Spring convocation: Honorary degree bestowed on nursing pioneer

(Edmonton) At aged 16, while riding her motorbike home from her school in England, Karen Luker was in a collision with a car that left her with serious injuries and a two-week stay in hospital.

There she observed nurses doing what I saw as "making a difference" and her career plans changed from wanting to teach biology to become a nurse.

Today, Luker is a nursing scholar whose pioneering research on cancer survivorship has led to the design of new services to support people affected by cancer. She also initiated groundbreaking work developing training programs for lay health workers in South Africa. Dean of the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work at the University of Manchester, she is recognized around the world as a pioneer in advancing academic nursing.
In recognition of her influence in her field, the University of Alberta awarded her an honorary doctor of science degree June 14.

"It is important not to be limited by the present," said Luker, addressing the 2011 class of bachelor of nursing graduates while accepting an honorary doctor of science degree during convocation ceremonies. “The environment in which you live and work will change significantly over your career’s lifetime. You will have career prospects and experiences that have yet to be thought of. You can also be instrumental in shaping the changes that are to come. You are the future of the profession; always look forward not backward."

To read a full transcript of Luker convocation address, click here.

To watch the entire June 14 convocation ceremony, click here.