To commemorate Western Regional School of Nursing's 50th anniversary in 2021, it is important to celebrate alumni and former faculty who have made significant contributions to the nursing profession. WRSON will showcase some of these individuals via the Nurses of Note campaign.
Donnie Sampson, RN, BN, MN-NP, MHS
Donnie graduated in 1995 from the Western Memorial Hospital School of Nursing Labrador Access Program. She holds a Bachelor of Nursing, Master of Nursing- Nurse Practitioner, and Master in Health Studies.
Donnie has obtained many rewarding experiences through various positions such as home care nurse, regional nurse, clinical coordinator, clinical manager, regional director community clinics and since 2014, Vice President and Chief Nurse for Labrador-Grenfell Health. She is also an Associate Professor at MUN, and was the recipient Award for Excellence in Nursing Administration from CRNNL in 2017.
As Chief Nurse, Donnie has led, and continues to lead valuable strategies to improve patient experiences, as well as champion the nursing role and support the implementation of Evidence-Based-Practices such as the baby friendly initiative and the implementation of the Model of Nursing Clinical Practice (MoNCP).
Dr. Carla Foley Wells
Dr. Carla Wells (RN PhD) graduated from Western Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in 1975. She has had a wonderful and varied career spanning three provinces and culminating in her becoming Director of WRSON from which she retired in 2018.
Carla was recognized for her tremendous contributions to nursing over the years such as three provincial Awards of Excellence; two in Nursing Practice from Ontario (Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, RNAO), one in Newfoundland and Labrador, and one for Nursing Education in 2015 from the former Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador, ARNNL, now the College of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador. Carla has also received the Queen's Jubilee Award (2016) for her lifelong volunteer work with older adults and the Veteran's Affairs Commendation for her volunteer work with veterans.
She contributed significantly to the well-being of seniors. Also, she was a consultant to nurses and saw many people herself to provide them with wound care and ostomy care. Carla has made significant and longstanding contributions to people, staff and students.
Tonya Penney, RN, BN
Tonya Penney graduated from WRSON's BN (Collaborative) Program in 2004. She began her career in Long Term Care, Palliative Care and Acute Care Medicine at Western Memorial Regional Hospital. In 2007, Tonya accepted a permanent position on the medicine unit where she continues to work today. Tonya has become a Wound Care Resource Nurse and she provides clinical expertise that supports evidenced based wound care to patients.
Tonya says she enjoys the diversity of the medicine unit which specializes in peritoneal dialysis, oncology chemotherapy, and acute stroke care. Tonya, along with her co-workers, have been instrumental in developing one of the first Acute Stroke Care Units in this province.
Tonya has been the recipient a Guardian Angel Award, an award that she was honored to receive from a patient who felt that Tonya provided exemplary care during their hospital stay. She has been a preceptor and mentor for many nursing students and new graduates.
To quote Tonya, "I love so many parts of nursing that I hope to expand my practice to something new in the future. Until then, I will continue to work hard to help patients return to their healthiest life or die with the highest dignity."
Michelle King, RN, BN
Michelle King is the Clinical Nurse Specialist of the Palliative Care Service of Western Health. Michelle graduated from the Western Regional School of Nursing in 1998. She has dedicated most of her career to providing palliative care to patients and supporting their families. She was one of the first nurses to work in the Palliative Care Unit here at Western Memorial Regional Hospital since its opening in 2002. Michelle completed her BN degree in 2014, and is currently enrolled in the Master of Nursing program at Athabasca University. Michelle is a LEAP (Learning Essential Approaches to Palliative Care) facilitator and a member of various committees dedicated to palliative care. She is an essential part of the Palliative Care Team in the Western Health region.
Cynthia Davis RN, BScN, MN
Cynthia graduated from Western Regional School of Nursing's RN diploma program in 1988. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) from Dalhousie University and a Master of Science from the University of Toronto. She has also completed several courses at the PhD level.
Cynthia's career began as a frontline nurse in a variety of settings in Canada and the United States. In Canada, she began work at St. Michael's hospital where she had the opportunity to work as a manager in the surgical and cardiac programs during a time of change for the organization. She later joined St. Mary's General Hospital in Kitchener, Ontario and led the development of a new tertiary level cardiac program.
Following this, Cynthia returned to her home province where she joined Western Health, in Newfoundland and Labrador. She served eight years as the Vice President of Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer, and went on to be appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer. In January, 2021, Cynthia joined Lakeridge Health in Ontario, as President and CEO.
Christa Mosher, RN, BN
Christa graduated from WRSON's BN (Collaborative) Program in 2001 and began working as a casual public health nurse in August of that same year. Her other previous work experiences include; recovery room for the endoscopy/bronchoscopy/colonoscopy suites, mental health, and the teaching at LPN program at the College of the North Atlantic. In 2003, following a 6-month stent in South Korea teaching English, Christa returned to NL to continue her career in Community Health Nursing. Christa accepted a permanent public health position in 2006 obtained her Canadian Nurses Association Certification in Community Health Nursing in 2007. While in this role, Christa has been a preceptor to several WRSON students.
In 2015, Christa began her career as a Communicable Disease Control (CDC) Nurse. This area has always been a passion for Christa and she remains there today. Since then, she has willingly shared her expertise on vaccinations through providing several presentations to students at the school.
Her main responsibility is the publicly funded immunization program for Western Health. Christa has been instrumental in both regional and provincial efforts to ensure that Communicable Disease programs are effective in achieving health protection. Christa has demonstrated outstanding leadership during the last six years, most recently throughout the COVID 19 pandemic, as her dedication to supporting public health programs deserves to be recognized.
Dena Lake, BA, LPN
Dena Lake graduated from the WRSON Practical Nursing Program in 1998 and has worked as an LPN for the past 23 years. Dena worked within Western Health in both long-term care and acute care settings for the first 8 years of her career. She was involved in the initial pilot project to increase the LPN scope of practice with medication administration at Western Memorial Regional Hospital. From 2009- 2018 Dena held a permanent position on 3A medicine at Western Memorial Regional Hospital, and also worked within a number of temporary positions during that time, allowing her to gain experience in a variety of other areas. She worked with Western Health in the initiation of clinical online documentation in 2014-2015. In 2017, she began working with Corner Brook family physician Dr. Pieroway as the clinical assistant in Primary Care, and assisted in the development of a chronic disease management program, a geriatric capacity assessment program, and in several other specialized clinics.
Since 2018, Dena has been working as the Provincial Regulatory Officer for the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador, the regulatory body for Licensed Practical Nurses in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Edith Eddison-Patey, LPN
Edith graduated from WRSON in 1998 from the Practical Nurse Program and was among the first class to graduate with the title of Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in Newfoundland and Labrador. She was one the first graduates to complete a preceptorship in another province, and attributes this experience to her later accepting a position with Brooks Health Centre, Brooks, Alberta, where she continues to enjoy her very rewarding career.
Edith worked in a float position during her first four years and gained a variety of experience in this position having worked in acute care, palliative care, pediatrics, maternity, and the ER. In 2004 she took a full-time position in a Maternity and acute care unit which soon became her favorite place to work. Edith has seen many changes in the scope of practice for LPNs over her 22-year career.
In 2006 she was asked to join the MORE OB team for the Brooks Health Centre. She was the first LPN in Alberta to become a MORE OB member, and she continues to be an active team member today.
Ivy Wells, LPN
Ivy graduated in 1998 from the Practical Nursing Program at WRSON. Early in her career she worked many different areas within Western Health, including the Interfaith Home, the O'Connell Center, and at Western Memorial Regional Hospital. After floating to the several nursing areas, Ivy transitioned to working in Adult General Surgery and has worked in this area for the past thirteen years.
During this time the role and scope of the LPN has continually adapted and broadened. As a result, Ivy's education has continuously expanded to reflect the growing and diverse nature of the LPN role. Ivy exclaimed that working in a surgical area has been the highlight of her career! Ivy has been an LPN at Western health for 23 years and takes pride in her career and is grateful for all the opportunities she has encountered thus far.
Doreen Chaulk, RN, M.Sc.
Doreen was a faculty member at the Western Memorial Hospital School of Nursing from 1973-1986. She was a very well respected and knowledgeable instructor with expertise in mental health nursing.
She enthusiastically shared her compassion for individuals experiencing mental health illness. She was an excellent teacher and supported students in their learning. Also, she valued learning from students.
Doreen graduated from the SA Grace General Hospital in St. John's, Memorial University of Newfoundland, and the University of Leicester, U.K.
After sharing her wealth of knowledge and expertise at our school of nursing, she assumed leadership positions as the Director of Mental Health and Addictions and in Senior Management, Western Health.
Doreen was visionary in her understanding of issues that persons' experience when they are going through mental health challenges. For example, she saw the strengths and resiliency that individuals possess that helped them through difficult times. She was an advocate for individuals experiencing mental health issues. She was always supportive, and appreciated the support she received from others. She remarked that every field of nursing was a learning opportunity that she was grateful to have. She thoroughly enjoyed her work, from teaching students about mental health care to being an administrator. For her lifetime devoted to mental health, Doreen is being recognized as one of WRSON's 50th Anniversary Nurses of Note.
Jennifer Crane, RN, BN
Jennifer graduated from WRSON in 2015 with a Bachelor of Nursing Degree. In 2019 she decided to expand her nursing knowledge and enrolled in the Master of Nursing - Nurse Practitioner option at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
She began her career at the Janeway Pediatric Emergency Department while also working in the Outpatient clinics and the inpatient Medicine/Surgery units at the Janeway. She moved on to working with adult populations in Orthopedics, and Neurology Medicine and today continues to work at the Health Sciences Centre Adult Emergency Department.
In 2015, she helped co-found the non-profit organization, Raise Up Fundraising. The organization strives to work in partnership with community organizations to provide fundraising and educational support to assist underserved persons and groups in Newfoundland and Labrador. Jennifer continues her leadership and advocacy with the organization and serves as a Board Member.
Charlene Lovell, RN
Charlene Lovell graduated from Western Memorial Hospital School of Nursing's RN program in 1994. After graduation she moved to Bonavista to work, and returned to Western Memorial Regional Hospital, Corner Brook, in 1996 where she spent the next 19 years working acute care Medicine. After 19 years in cardiac care, Charlene began working in the Dressing Clinic and obtained specialized training in Wound Care techniques. She also completed education in the Endoscopy Suite and spent two years working in that area.
Charlene currently works in both the Dressing Clinic and Urodynamics Lab, at Western Memorial Regional Hospital. Charlene has worked in many areas of nursing, always displaying excellence, leadership and dedication to the profession. Charlene has been the recipient of two guardian angel awards.
When asked about her career as a nurse Charlene said, "I love being a nurse, it's what defines me. Nursing is the most rewarding profession there is. I just love to help people, see them get better, and help them go home happy."
Mary Dennis-Gallant, RN
Mary graduated from the Western Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in 1989. She worked on medicine and orthopedics before formally becoming a palliative care nurse and leader. Mary is best known for her significant contributions to care of patients in the Palliative Care Unit. She was one of the first nurses hired to establish the Palliative Care Unit. She also provided coverage for the Clinical Nurse Specialist and traveled the region. In 2017, the Canadian Nurses Association honoured Mary as one of 150 nurses celebrated across Canada for being a health care champion. For Mary's tremendous contributions to palliative care nursing, she is being recognized as one of WRSON's 50th Anniversary Nurses of Note.
Rory Tatchell, RN, BN
Rory graduated from WRSON's BN (Collaborative) Program in 2002. Throughout his career, Rory has embraced many areas of nursing including critical care, pediatrics, obstetrics, medical-surgical, and education. Most recently, he has become a part of the WRSON family by accepting a permanent position as a nursing instructor. Rory is a clinical nurse expert in Critical care nursing and frequently shares his expertise by teaching interdisciplinary critical care courses within Western Health. He is highly experienced and is an absolute asset to the nursing profession. While he was born and raised in Newfoundland, his career has provided him with a variety of opportunities provincially, nationally and internationally. Some of his most notable contributions include the provision of nursing care in rural communities in Northern Canada, volunteering to provide nursing care services in Haiti with Team Broken Earth, and most recently, he volunteered to travel to Ontario to provide critical care nursing services during the peak of the COVID 19 pandemic. Rory is a strong patient advocate, demonstrates continuous leadership, and is dedicated to sharing his passion for safe and ethical nursing care to all his students.
Marie Daniels, RN
Marie graduated in 1977 from the RN Diploma Program at Western Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. Over the years, Marie worked as a Registered Nurse on post-operative Surgery, in the nursery and NICU, on Gynecology, Medicine, and Renal Dialysis. She eventually ended her career as Patient Care Coordinator (PCC) on 3A Medicine at Western Memorial Regional Hospital. Marie's nominator stated "Marie welcomed me (and other graduates) into the nursing medicine family with kindness; her professionalism and caring demeanor helped ease my transition as new graduate. Marie was an amazing leader, mentor, and role model, and was a true advocate for client care".
Linda Norman-Robbins, RN, B.N., M.Sc.A
Director WRSON, 1987-2015
Linda, a Registered Nurse for over forty years, provided visionary leadership to WRSON for 28 years from 1987-2015. During her tenure she led the school through a number of transformations.
Linda worked diligently to meet the call from the Canadian Nurses Association for entry to practice as a Registered Nurse to be at the Baccalaureate undergraduate degree level by the year 2000. She, along with partners across the province were successful in the development of the BN (Collaborative) Program that started in 1996 and continues today in collaboration with Memorial University Faculty of Nursing (MUNFON) and the Centre for Nursing Studies (CNS).
Linda's leadership was integral in the following initiatives: the development and implementation of the first Nursing Access Program in 1992; the offering of the practical nursing program from 1997-2002; the establishment of the Integrated Nursing Access Program (INAP) in 2005; and the addition of the Bachelor of Nursing (Collaborative) Program Fast Track option in 2001.
Linda's incredible guidance, leadership, and knowledge led the school to two straight seven-year accreditation and approval ratings from the Canadian as Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) and the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador (ARNNL) in 2001 and 2008.
Linda's commitment to excellence in nursing education, practice and research is commendable. She has committed her career to the advancement of the profession and she has made significant impacts on thousands of graduates, and numerous faculty and staff. Linda is being recognized as one of WRSON's 50th Anniversary Nurses of Note.
Marion Hoddinott, RN
Marion graduated in 1974 from the RN Diploma Program at Western Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. She has worked her entire career at Western Memorial Regional Hospital, and has obtained a wealth of experience in a variety of different areas including Obstetrics, Recovery Room, Day Surgery, the Operating Room, Triage and the Emergency Department. She also worked on the post-operative General Surgery nursing unit for nearly a decade, and spent approximately 20 years as Head Nurse in the Recovery Room. Just prior to retirement, Marion provided continued leadership in the role of Site Clinical Manager. Marion's nominator stated "Marion had a tremendous impact on me as a new graduate nurse. I considered her my role model; I looked up to her as she demonstrated exceptional knowledge, professionalism, prioritization and organization, as well as kindness and compassion".
Paula Didham, RN, BN, MN
Paula graduated from the RN Diploma Program at Western Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, and was a Nurse Educator at Western Regional School of Nursing for over 20 years. During her time as a faculty member she was student focused, and made outstanding contributions to nursing through her research. Paula was named the recipient of the Award for Excellence in Nursing Research from the former Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador (ARNNL). Her nursing research contributions have helped support various initiatives, including the Western Newfoundland Women's Wellness Program and the Student Wellness Program at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University. Additionally, she played an instrumental role in the Integrated Nursing Access Program which aimed to recruit and retain Inuit nurses. She has practiced not only within Canada but also abroad. Paula's nominator stated "I believe that Paula has demonstrated outstanding leadership and dedication to the profession".