Audrey Fraser receives prestigious award for nursing career in pediatrics
© Guardian photo by Jim Day
Dr. Jerry O'Hanley presents the J.H. O'Hanley Award of Excellence, named after his late father and legendary paediatrician Dr. John Hubert (Sock) O'Hanley, to Audrey Fraser in recognition of her many years of exemplary care as a nurse in pediatrics.
Caring for sick children was a calling Audrey Fraser felt early in life.
Fraser, 60, of Stratford says she knew that she wanted to work in pediatrics long before she enrolled in the P.E.I. School of Nursing and later graduated in 1974.
She recalls fondly being the sort of kid in the neighbourhood who simply adored children, relishing the opportunity to babysit.
“And sometimes there was a child with a special need and for me that always hit home,’’ she says.
“It was almost a need in me to want to care for others.’’
For many years, Fraser was a frontline nurse caring for children in pediatrics.
She could, at times, be like a ferociously protective mother bear when it came to looking after children in her care.
“Sometimes the caring comes out like I’m bossy, but it’s because I want people to be OK and do well,’’ she explains.
“It’s all about caring for the child and their family.’’
For a good 25 years or so, Fraser cared for children that had a host of sicknesses. There were terribly ill infants, and there were young children in critical condition. Some, of course, lost their battle.
Yet despite all the heaviness the job offered up, Fraser was always eager to make her way back to the bedside of sick children.
“I never really felt drained,’’ she says.
“I felt worried ... there’s times you get tired. You’re not a martyr. You’re human. You cry.’’
Fraser, who has been working as a nursing consultant with the Association of Registered Nurses of P.E.I. since the beginning of the year, was recognized recently for her lengthy, caring career in pediatrics.
Stepping up to the microphone to accept the prestigious J. H. O’Hanley Award of Excellence, she did her best to deflect attention.
She devoted much of her speech to singing the praises of the late Dr. John Hubert (Sock) O’Hanley, calling the iconic pediatrician that she worked with for years a man of integrity who saved the lives of many children.
She also told her former colleagues and others gathered in the QEH cafeteria that the award is “awesome’’ and her “utmost pleasure to accept it.’’
After the ceremony, she told The Guardian that she was indeed moved to receive the award that O’Hanley’s colleagues created to honour the doctor’s lifetime commitment to providing exceptional care for children.
She noted, though, that it was her job as a nurse in pediatrics that has been most rewarding.
“I’m so thankful ... for the opportunity that I had to affect the care of kids and their families,’’ she says.