would suggest that you use a smaller sheet of paper for your correspondence and that you purchase a quantity of it from your fund for this purpose.”