CORNWALL, Ontario – Alumni of St. Joseph’s School of Nursing gathered at the Cornwall Golf and Country Club on Wednesday, May 8 for their annual general meeting, and to celebrate the last graduating class of the program, the class of 1969.
“During Nurses Week, which is this week, we have an annual alumni luncheon and meeting,” elaborated President Norma Daigle. “All graduates of the Hotel Dieu Hospital here in Cornwall are invited to come and have lunch at the meeting. Each year, we celebrate in particular the class that graduated 50 years ago. This year, it’s the class of 1969 and they were the last class to graduate…so it’s a double whammy kind of year.”
Daigle, who is a part of the ’62 class, said that attendees sit with their graduating class each year.
“The bond with those people is unbelievable. They’re like sisters. And everyone looks forward to seeing each other again,” said Daigle.
“We started a newsletter…in 2001. The following year, we had over 100 people come (to the AGM) and it has been that many people ever since,” said alumni Mary Thibeault, who spearheaded the newsletter project.
Thibeault explained that each year, the alumni association donates to one local nursing student and three local healthcare organizations, including Hospice, Cornwall Community Hospital Foundation (CCHF) and St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre (SJCCC). The donations are made possible through alumni contributing an annual membership fee, and any additional contributions.
“We as nurses prided ourselves on the art of nursing, and today the science of nursing seems to have taken over,” said Daigle, thinking critically about how nursing has changed throughout the years. “The interaction with the client has become secondary to knowing the science of how to run a machine, and we are so disappointed in that…it’s an observation that we have made, that nursing is just not the same…and not to the advantage of the client.”
Daigle hopes that the art and skill of nursing is not lost and wishes luck to students, such as this year’s donation recipient Paige Bohunicky, graduate of Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School.