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The Contribution of Mary Ellen Patton in Canadian Nursing Field

Updated on October 9, 2013

In my review of influential Canadian nursing leaders, I came across Mary Ellen Patton. Apart from serving as a staff nurse for more than twenty years, Patton has also served in various leadership roles, both nationally and internationally. Patton’s leadership history includes her role as a member in various boards of director positions and an active researcher in the field of pain management and women’s health.. In this discussion, I will explore Pattons’ leadership in Canadian nursing through analyzing her research contributions and senior management roles.

Mary Ellen Patton is well known for her research advancements in the treatment of chronic pain. She has involved herself in many research projects dealing with pain reduction . Patton involved herself in the research of addressing chronic pain after realizing that it was a major problem in the Canadian perspective. She also noticed that many of the traditional methods applied in pain reduction were inadequate and insufficient. She observed that effective pain reduction assessment should incorporate both psychological and physical examinations, which traditional methods lacked. Her research led to the enhanced chronic pain reduction methods that are still being used today. I believe Patton’s research in chronic pain is very necessary, more especially in the present Canadian society due to the ever-increasing elderly population and the necessity of to managing chronic pain in such people.

She has also been involved with children and women’s health and the welfare of Canadian nurses. Apart from being a specialist in many diseases afflicting children and women, she is also a consultant on health related issues for these group of people. The pain ladder assessment tool for children developed by Patton is still being used at present to assess pain among children in Canada. This tool is essential for measuring the level of pain among children .

She is also recognized for spearheading for the increased presence of nurses in specialty and primary care settings by using the media to create awareness to both the public and interdisciplinary caregivers. Moreover, she has been a lecture on many colleges around the globe on nursing subjects. Among the influential posts she has held include being a general director in the directorate of Canadian Extramural Research Programs and a director of the University of McGill nursing school. She has also been a psychologist, a researcher and nursing staff where she had been honored for her exemplary performance.

Miss Pattons’s consummate leadership in Canada’s nursing field has resulted into promotion and development of the roles of nurses in divergent contexts. It has also led to the increased presence of nurse practitioners in various areas of practice, improved the contribution of nurses, the establishment of various health policies, and increased access to health services especially to urban dwellers. Her various writings and campaigns to increase the presence of health practitioners as well as the scope of their work led to her appointment to various senior positions. Her many publications and presentations on crucial topics in nursing, made her an influential figure not only in Canada but also in the entire of America and around the world. Her publications were in most cases found to be valuable and included in professional publications. Her legacy includes shaping the roles of DNP as well as acting as a voice for nursing practitioners in Canada and America in general.

Dr Pattons’s influence and ego also made her to be appointed to senior government health positions, advisory committees and as a member of the wide human health resource initiative. Currently, she serves in various boards of international, national and provincial institutions and associations . She also involves herself in many community and health projects. Owing to her vision of seeing an enhanced nursing practice in Canada, she came up with a nurse leadership award in 1995, which she called Mary Ellen Patton Award. This was basically meant to identify nurse practitioners who had made exemplary contributions to the field of nursing and improvement of the general welfare of nurses in the country.

Through her actions and publications, Dr Patton has shown nurse practitioners and other people that it is possible to can change the face of the profession by themselves.


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