Nov. 21, 2019

Acclaimed nursing teacher says nurses need to show “skill and heart”

50 Faces of Nursing: Janice Arbour, BN’88

Students don’t forget their best teachers. And nor do great teachers soon forget their love of teaching and their impact on students.

Retired nursing instructor Janice Arbour had a lasting effect on her students who would show their thanks when they presented her with the Teaching Excellence Award in 1992/93.

My work with the faculty at UCalgary involved teaching students and it was one of the most rewarding efforts of my career,” Arbour says. “Influencing students and sharing my ideas about how to think about nursing as a career, assisting them to grow and mature with an attitude of confidence and competence, and to help mold their career in nursing was a very fulfilling experience.”

Colleague Arlene Johnston describes Arbour as an innovative teacher and sites her as a key figure in re-energizing the nursing alumni in the early nineties. Arbour carried that influence through to retirement, having initiated the Health and Wellness Committee for the Town of Cochrane, which evolved into the Urgent Care Centre that continues to serve the community.

50 Faces of Nursing: Janice Arbour, BN’88

50 Faces of Nursing: Janice Arbour, BN’88

What’s an unforgettable experience from your time at UCalgary Nursing?

“I had many memorable incidents from my career achievements while working in the university environment. A highlight was the introduction of technology for learning and performing nursing skills, but the most memorable was receiving the Teaching Excellence Award from the students for recognition of someone who made a long-lasting impact on their learning.”

What most excites you about the future of nursing or changes coming in the profession?

“I believe nursing is becoming more a mantle of leadership in the world where the title of ‘nurse’ creates an influence and signifies leadership. Nurses inspire thoughts of common sense for the common good.”

“Course work in student’s programs on relationships, mutual goals, being open to change and emphasis on becoming leaders is making a difference in how health care is delivered.”

Is there a nursing issue you are especially passionate about or would like to change?

“Consultation with the government about our health-care system from nursing bodies and organizations is happening, but should be developed even further to have greater influence in policy making. Greater participation at the federal level would influence a sense of interdependence with other health-care professionals and give nursing a bigger voice in the delivery of health care.”

What advice would you like to share with aspiring nurses?

“Nurses must have skill and heart with an emphasis on listening and understanding. Always show confidence in what you are doing, be a leader, nurture trust in those you are working with.”

Is there one luxury in life you’d rather not live without?

“Luxuries in our life are not only materialistic; there are also humanistic luxuries that support our beliefs and values. Each person creates their own set of ethics around humanism and how they interact and engage with the people around them.

“I would rather not live without family, friends, my husband and our children. I would rather not live without all those support systems that help shape how I function in the world.”

All through 2019, we'll be highlighting 50 Faces of Nursing and profiling nursing members in celebration of our 50th anniversary. For more, visit