Category Archives: Nurse

Mary Steinhauser (1942-1975)

“An example for all Canadians” are the words of Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, as he describes Mary’s heroic actions while being held hostage for 41 hours in a June 1975 attempted prison break and her service as a nurse, social worker and activist.

“Mary will be remembered with respect and gratitude for her outstanding courage and fortitude in recent days and for her service in a most difficult and demanding vocation. Your daughter has set an example for all Canadians” …. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, in a June 11,1975 telegram to Mary’s parents on the day of Mary’s tragic death at the BC Penitentiary, New Westminster BC.
Sometimes referred to as a “BC Hero”, this outstandingly brave young woman began her career as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse at Essondale in 1960, graduating in 1962. Following graduation, she continued working as an RPN at Essondale, Woodlands School, and Tranquille School until 1965.

Call For Submissions To A Collection Of Memories Of Mary

Poster (please post)

The spotlite is on

Donna Duncan RPN
“A conduit for change,” is how Donna Duncan describes her role as a psychiatric nurse, and how she hopes to inspire new hires and students that regularly spend time at the Mission Mental Health Centre (located not far from downtown Mission, B.C.).

Donna asserts that as health care providers, we cannot “empower” another human being. What we can do, is be there to support and educate clients and their families, to ensure that the individual’s own internal forces are marshalled and mobilized–so that they may be able to empower themselves. Thus it is that we take our professional and personal life experiences and education … and subsequently convey this storehouse carefully and meaningfully to our clientele.

One aspect that Donna spoke about at length, was the perpetuation of the impact that trauma may have played in the psychological make-up or experience of many of our clients. It is not in dispute that some people live with endogenous forms of mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar illness, anxiety or depressive disorders. In many cases, the progenitors for their respective vulnerability was set in motion at conception or neo-nataly. It could also be that toxic or other insults damaged the person’s central nervous system along the way.

However, we are beginning to truly appreciate that for a great many of our clients, some features we see within them later in life, are as a consequence of trauma … keeping in mind that the event or events were traumatic from the individual’s perception and experience–not ours.