Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Barb Mildon

22 November 2016

Bloomberg Nursing alumni do extraordinary things in the communities in which they work and live, and we take great pride in the work they do. To date, there are nearly 6,000 Bloomberg Nursing alumni, all of whom have made or continue to make a positive impact in the world of nursing.

Barb Mildon is one such alum. In November 2016, Barb Mildon the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (Distinguished Alumni Award). We had a chance to connect with Barb to ask her about her experiences here at Bloomberg and beyond, and are so honoured to call her a Bloomberg Nursing alum.


Barb Mildon accepting her Lifetime Achievement Award from Dean Linda Johnston

Barb Mildon

VP, Practice, HR, Research, Centre for Education & Organization Development & Chief Nursing Executive

Organization/Hospital/Practice: Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences

Hometown: Toronto

Current town/city: Courtice

Year of graduation: Diploma 1977; BScN 1993; MN 1998; PhD 2011

Interests, activities, clubs and professional organizations:

I am interested in all things nursing! From a practice focus I closely follow home care and community health as well as mental health care. Since Nightingale’s time it has been recognized that “Nursing is a political act” and I am also attuned to politics at all levels with an emphasis on the intersection of policy and the social determinants of health.

Nursing associations have also been a keen source of interest to me because I believe they are the backbone of our profession. It has been said “Professional associations have been described as the link between professions and professionals, enabling individuals to stay connected to colleagues while balancing their personal and professional lives. [They also] act as “the keepers and creators of tradition for the profession” (Smoyak, S.A., 1989. Professions, professional associations & professionals.  Journal of Psychosocial Nursing, 27 (10), p. 13).

While our connectivity no longer depends on association infrastructure, only our associations have the time, focus and mandate to preserve and advance the understanding, history and relevance of our profession and to advocate on its behalf.

What was the most valuable lesson — inside or outside the classroom — you learned as a student at the University of Toronto?

I have to give two lessons:

To stay engaged! To read the daily newspaper (or in today’s world tap into all the on-line media availability).

To serve our profession as a proud nurse in invisible and visible ways.

Greatest professional accomplishment:

Being called a mentor by amazing nurses.  Being referred to as “a nurse’s nurse.” Spending 39 years as a nurse!

Favourite Bloomberg Nursing professor:

Can’t say one favourite – so many and all so important to me!

What is your favourite thing about nursing?

Its scope, diversity, depth. Its focus on helping people, communities. It is truly “a career for life!”

What advice do you have for current Bloomberg Nursing students?

Volunteer. It doesn’t have to be a specifically nursing volunteer role but volunteering will deepen the meaning of your nursing and open new possibilities to you.

Stay engaged in your profession – join your professional association and understand the different roles of regulation; union and professional association.

Take on mentorship/preceptorship roles as those bonds will bring you immense satisfaction and lasting connections with those you encounter.

Cultivate resilience. Resilience is an essential tool for life and for your career. You will have challenging days–but remember tomorrow will be better; and your career will have ups and downs but it will ground your life and be the expression of your commitment to your profession.

Critically think about existing processes with a view to ever improve outcomes.