Memorial’s Faculty of Nursing dean has roots in Newfoundland and Labrador that go way back to 1787, when her great-, great-, great-, great-grandfather Charles Vey immigrated to Trinity, Trinity Bay, from Poole, England.
Born in New Brunswick, the historic connection to the province was certainly a draw for Dr. Alice Gaudine, who moved to St. John’s in 1980 to work at the Waterford Hospital and then St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital. Following completion of her PhD at Concordia University in Montreal, she joined Memorial’s School of Nursing in 1997. Over the next 25 years, she taught undergraduate and graduate courses, served in a number of administrative roles and was appointed dean pro tempore in 2013 before becoming dean in 2014.
After nine eventful years at the helm, she’s stepping down as dean and taking administrative leave to work on other projects, effective August 31, 2022.
The timing seemed right for Dr. Gaudine, who is moving into another big leadership role this November 2022 as president of the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN).
Coincidentally, she finishes as dean the same way she began, with an intensive accreditation process serving as bookends to her tenure.
“Preparing for accreditation has been a team effort by committed faculty and staff at the Faculty of Nursing, Centre for Nursing Studies and Western Regional School of Nursing, who offer the B.Sc.N (collaborative) program,” she said. “We have amazing faculty and staff and I have felt privileged to work with them as we built on the efforts of previous faculty members to establish the Faculty of Nursing as one of the finest in the country.”
Asked why she had wanted to become dean, a role that comes with any number of challenges, she said, “I wanted the opportunity to continue development of our nursing programs, scholarly activities, contributions to nursing research and ultimately to move patient/client care forward.”
Program growth and challenges
Just as Dr. Gaudine was taking on the dean’s position, the school launched its PhD in Nursing program, and introduced the nurse practitioner program at the master’s level.
Programs that she and a number of faculty members, including Dr. Donna Moralejo, Dr. Shirley Solberg and Professor Donna Best, helped bring to fruition.
“Our undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs … are of the highest quality. We have a lot to be proud of.” — Dr. Alice Gaudine
Leading the faculty through two tumultuous years of teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic is another significant accomplishment, but there’s more.
The school’s 50th anniversary in 2016, for example, ushered in a time of growth and development, with creation of the Cahill Nursing Simulation Room, made possible through a generous donation by a former faculty member and School of Nursing alumna, Doreen Cahill.
The space increased high-fidelity simulation activities for undergraduate students, and fit well with a revised undergraduate curriculum launched in 2018.
That year was also the year the School of Nursing became the Faculty of Nursing, recognizing the evolution that had taken place in programs and scholarly work since the school opened its doors to offer a bachelor’s program in 1966.
“Our undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs are current, relevant and of the highest quality,” said Dr. Gaudine. “We’ve also grown in research and public engagement, and we have a lot to be proud of!”
During her tenure she worked to recruit a diverse group of tenure track faculty, including one of five Indigenous faculty members hired recently by the university.
And one of the accomplishments for which she is most proud is the spirit of cooperation and collaboration among the B.Sc.N (collaborative) program partner schools at the Faculty of Nursing and the Centre for Nursing Studies in St. John’s and the Western Regional School of Nursing in Corner Brook.
September 2022 will also see the opening of three Faculty of Nursing satellite sites in Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
“The three schools of nursing in the province have been working towards consolidating to become one Faculty of Nursing with one site in St. John’s, one in Corner Brook and three satellite sites,” said Dr. Gaudine. “Knowing this is moving along is a wonderful feeling.”