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OSMH nursing graduates from 1970-71 to be feted Friday night

Graduates of former nursing school will gather Friday for 50th anniversary, to reminisce about 'milestones' they've reached

After two years of pandemic delays, a 50th-anniversary celebration for Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) nursing graduates of 1970 and 1971 will take place Friday night.

Glenna Tinney, a graduate of the former nursing school and organizer of Friday’s event, remembers the camaraderie of the program the most. The nursing school’s last class was dismissed in 1974. Similar programs are currently offered at Georgian College.

“Soldiers’ found that they were expanding in different areas,” Tinney explained. “The school was going to be better looked after if it went to the college system.”

In today’s education system, Tinney says, students learn in more simulated ways as opposed to the hands-on teaching in the ’70s.

“We learned on the spot,” she said. “You went and you did the work on the floor with a mentor.”

After her education, Tinney went on to a 40-year career at OSMH.

“I worked in the special-care nursery and labour delivery,” she explained. “It was a long and very rewarding career.”

Tinney, 70, says it was special to be part of the first moments of life for so many people.

“It’s an excitement that you can’t bottle,” she said. “It’s awesome to see and to be a part of.”

As her career went on, she saw the writing on the wall for the current health-care crisis.

“After SARS, we knew we were going to have a pandemic,” she said. “It was just a matter of time.”

Tinney recalls a cutback in cleaning staff due to a decline in the economy. The result was more work for nurses.

“The nurses do what they can in the environment that they have,” she said. “The care for the individual, although they do their best, is not like it was.”

Tinney, a member of the OSMH Nurses Alumnae board of directors, says it’s important to recognize the relationships among former nursing students.

“When you live with somebody for three years and experience the same things they do, you become an emotional support system that never ends,” she said. “From being 20-year-olds to having kids, to having grandkids, they are all milestones that we’ve shared together.”

The event allows fellow retired nurses to catch up with each other and reminisce about their education and careers.

The event will be held at Hawk Ridge Golf Club from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m Friday. The event is sold out, but those interested in tickets for next year can email Tinney at

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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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