Selkirk Mental Health Centre
Keeping Our History Alive!
John   Robert   (Bob)   Burns   arrived   at   the   Selkirk   Mental   Hospital in   1960   to   become   the   Nurse   Tutor   at   the   hospital’s   School   of Nursing.        Bob    completed    his    general    nurse    training    at    the prestigious   Queen   Elizabeth   Hospital   in   Birmingham,   UK   and   his psychiatric nursing at Hollymoor Psychiatric Hospital. He   soon   became   head   of   the   school   and   was   the   initiator   of   the curriculum    revision    which    would    be    utilised    by    all    the    three schools   of   psychiatric   nursing   at   Brandon,   Portage   and   Selkirk.     Bob   also   ensured   that   the   final   examination   was   the   same   for   all graduates in order to obtain registration as a Psychiatric Nurse. In   1963   Bob   was   appointed   the   Director   of   Nursing      services   for the   hospital.      This   was   a   new   appointment   as   previously   there was   a   Chief   Male   Nurse   and   a   Matron.      Bob’s   new   position consolidated   the   nursing   services   under   one   central   control.      In   1965,   he   was proud   to   be   the   initiator   in   preparing   the   hospital   to   become   the   first   mental hospital   in   Canada   to   receive   accreditation.   During   this   time   he   also   studied   at   the University   of   Manitoba   and   obtained   his   hospital   administrator   certification.   In 1972      Bob   took   a   position   as   Interlake   Regional   Director   of   Health   and   Social Development.    He    travelled    the    Interlake    extensively    and    valued    the    many kindnesses extended to him by the people of the area. The   last   position   Bob   held   before   retiring,   was   Chief   Program   Consultant.   Bob   was an   active   member   of   the   Kiwanis   in   Selkirk   and   in   1966   he   and   other   members began   the   process   of   forming   the   Selkirk   Kiwanis   Pipe   Band.   The   band   played   for the first time at the Canada Centennial parade in 1967. Bob   also   suggested   and   organized   the   Manitoba   Highland   Gathering   where   he, many   staff   members   from   the   Selkirk   Mental   Hospital,   and   parents   of   the   pipe band   volunteered   their   help   to   run   the   Highland   Gathering   each   year.   One   year after   retirement,   Bob   took   on   the   new   challenge   of   becoming   Director   of   Skills Manufacturing.   He   devoted   his   time   and   energy   to   proving   that   the   facility   could run   profitably   while   those   who   had   recovered   from   mental   illness   could   retrain   and work in the community successfully.  He   initiated   many   changes   within   the   nursing   and   education   services      and   as   a consequence,   not   everyone   was   in   favour   of   his   “new   broom”   approach.   However, he   persevered   and   laid   the   foundation   for   many   new   developments   including   the concept of community psychiatric clinics.
John Burns, SRN, RMN