Beryl Stelmach


Year: 2006
Location: Edmonton
Profile: Born of mixed parentage in Jamaica in 1924, Beryl Stelmach avoided US segregation and instead migrated to England to study nursing. Initially pursuing 4 years of training Stelmach worked in many different hospitals. She moved her family to South Wales and thrived until their home was burnt suspiciously to the ground during their absence on vacation. Stelmach moved her family briefly to Jamaica, and then migrated to Canada.
            In an environment that encouraged Caribbean nurses to migrate to Canada in the 1950s and 1960s, Stelmach worked at different hospitals in Toronto. She spent over 18 years in many different hospitals and other institutions, including the Don Jail. As an Alberta resident Stelmach worked mainly at federal institutions including Charles Camsell and Oliver Hospitals as well as Drumheller Penitentiary. A federally employed nurse, she felt isolated from other Caribbean nurses who were provincially employed and unionized. She felt generally proud of the unity in the nursing fraternity wherever she lived.
Key Words: Charles Camsell Hospital; Jamaican Nurse; Nursing, Canada; Nursing, England; Nursing, Jamaica; Nursing relations, Penal Institutions, Alberta
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