Subfonds - Esther Paulson

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Esther Paulson

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on provenance of the subfonds.

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24 cm textual records
70 photographs

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Biographical history

Esther Paulson was born in New Westminster on April 9, 1906 the daughter of pioneer citizens Peter and Hilda Paulson. After graduation from the Royal Columbian Hospital School of Nursing in 1928, her first position was as a staff nurse in the Tuberculosis building at the Royal Columbian Hospital. Soon after, she was promoted to ward supervisor.
In 1930 she earned a post-graduate certificate in obstetrical nursing from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal and, in 1934, a diploma in public health nursing from UBC. During the early 1930s, Esther was employed in private duty nursing. In 1935, she was appointed to the Welfare Field Service (Provincial Government) which combined the services of public health nursing and social welfare. She was stationed in Cranbrook, but covered a much more extensive area encompassing the East Kootenays. She was transferred to the Cariboo District with headquarters in Kamloops in November 1938.

In 1940, she joined the Metropolitan Health Committee in Vancouver, and in 1942 was on loan to the Division of Tuberculosis Control. One year later, she was appointed Director of Nursing for the province, overseeing nursing care for patients in Vancouver, Victoria, and Tranquille. Thus began her career in the field of TB nursing that was to continue until she retired in 1966 from Director of Nursing at Pearson Hospital.

In 1944, Esther was instrumental in developing the first Canadian TB affiliation course for nursing students in BC, which became compulsory. When a new TB hospital opened in Vancouver in 1952, Paulson was appointed Director of Nursing while continuing to act as Nursing Consultant for the Division of TB Control.
Esther’s involvement in professional nursing throughout her career continued following her retirement. She was an active member of the Registered Nurses Association of BC, holding offices of secretary, Vice president and President (1951-1953). She received the Centennial medal in 1967 for her contributions to the control of tuberculosis in Canada, and an Honourary Life Membership in the Canadian Lung Association for her leadership in the advancement of TB nursing in Canada. She was an honorary member of the BC History of Nursing Group

Esther was a writer of note, having published numerous articles on TB nursing and professional issues in journals such as The Canadian Nurse and RNABC News. During her retirement she continued to write and to publish historical articles, such as the history of the Royal Columbian Hospital School of Nursing, and biographies on many prominent BC nurses. Esther Paulson passed away January 2, 2004 in Vancouver, BC.

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Scope and content

Subfonds consists of records that date from 1920 to 2004. These include textual material and photographs, the majority of which were created and accumulated by Esther Paulson. Material pertains to Esther’s education and nursing career, with a number of articles, both by her and others, relating to her interest in tuberculosis nursing. Others document her involvement with various associations and organizations, including the Registered Nurses' Association of British Columbia, the Canadian Nurses' Association, the International Council of Nurses, and the Canadian Tuberculosis Association. The photographs document her life in the East Kootenays and the Kamloops area.

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Material was donated by Ethel Warbinek, on behalf of Esther Paulson, to the B.C. History of Nursing Group Archives on November 14, 2001 and January 14, 2002. Additional material was acquired from Paulson's niece, Nancy Dammkoehler, in February 2004.


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Includes the following photographs: RBSC-ARC-1831-PH-0056 to 0057, PH-0111, PH-1261 to 1275.

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