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Jessie Young

Jessie Young

It all started when…

Jessie Young graduated from the Toronto General Hospital’s School of Nursing in 1937 and obtained a diploma in Hospital Administration and Teaching from the University of Toronto in 1940. Although she spent most of her career at the Toronto General, she also worked in England as an R.C.A.F. matron for 2 years, taught a nursing assistant course for several years and spent 5 years in San Francisco. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the San Francisco State College in 1954 before returning to the Toronto General where she stayed for the rest of her career, working as supervisor of the neurosurgery unit and in staff development.

Jessie’s interest in Neuro-nursing began in 1956 when the Toronto General opened a Neurosurgical Unit and she was asked to supervise it. Her research for setting up this unit involved visits to London and Manchester in England, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, New York and Boston, and finally, Montreal. Amongst her accomplishments have been presentations at various nursing meetings in Canada and the United States. She published in the American Journal of Neurosurgical Nursing, the Nursing Clinics of North America, and in Medical-Surgical Nursing textbooks. As well, she was involved in designing neurological assessment sheets and linen for Stryker frames.

Of immediate interest to CANN members was her commitment to neuro-nursing. Following her attendance at the organizational meeting of the American Association of Neurosurgical Nurses in Chicago in 1968, she decided to found an association for Canadian nurses with a common interest in the specialty—a history-making event in Canadian Nursing at the time. She was supported in this by a close associate, Dr. Morley, from the Toronto General Hospital’s Neurosurgical department and Dr. Feindel, a neurosurgeon at the Montreal Neurological Hospital and president of the Canadian Neurological Society. More than 40 nurses from across Canada attended the initial meeting in Montreal in June 1969 which was held in conjunction with the Canadian Congress of Neurological Sciences. Jessie was nominated as the first President of our association and served In both official and unofficial capacities for many years. She supported, advised and evaluated the developing work of the association, often effectively using her sense of humour and always her caring attitude.

Jessie Young retired from active nursing in 1975 but continued to attend most of our annual meetings. She was awarded an Honorary Membership in CANN in 1977, the first person to receive this honour. To further acknowledge her great contribution to our association, the Jessie Young Bursary was established in 1983 to encourage the continuing education of neuroscience nurses. She continued her active work with CANN as the Archivist until 1987. Jessie Young died in 2004 at the age of 93.

A feature on the life and contributions to CANN of Jessie Young can be found in the September 2004 issue of AXON.

In Memoriam

YOUNG, Jessie Fern — Passed away peacefully into the presence of the Lord at Bethany Lodge on Tuesday, February 3, 2004. Born July 28, 1910, loving daughter of the late Daniel and Annie Young of Erin and Acton, Ontario. Loving sister of the late Margaret Young and Myrtle Myers. Loving aunt to Audrey of North Dakota and predeceased by her niece Elaine. Jessie was a graduate of Toronto General Hospital’s nursing program and helped set up the Canadian Neurosurgical Nurses’ Association, and she became its first president. Friends called at the Trull Funeral Home, 2704 Yonge Street on Friday, February 6 from 10 a.m. until time of service in the chapel at 11 o’clock. Interment took place at Fairview Cemetery, Acton, on Friday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. “Absent from the body—at home with the Lord.”


National Neuroscience Nurses Day

Launched during the 2007 Annual General Meeting and Scientific Sessions held in Edmonton, Alberta this celebratory day was created to recognize the ongoing dedication and achievements of neuroscience nurses across Canada.
CANN members are encouraged to use this day to help spread the word of the contributions neuroscience nurses make each and every day to promote the health of all those affected by neurological disorders.

National Neuroscience Nurses Day occurs annually June 20th commemorating the anniversary of the creation of CANN in 1969.


Standards of Practice

CANN Standards of Practice were first approved by the Board of Directors in 1983.The development of these standards was critical to CANN’s recognition by CNA as a specialty group. The CANN Standards were subsequently revised in 1988. The current revisions of 2008 aim to address the scope of practice as defined by CNA, as well as reflect the variety of practice areas and settings of neuroscience nurses in this century and in this environment of health care reform. The revised standards also reflect changes in neuroscience nursing practice and emphasize caring for clients across the lifespan, in different health states and across the care continuum, rather than on single episodes of illness requiring hospitalization. The intent of the new scope of practice statement and revised standards is to describe neuroscience nursing practice broadly enough to include all sub-specialty areas, but specific enough to be remain useful.

CANN Standards of Practice (English version)

ACIIN Normes de pratique professionnelle (version francaise)


The CANN standards task force of the Canadian Association of Neuroscience Nurses gratefully acknowledges the standards work of the previous task forces of the Specialization Committee of the Canadian Association of Neuroscience Nurses in 1980, 1981, 1983, and 1988. The Canadian Association of Neuroscience Nurses (CANN) Professional Practice Task Force developed this document in late 2007. Task Force Members included:

  • Debbie Holtom, RN, BNSc, MEd, ACNP, CNN(C), Task Force Chairperson

  • Nancy Thornton, RN, MScN, CNN(C)

  • Kathy Doerksen, RN, MN, CNN(C)

  • Heather Stoyles, RN, CNN(C), CNCC(C)

  • Linda Kelloway, RN, MN, CNN(C)

Previous Specialization Committee Chairpersons (for standards development and revisions)

  • 1980 Eileen Edmonds

  • 1981 Pauline Weldon

  • 1983 Geraldine Fitzgerald

  • 1988 Ann Wyness

The Specialization Committee name was changed to: Professional Practice in 1998–1999.


Lynn Ann Baldwin Scholarship

The Lynn Baldwin Scholarship was established in 2007 to promote continuing professional education in line with the mission and vision of CANN. This scholarship provided financial support to qualified nurses to pursue graduate level education with neuroscience nursing as a focus. The amount awarded was determined yearly. The final award was given in 2010.

Dr. Marlene Reimer

Dr. Reimer completed her Bachelor of Nursing degree at the University of Manitoba, and then went on to complete her Masters in Nursing and PhD in Health Care Research at the University of Calgary. She was certified in neurosciences, and a SSHRC funded researcher. Dr. Reimer’s primary research interest were regarding quality of life measurements in cognitively impaired adults, including patients with brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, dementia and sleep disorders.

Dr. Reimer developed the Sleep Apnea Quality of Life Index (SAQLI), was the Director of the Wellness and Lifestyle Program at the Canadian Sleep Centre, and was also a research associate with the Alberta Lung Association of Sleep Institute. She was active with the Institute of Neuroscience in Calgary, sitting as a member on their inaugural advisory Board of Directors. She was a very active member of the Canadian Association of Neuroscience Nurses, participating actively on the national Board of Directors, and well as serving as President of the World Federation of Neuroscience Nurses. Prior to dying in 2005, Dr. Reimer was appointed to the position of Dean of Nursing at the University of Manitoba.

Dr. Reimer was a key player in neuroscience nursing being designated as a specialty area of practice and in CANN being the first group to enter into the certification process through the Canadian Nurses Association. Both before and after that accomplishment, Marlene served as a mentor and role model to many neuroscience nurses, helping them appreciate the value of nursing research and professional development. Her humanistic approach to all aspects of life made her near and dear to all who met her. She was the Mary Glover lecturer in 2003, where she spoke about leaving one’s legacy. It was a fitting topic, given Marlene’s medical prognosis at the time.

In 2006, the first Dr. Marlene Reimer award was given in honour of our colleague. In 2007, the Nursing Research Award and the Dr. Marlene Reimer Award were merged into the Marlene Reimer Research Award.

In Memoriam

Pauline Ruth Weldon

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Pauline at the age of 77 on January 8, 2015 in South Shore Regional Hospital, Bridgewater. Born on October 23, 1937 in Branch LaHave, Pauline was the only child of Fred and Etta (Hirtle) Veinot. She was predeceased by her partner-in-life, Wes. Surviving are her children, Rick (Carol) Weldon and Monique Gaudet; grandchildren, Jake, Jenae (Alex Power) and Robyn; great-grandchild, Maddox. Pauline graduated from New Germany Rural High School in 1956 having received Best All Around Student Award. Later she went on to graduate from the Victoria General Hospital School of Nursing in 1959 and from Dalhousie University School of Nursing with her BN in 1978. She worked at the Victoria General Hospital, NS Rehab Centre, Dalhousie MS Research Unit, Harbour View Haven Nursing Home, Lunenburg and Rosedale Home for Special Care, New Germany. She volunteered with the MS Society as the Provincial Vice President for NS; the Lutheran Church as a Board Member for the Eastern Synod University Chaplaincy Committee for 3 years; on the National Church Council, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada for 8 years; on the Eastern Synod Camp Committee for the Lutheran Church Camp Mush-a-Mush for 4 years; for the Canadian Association of Neuro-Science Nurses as Secretary, Treasurer, President, Councillor, Committee Member, and Editor of Axon and in 1991 was given her Honorary Membership in CANN; she served on the board for the National Journal of MS Care, having received a certificate of appreciation; received two MS Nursing Excellence Awards - one from the International Organization of MS nurses, the June Halper Award and the other from Berlex Canada. During her nursing career, she held certifications in Neuro-Science Nursing, MS Nursing, and Research Nursing. At one point in her career, she had all three certificates active at once. The last thing she did while actively working in MS care was to co-publish a booklet for newly diagnosed MS patients. She retired from nursing at age 75 after many previous attempts but was finally able to enjoy her retirement. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her. Cremation has taken place. No flowers please; donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Camp Mush-a-Mush, Rosedale Nursing Home or a charity of your choice. At Mom’s request, a celebration of her life will occur in the spring, at the former family homestead in Branch LaHave, when the birds are singing and the world returns to life. In