Sharon Stapleton was a nurse, a leader and an inspiration to those around her. She served many roles throughout her career, from Clinical Educator to Operations Director, working at both Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) and UBC Hospital.

Sharon was always a believer in the importance of education and furthering yourself in your career. So when Sharon got sick, she wanted to make sure the next generation of nurses at VGH and UBC Hospitals had the same opportunity to pursue a higher education as she did.

This idea would culminate into the Sharon Stapleton Memorial Leadership Award.

“Sharon thought others could be leaders in the organization if they were just given the chance,” says Geoff Davenport, Sharon’s husband. “Now, Sharon’s name will always live on through the Sharon Stapleton Memorial Leadership Award.”

At the 2019 Vancouver Acute Bursary Awards on Monday, May 6, Lara Gurney, RN at VGH, won this prestigious award. It is given to an up-and-coming leader to pursue advanced education to further their own goals in transforming health care.

“I’m extremely honoured to be here during Nursing Week and to receive this award from Sharon Stapleton’s family,” says Lara. “I’m excited about the impact this allows me to make. It’s truly inspiring and it makes me want to grow and continue to lead.”

Sharon’s award comes with a $5,000 bursary and is helping fund Lara’s Patient Stories Project — an innovative unit based strategy to help address burnout in nursing and cultivate a positive work environment.

“With the Patient Stories Project I aim to bring the nurse’s story and the patient’s story together to promote a better quality of care for everyone,” says Lara.

Supporting the future of nursing

The Vancouver Acute Bursary Awards are given out every year to nurses at VGH and UBC Hospital to further their education, provide professional development and offer life-long learning opportunities. This ultimately improves patient care for thousands of British Columbians.

“We are fortunate to have many donor-funded bursaries for our nurses which are vital to keep up with the advances in the medical field,” says Laura Walsh, Vice President, Major Gifts & Estate Planning at VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. “It is because of donor support we are able to invest in innovations that would otherwise be impossible, empowering numerous projects, centres, and people who are on the front lines providing care first-hand.”

On behalf of VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, congratulations to this year’s winners!