Please read an important update on the CARNA Museum and Archives.
Registered nurses have always played an important role in the lives of Albertans. The history of registered nurses, their practice and the growth of this province are closely linked, as nurses and nursing practices have continually adapted to meet the changing needs of Albertans. Their story is of innovation, strength, leadership and advocacy.
Alberta wasn’t much more than a decade old and troubled farming in the south had brought homesteaders north. Nurses courageously ventured out to meet the desperate need for health services in the most remote districts in the province.
When the Second World War broke out, nurses were there - providing care to the front line. Often on the move, and short on supplies, nurses embraced the challenge to apply their knowledge and think on their feet.
After the war, government grants and the oil boom supported a rapid expansion of hospitals and advances in technology and medical techniques helped establish the acute care health system that we know today.
This era saw progress that would shape contemporary nursing. Graduate programs were introduced, specialized nursing areas were developed, collective bargaining was established and mandatory registration was achieved.
The role of the RN has continued to adapt to serve the changing health-care needs of Albertans. Increased collaboration among health-care professionals has helped open access to care, while continued development on nursing regulation seeks to ensure RNs are working to their full scope of practice.