Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Lifetime Achievement Award: Ruth Lee

Lifetime Achievement Award: Ruth Lee

This award is bestowed on long-standing members of RNAO 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. We have two recipients this year.

Ruth Lee has always felt that becoming a nurse was her destiny. After her father was badly injured in an industrial accident when Ruth was a child, he vowed that his daughters would repay the excellent care he received by becoming nurses. Both Ruth and her sister eventually did become RNs. For more than 30 years, Ruth has been a member of RNAO and has actively mentored young nurses. She often encourages youth to get into the profession. "Nursing is almost like a religion for me," she says. "Whenever you have a chance to preach, you do it." Ruth is currently executive director for CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses and associate clinical professor at McMaster University. She was born in China but came to Canada to attend nursing school and to continue to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. Throughout her career, she has witnessed the challenges immigrant nurses face, and is passionate about supporting colleagues who are facing cultural and linguistic barriers. "I'm just doing what I think I should be doing as a nurse," she says. "I believe in what nursing is and what it does for society."