Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Lifetime Achievement Award: Judie Surridge

Lifetime Achievement Award: Judie Surridge

The RNAO Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed on a long-standing member(s) who exemplify outstanding contributions to the profession of nursing in the areas of practice, education, administration or research, at the provincial, national and/or international level. This includes activities that promote RNAO among nursing colleagues, the government and other health-care partners.

Judie Surridge has been an RN for 48 years. For the last 39 years, her focus has been in primary care. She has always been a vocal advocate for primary care nurses. Working in family practice since 1980, she still remembers when primary care nurses were treated more as a physician's secretary than a health professional. "Patients weren't allowed to get advice from the nurse," she says. She knew things needed to change. In 2006, Surridge became chair of Primary Care Nurses of Ontario (PCNO), an interest group of RNAO. In 2008, she co-chaired an advisory committee that played a key role in creating a new program at George Brown College called the Family Practice Nursing Program. It is a one-year, post-graduate course that gives family practice RNs the necessary training for primary care. In 2012, Surridge, along with RNAO CEO Doris Grinspun, co-chaired a panel that developed the Primary Solutions for Primary Care report, which called for an expansion to the scope of practice of the primary care RN and RPN. Now retired, Surridge remains active in the nursing community as past-chair of PCNO, and still supports her colleagues in primary care.