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Two Roads Diverged in a Wood: The Story of Caring Theorist Sister M. Simone Roach Open Access


Other title
Caring theory
Nursing theory
Cape Breton Nova Scotia culture
Sister M. Simone Roach
The First Canadian Code of Ethics for Nurses
nursing caring theory
Relational Ethics
Sisters of Saint Martha
Nursing education, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Myers, Margaret E.
Supervisor and department
Olson, Joanne (Nursing)
Paul, Pauline (Nursing)
Examining committee member and department
Caufield, Catherine (Religious Studies)
Cameron, Brenda (Nursing)
Grypma, Sonya (External, Trinity Western University)
Kunyk, Diane (Nursing)
Faculty of Nursing

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This study introduces the Canadian nursing theorist, Sister Marie Simone Roach. It begins with Roach as the child Eileen, in her large Cape Breton Roman Catholic family and Gaelic culture, and continues as she finishes school, attends St. Joseph's Hospital School of Nursing in Glace Bay, and comes to know the school leaders, the Sisters of Saint Martha. It continues as she enters the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Martha one year after graduating from nursing school. Predominantly, this study focuses on the professional life of Roach, and the development of her theory, The Human Act of Caring. It focuses on her work as a nursing educator, her role in the development of the first Code of Ethics for Nurses in Canada, and other significant sociological, geographical, religious, nursing/medical, and world events that became a context in which she lived and worked. It attempts to clarify how her nursing theory became so well known in the United States while it was largely overlooked in Canada over the more than two decades that caring theory was introduced and furthered in the nursing profession. Sister Roach was interviewed extensively, and her fonds were accessed for documents dating back to the 1950s. Nineteen interviews were conducted with individuals known to Roach, and other documents were accessed from archives, libraries, newspapers, journals, websites, and nursing organizations. Of special interest is the depth to which her theory has been developed, and how she has brought together aspects of relational ethics, spirituality, and components of caring to inform nursing practice, education and research, and the sheer value of this theory to present and future nurses. Coming to understand the complexity of her work, and her commitment to humanity helped to shed light on aspects of Sister Roach as a person. Likewise, learning of her background, the values to which her family and community subscribed, and the significant influences to which she was exposed, helps to understand Sister Roach the professional.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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