Biography Project
CNA Years

All posts in "CNA Years" were written by Dr. Mussallem with the assistance of Elizabeth Crawley.

In 1960, when Helen Mussallem wrote the preface to Spotlight on Nursing Education: The Report of the Pilot Project for the Evaluation of Schools of Nursing in Canada , she noted that only factual information was presented in the report and that "...someday the other part of the story may be written." Someday is here. Helen's adventures and experiences, during this exciting and critical professional journey, provide a unique, fascinating glimpse into the turbulent world of nursing education in the 1950s. Does Canada need a national program of accreditation for diploma schools [more]
Now the study was completed, the report presented to membership at the 1960 Biennial meeting, and three of the four recommendations were approved by the Executive Committee at their post convention meeting. I was asked to stay on CNA staff for one more year to implement the three recommendations of the Pilot Project. I advised the Executive of my plans to return to Teachers College to complete my doctorate. I knew my financial resources were very slim but I was determined to complete the remainder of the two year doctoral study. They agreed that I should return to Teachers Co [more]
During the Director's orientation in New York, a previously-prepared questionnaire was sent to the director of each participating school of nursing. The questionnaire had been adapted from the Application for Accreditation (diploma program of National League for Nursing) and its purpose was: - to obtain as clear a picture as possible from the school of its educational program for those who would make the visit and those who would evaluate the program; and - to assist the faculty in making a critical evaluation of its program. Later, many schools indicated they had derived [more]
Helen's secondment to the Royal Commission was a stimulating and memorable time for her but she had barely completed writing her final report when she was approached to become Executive Director of the Canadian Nurses Association. With alacrity, she refused to assume that "old maid job". When negotiations with another candidate failed, Helen was asked to become "acting Executive Director for four months" , until a suitable person could be found. The minutes of the 21-23 of February 1963 meeting state: (Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting - 21,22,23 Feb 63) MOTION [more]
My relationship with the Canadian Nurses Foundation (CNF) was interesting and varied from great hope to despair as to its future and its goal of providing selected nurses with the opportunity to pursue graduate education. My commitment and dedication to this goal was another spin-off from my cross-Canada surveys of nursing education in both hospital and university schools of nursing. I knew that, if nursing service was to improve, the education of nurses for that service must, likewise, be improved. Along with many other "senior" nurses, I recognized that advanced education f [more]
1965 As we moved into the mid 60s, approaching Canada's centennial year, there was a significant increase in the number of national governmental committees and commissions. I seized the opportunities offered and advised the President and Board that CNA should take advantage of the opportunity to participate. This suggestion was not always received with great enthusiasm. There were the inevitable questions about how much will it cost, who will do it, should CNA risk being in the midst of controversy, and so on. I knew, however, that if CNA was to gain status as a national o [more]
PAHO/WHO Project in Commonwealth Caribbean
My next project was to assist World Health Organization (WHO) personnel in developing an evaluation of schools of nursing in the 13 countries of the former British Caribbean territories, later named the Commonwealth Caribbean. My title for this Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) project was "PAHO/WHO Short Term Consultant". I was responsible for the development of the entire project under the general direction of the zone nurse, Janet Thomson. The PAHO/WHO project nurse was Nita Barrow. This project -PAHO/WHO Survey of Schools of Nursing in the Carib [more]
1965 International work
I arrived back from St. Stephens N.B., on Saturday, 5 June 1965, just in time to prepare to travel to Frankfurt for ICN meetings 10 June to 1July. What a flurry of activity! Meetings with staff, the Canadian Council on Nutrition, CNF Selection Committee, etc. Also important, of course, was assembling my wardrobe for the many working and entertainment functions. I certainly remember the hat I wore for the trip to Frankfurt as were taken as Isobel MacLeod and I boarded the plane. It was an extremely large black hat --about 12 inches high --with massive black flowers adorning th [more]
1969-1975 International Work
Regional Nursing Body of Caribbean Commonwealth, 1969 - 1971 I had asked Mr Chadwick (position?) for financial assistance to bring principal nursing officers from 40 Commonwealth countries to the ICN Congress in Montreal in 1969. There were four requirements attached to CNA's acceptance of the Commonwealth Foundation Grant: 1. CNA would conduct a two-week educational seminar. (This seminar was organized by Hallie Sloan and was held in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.) 2. CNA would host a meeting of nurse delegates from all Commonwealth countries to discuss formation of a Comm [more]
Encounters with Fidel Castro
"History will absolve me" shouted Fidel Castro in his long self defence speech to his judges in October 1953, after his defeat by Batista's forces. My parents had visited Cuba the year before so I was very interested in Cuba and the character of the Batista regime which made a violent popular reaction almost inevitable. I followed the reports in the Vancouver Sun about the eventual victory of Castro's forces, but little thought I would speak with him personally on two separate occasions and be a part of an audience with him on a third occasion. My last two conversations with him were mo [more]