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McIlrath Memorial Bursary

Born on June 2, 1913, in Arcola, Saskatchewan, Ruth came to Vancouver and worked at Vancouver General Hospital until 1942. She then joined the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps to serve overseas in World War II and was recruited to the hospital ship, Lady Nelson, Canada’s first hospital ship, where she – along with 14 nursing sisters cared for up to 500 sick and wounded patients on trips from battle zones back to England or Canada. The Lady Nelson was torpedoed by a U- Boat while in dock in Italy and she climbed back on board their devastated ship to care for casualties, mostly with extreme burns. She then spent the rest of her life caring for and working on behalf of Canada’s veterans.

Working at Shaughnessy Military Hospital, she became the Director of Nursing. Because of field experience in the military treating kidney failure, she was involved in the first renal dialysis treatments in Vancouver and trained two teams of nurses. She was also an early investigator of home care for veterans, and her findings were adapted to veterans throughout Canada and indirectly influenced the development of home care for all Canadians.

Bursary Information

Level: Undergraduate
Area of study: RNFBC supported education program

Past Recipients


  • Chrystal Spittal (University of British Columbia Okanagan)
  • DeAndra Kerr (British Columbia Institute of Technology)
  • Kevin Chiu (Langara College)
  • Meg Dreesmann (Camosun College/University of Victoria)
  • Neiha Sachdev (British Columbia Institute of Technology)
  • Sherry Chen (Langara College)


  • Anne Dang (Langara College)
  • Jadyn Makeiff (University of British Columbia Okanagan)
  • Kevin Wittenberg (University of British Columbia Okanagan)
  • Lejla Velagic (Douglas College)
  • Stephanie Ell (Trinity Western University)
  • Tiana Brenner (University of British Columbia Okanagan)


  • Jaala Meier (Trinity Western University)
  • Nicolette Russell (University of British Columbia Vancouver)
  • Peyton Rennert (University of British Columbia Okanagan)
  • Sheena Polman (Trinity Western University)


  • Hannah Pearson (British Columbia Institute of Technology)
  • Jie (Jessie) Li (Vancouver Island University)


  • Karen Ford (University of British Columbia)


  • Dawn Tisdale (University of British Columbia)
  • Greta Jefferson (University of Victoria)

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