The rich ‘Special History’ of Alberta’s Licensed Practical Nurses – CARE Magazine

The rich — and, at times, surprising — history of Alberta’s licensed practical nurses stretches back over more than seven decades. What began as a straightforward post-war occupation for women is better understood today as a highly competent nursing profession defined by regulatory excellence.  

This history has been shaped by legislation, amalgamation, salary negotiations, rules, regulations, discipline, court decisions, registration and wider healthcare needs. At its core, though, that history much like nursing itself – hinges on human stories.

The people who championed and pushed the profession forward over the years saw possibilities where others saw problems. They could look at a temporary barracks in post-war Calgary and imagine a training ground for healthcare workers (at first, strictly women); they believed a vocation could and must change with time; they were emboldened to gamble when others turned away; and they knew that education was the key to everything.

Without these people, the province’s licensed practical nurses might have quietly slipped into the past. They didn’t.

— Special History Edition, CARE Magazine, June 2020

A Story of Generations

The apex of a multi-year project, the Special History Edition of CARE magazine, centers on the fascinating, previously-undocumented history of practical nurses in Alberta.

Researchers dived deep and found stories, documents, and pictures that reveal the long road travelled by this nursing profession. In-depth interviews with Pat Fredrickson, CLPNA’s Executive Director/Registrar (1986-2006); Rita McGregor, CLPNA’s Director of Policy & Practice (1987-2006); Dr. William (Bill) A. DuPerron; Linda Stanger, CLPNA’s Chief Executive Officer (2005 – 2020); and more provided colour and context.

Everything is pulled together around a timeline of significance eras that mirror the province’s and country’s history:

  • Establishing a Profession (1947-1960)
  • New Demands & Changing Expectations (1961-1975)
  • Conflict & Consolidation (1976-1985)
  • Beginning of Self-Regulation (1986-2003)
  • Reshaping the Profession (2004-2020)

For nearly 17,000 licensed practical nurses, the CLPNA’s members, the issue arrives with a bold, newly-designed lapel pin proudly declaring ‘LPN’.

The College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta thanks all those involved with the project for their generosity.

Nursing history is made every day

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For more info, contact the CLPNA at Ask, 780-484-8886 or 1-800-661-5877 (toll-free in Alberta).