Nursing Pioneer Remembered
Dr. Verna Huffman Splane, one of the UBC School of Nursing’s most distinguished and celebrated honourary professors, died at the age of 100. As one of her colleagues and many friends says: “She and her career were the stuff of legends.”
From 1973 to 1981, Splane was the inaugural Principal Nursing Officer in the Canadian Department of National Health and Welfare (the precursor of Health Canada), holding the highest office of any nurse in the country. She went on to become a pioneer on behalf of nursing through her work with the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses. A pioneer in international health and development work with the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses, from the 1970s and on, she worked closely with UBC School of Nursing in various capacities.
In 2006, she established the Verna Huffman Splane Global Health Endowment that supports global health education, international projects, and interdisciplinary global health initiatives within the School of Nursing. That same year, UBC granted her the distinction of honourary professor, a position in which she kept an active interest until her passing.
Her accomplishments brought on many kudos: the Jeanne Mance award, the highest honour of the Canadian Nurses Association (1982); the Order of Canada (1996), and several honorary doctorates. In 2013, the Association of Registered Nurses of BC bestowed on her its inaugural Honorary Life Membership.
Many honours and the respect and gratitude of a campus, a country and the world itself.