Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) welcomes founding head of department to campus

15 February 2017

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) welcomes founding head of department to campus

Dr Jacqueline McCallum and Winifred Gordon visit the Interprofessional Simulation Centre

Winifred Gordon, the first head of the Department of Health and Nursing at one of Glasgow Caledonian University’s founding institutions, has been welcomed back to the campus.

Mrs Gordon helped establish the department in 1980 at Glasgow College of Technology and, as a co-author of the book The Elements of Nursing:  A Model for Nursing Based on a Model of Living, transformed how nursing was taught in the UK. An honorary graduate of GCU, she continues to support students through its Magnusson  Fund.

She met staff including Vincent McKay, Dean of the School of Health and Life Sciences, and Dr Jacqueline McCallum, Assistant Head of the Department of Nursing and Community Health and a former student of Mrs Gordon, as well as current students while touring facilities including the University’s Interprofessional Simulation Centre.

Mrs Gordon was partly inspired to write Elements of Nursing, which has been translated into eight languages, by her experiences nursing TB patients, including Inuit families, in Ontario.

She said: “For so many of those families, arriving at a modern hospital from their igloo homes was a culture shock. It was a privilege to care for them and made me realise that, unlike my own training in Edinburgh, nursing should not simply focus on the physiological but should encompass the socio-cultural, environmental and psychological spheres. Fast forward to 1980 and I wrote with colleagues Elements of Nursing, which was based on a model of living. It turned out to be ground breaking and when we established the department I wanted to ensure that our students understood that nursing is not simply about caring for people who are unwell but about prevention and about maintenance of health, too. Colleagues at the college in so many fields were incredibly helpful in seeking to create that.

“It is delightful to be back and to see so many incredible changes.”

Dr McCallum said: “Mrs Gordon’s work has inspired and influenced generations of nurses around the world and her long association with the University has helped define teaching here for decades. It was wonderful to be able to welcome her back to see how nursing training has continued to develop and innovate at GCU.”