SMHC ARCHIVES Inc.
Selkirk Mental Health Centre
Keeping Our History Alive!
The School of Psychiatric Nursing
The nurses residence and school of nursing were opened in 1926.  However, in 1920, Doctor Charles Barnes organized the first nurse training program. All subjects were taught by medical staff and the Assistant Matron.  At this time all students were female and required to live within the residence.  Their clinical practice was supervised by senior nurses.  Amongst their many duties were keeping the patients clean, dressed, assisting with their meals as well as looking after soiled linen, garbage, washing, waxing and polishing the floors. Lectures continued for two years and in the third year the student nurse was now a senior and able to take charge of the ward.  Students were paid $40.00 per month.  In the 1930s and 1940s, the students graduated as Psychiatric Nurses.  In 1949, the first male students were allowed to take classes with the females.  It was not however until the early 1950s that a nurse, Margaret Solar, was specifically appointed as a nurse teacher for the school.  In 1959 the block system of training commenced.  This was the first move to prevent students from attending classes after working on the wards the same day.  The class of 1963 was the first to graduate under this new scheme.  In 1960 the Registered Psychiatric Nurses act came into existence.  A minimum number of theoretical hours was established. Also, at this time a separate nurses library came into existence emphasis within the training program was “re-motivation” of chronic patients due to the advent of psychotropic medications which made the patients more accessible to their surroundings.  The commencement of the two year program in 1970 put a strictly educational focus upon the preparation of psychiatric nurses plus an affiliation with the University of Winnipeg for the teaching of biology, sociology and psychology.  By 1979, course credit hours were established.  In 1980 the new RPNA Act received Royal Assent which included responsibility for establishing and maintaining standards for psychiatric nursing education. However, in 1991 the Provincial budget discontinued funding for the Selkirk school and the last class to graduate was in July 1992.  The preparation of psychiatric nurses was transferred to Brandon University for a 4 years undergraduate program.
The Last Faculty Photograph 1992 L-R: Dianne Gaboreau (Director);  Pat Helwer;  Sandy Huff (Secretary);  Audrey Wasnie; Melanie Shumilak;  Jeanette Warren;  Ruth Enns;  Richard Bartlinski (Asst Director); Christine Hoeschen;  Dianne Stolar;  David Ezzard.
Uniforms           from 1920s to the 1990s.
Graduate    Nurse    pins.      The    enamel    pin    was introduced       in       the 1980s   while   the   Silver pin   was   granted   from the    1940s    to    the    end of the 1970s.
Chevron from the 1960s
Chevron from the 1970s