6. ‘beyond the dream’: A Legacy of Nursing at SickKids – Thoughts from Margaret Keating – 2007

Margaret Keating talks about the production of the DVD.

Article printed in “Alumnae News”, Fall 2007

Editor’s comments:  As members of the alumnae we have much to be grateful for to Margaret Keatings, Vice President Professional Practice and Chief Nursing Executive.  Margaret was the driving force and energy behind the DVD “beyond the dream”.  We are including some of Margaret’s comments and thoughts, in her own words, about the DVD and the process involved in making it.  A very special thanks and heartfelt appreciation to Margaret from all of us.

“beyond the dream’ was premiered on October 5, 2006.  The film is a retrospective of the immensely rich history of nursing at SickKids.  The documentary is a celebration of more than 130 years of dedication to the care of children and the evolution of the nursing profession.

The project has been a deeply affirming experience for me and for many of the talented and dedicated staff who have made something that started out as a vague idea into a meaningful and lasting reality.

It became quite clear to me after being at SickKids for a relatively short time, that part of the strength of its nursing culture is derived from a strong sense of history: a history that begins with its founder, Elizabeth McMaster, and has continued to embrace her spirit, determination and commitment to the health and care of children.  A little more than a year ago, just before Nurses’ Week, we started thinking about whether we could document that history and capture it for future generations.

While we were unsure of how it would unfold, we were certain that now was the time to do it.  I believed it would be essential to the integrity of the project to capture the stories of our alumnae, proud women who had spent their formative years as students at the Hospital for Sick Children School of Nursing and continue to influence the nursing culture at SickKids today.

It took almost 14 months to produce this documentary.  In the process 55 nurses, physicians, staff, Alumnae, and historians were interviewed, more than 26 of them on camera.  Much to our archivist’s delight, we now have more than 27 hours of original footage that will be available to future generations of nurses.  Add to that, 200 archival photographs from the hospital and the city of Toronto archives, 11 films from our archives and those of CBC, and you have a rich tapestry of material, all of which have shaped and informed the final product.

We are delighted by the overwhelming response to the film.  Many hours of labour have gone into creating this documentary, but the project really belongs to the many generations of SickKids nurses, past, present and future.  This is your story, and we hope you will find it enlightening, affirming and maybe even inspiring – I know it has touched many of us in different, but equally profound ways.  Yours is a legacy of compassion and caring for children and families, and dedication to evolving the nursing profession to unanticipated heights.

SickKids began as a humble two story house with 6 tiny cots and has become a world renowned paediatric academic health sciences centre and nursing has played a vital role in that evolution.  If nothing else, this film is an effort to make that statement, and to capture that truth for generations to come and to be a source of pride.

This attempt to pull together scattered pieces of our history and to tell a story that illuminated the past, helps us understand and make sense of our present, and inspires us to plan for an even more brilliant future.

I hope you enjoy the film, the look back at our history, and find that we have done it justice.