Providence Health Care Board Member Awarded Order of Canada
Vancouver, January 11, 2008 — Sister Margaret Vickers, currently on the Board of Directors at Providence Health Care, has been given Canada’s highest civilian honour – the Order of Canada.
Sister Vickers has been a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception, a Saint John-based Catholic religious order, since 1955 and has devoted her life to working in health care.
“This prize is of the highest distinction and truly recognizes Sister Vickers’ invaluable contribution to the mission of Catholic Health Care in Canada,” says Providence Health Care CEO Dianne Doyle. “She has accomplished a great deal in her career and deserves this high praise.”
The Order of Canada recognition is the latest in a long list of accomplishments for Sister Vickers. She graduated from St. Martha’s Hospital school of nursing in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and later earned a bachelor of nursing and master of health administration in Ottawa. In 1986 Sister Vickers was presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of New Brunswick.
Sister Vickers is past chair of the Catholic Health Association and the New Brunswick Hospital Association, of which she was a founding member. In addition, from 1997-2001 she served as president of the Vancouver Archdiocesan Sisters Association and was a member of her religious community’s leadership team from 1998-2002.
Last year, Sister Vickers and her sister Charlotte Vickers, also of the Sisters of Charity, received the highest distinction in Catholic health care from the Catholic Health Association of Canada.
Sister Vickers will travel to Ottawa in the coming year to attend the Order of Canada ceremonies with Governor General Michaëlle Jean. The Order recognizes a lifetime of dedication and outstanding achievement by people in all sectors of society who exemplify its motto DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (they desire a better country).
Providence Health Care is the largest Catholic health care organization in Canada, operating eight facilities in Vancouver, B.C. Guided by the principle “How you want to be treated,” Providence delivers compassionate care to 350,000 patients and residents each year, while training medical professionals and making innovative advances in research.
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Background on Sister Vickers
An active member of Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception, Sister Vickers holds a Diploma in Nursing from St. Martha’s Hospital in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, a Bachelor of Nursing and a Master’s of Health Administration from the University of Ottawa and an honorary Doctorate in Law.
She has been a member in various capacities with the Saskatchewan Catholic Health Association, New Brunswick Hospital Association, Canadian Hospital Association, Nurses Association of New Brunswick, New Brunswick Catholic Health Association, United Way of Greater Saint John, American College of Hospital Administrators, Canadian College of Health Service Executives, Advisory Committee for St. Joseph's Hospital and Board of Directors for Region 2 Hospital, Saint John.
After receiving her diploma and degree in Nursing, Sister Vickers went on to post-graduate studies pediatric nursing at Toronto Sick Children’s Hospital and audiology at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. Combined with her Master’s in Health Administration, this background enabled her to serve in a number of capacities over the years at various hospitals, including St. Vincent's in Vancouver as Assistant Administrator, St. Joseph's Hospital in Saint John, New Brunswick as Director of Nursing, Holy Family Hospital in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan as Assistant Administrator and again at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Saint John as Executive Director and Administrator-a position she held for 22 years.
It has been said that she ran St. Joseph’s with “wisdom and firmness.” According to Minister of Health and Community Services for New Brunswick, she was the driving force behind St. Joseph’s Hospital’s unique personality and quality service to the community. In all things her dedication and efforts were derived from a deep concern for patients in their time of illness and distress.
During her time at St. Joseph’s she helped found a hospice for families of palliative care patients, AIDS Saint John, Birth Right and an Audiology Clinic. She also organized and open the first diagnostic hostel, helped open a day surgery centre, an intensive care unit, occupational therapy unit, an extended care unit and an expansion to the emergency department. All of these accomplishments added another dimension to the care that was provided to the patients. She was also one of the key people involved in the establishment of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation, which raises funds to enhance hospital equipment. She was known as the most valuable and committed fundraiser.
In 1986, in recognition of her service and contributions to health care, Sister Vickers was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of New Brunswick.
In the 1990s she returned to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Vancouver, where she had once been an administrative assistant. Now she served as a member of the Board of Directors, helping orchestrate a merger with St. Paul’s Hospital and other Catholic facilities-the largest voluntary merger in Canadian health care history. The new organization, Providence Health Care, has eight sites, including nearly 800 acute care beds and five residential care homes for the elderly.
Since early 2000 Sister Vickers has been a member of the Board Directors and the Providence Health Care society, where she makes valuable contributions. She serves on the Mission and Ethics Committee, the Board Development Committee and the Quality and Performance Improvement Committee. She also serves as Mission Facilitator at one of the organization’s care homes, Brock Fahrni Pavilion, for veterans of Canada’s armed forces.
Sister Vickers was also among the first in Catholic health care to recognize that the ministry must extend beyond the walls of its health facilities. She has been instrumental in the development and ongoing success of Providence in the Park. This is a twice-annual outreach event that sees staff and volunteers from Providence Health Care provide clothing, food and comfort to more than 500 residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Canada’s poorest urban neighbourhood.
Sister Vickers has made an invaluable contribution to health care in Canada. Whether as a Sister of the Charity of the Immaculate Conception, an executive director and administrator, or a board member at Providence Health Care, she and her accomplishments deserve high praise for having set high standards for her colleagues and the organizations she have served. Recently added to the honours she has received during her career is a 2007 Performance Citation Award from the Catholic Health Association of Canada.