Nursing Student Wins Internationally Educated Nurse of the Year Award

Educator and immigrant. Nurse and cross-cultural expert.

All of these descriptors fittingly capture Gwendolyn Williams, BSN, RN, CCN(C), who, from a young age, demonstrated a gifting for caring for others.

“I have always known I wanted to spend my life caring for people and have been called ‘nurse’ by neighbours from a tender age,” Williams shares.

“In 1990, I graduated from the Kingston School of Nursing, in my home country Jamaica, where I began my career.”

In 2010, Williams journeyed from Jamaica to Canada, where she continued her nursing career, with the help of the CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses.

“As I got exposed to the Canadian ways…I felt like a student all over again, yet I knew I too had something to offer,” recalls Williams.

“As I embraced the Canadian culture, I felt intertwined with a multitude of cultures and practices. The ‘platinum rule’ was universal – treat others the way you want to be treated.”

At work, Williams remains positive and patient-focused, “For each shift I aim to care for patients and family as if they were my own relatives. This makes good days better and bad days more tolerable.”

Recently, in 2019, Williams became winner of the Joan Lesmond Internationally Educated Nurse of the Year Award.

Granted by the CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses, this award recognizes William’s professionalism and leadership in the nursing field.

The community of Trinity Western University congratulates Williams on this honourable achievement.

On the occasion of Canada’s National Nursing Week (May 11-17, 2020), TWU is grateful to host the following interview with Williams:

What has your life calling into the field of Nursing meant for you?

Entering this noble profession, I committed myself to serve others in the capacity of health promotion and restoration, as well as life transitions, and of supporting individuals, families, communities, and nations.

On my toughest days and during my most precarious seasons, I have never seen one day or one moment of regret. I love my calling. It has been most rewarding.

For the rest of the days given to me I will continue to add value to my profession and to all [of my patients] who have been entrusted to me.

What is your perspective on the current situation and on the future of the field of Nursing?

As Canada and the world began to follow the mapping of COVID-19, I realized that, as healthcare providers, we would not have time to join the long lines to get essential items. So, several weeks before the WHO declared the COVID-19 pandemic, I prepared an essential [equipment] list, which I called “pandemic stuck up,” made copies, and gave it to colleagues.

For the world we live in, our families and communities, and even for us as nurses, these are scary times.

As we marshal all our efforts to fight this enemy (COVID-19 pandemic), we recognize that the pandemic is no small foe – yet, nevertheless, it will tumble.

Now more than ever real leaders are needed to battle with the troops, ensuring and offering supplies and support, giving constant updates, conducting frequent huddles, and motivating their teams.

From this, true leaders will emerge. In our efforts as nurses we must give primacy to illness prevention and health promotion. Nurses were quiet heroes during many wars and crises in history. In the same way, nurses are heroes now and always will be.

What has your journey at TWU meant for you as you pursue your career in Nursing?

My journey at TWU has been a special part of my life journey. Entering and being nestled into a community of not just academics – but of God-fearing, supportive academics – who help you individually to realize your professional ambitions and pursuits, is a blessing.

I have taken longer than initially hoped to complete my studies. I also have had moments when studying placed a crushing weight on me, because of the many other roles I had to play. Yet I continued to press on.

My experience at TWU has been amazing and like no other. I do not believe that what TWU offers students can be copied anywhere else. I have loved the friends and partnerships forged on campus. TWU provides an inclusive yet exclusive (unique) atmosphere, and it is a place for all to thrive and excel.


The vision of Trinity Western University's Master of Science in Nursing program is to foster values-based nursing, educational vitality, excellence in scholarship and in practice, and transformation through Christian graduate nursing education. A strong disciplinary nursing core together with electives allows students to personalize their studies for their unique career path, whether as educators, leaders, or advanced practice nurses.

For more information on TWU Master of Science in Nursing, or on TWU School of Nursing, please visit TWU School of Nursing.


Alumna Bev Kauffeldt, (’93, ’03) served at the frontlines of #COVID19 in Cremona, Italy . Serving with @SamaritansPurse, Bev says "We've seen over 282 patients and discharged over 205 of those. It's incredible to see what God has done here".

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