Elizabeth Gibson


Elizabeth Gibson
Surname as Student: Gibson
Education: Presbyterian Missionary and Deaconess Training Home
Graduation Year: 1911
Where: Presbytery of Toronto
Denomination: Presbyterian Church of Canada
  • 1942 - Died, November 30

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Elizabeth Gibson, the first superintendent of the Galt Hospital, was born in Galt, one of six children of David Gibson and Sarah Jamieson. She attended the Toronto Hospital School of Nursing at a time when the school was in its infancy and in December 1889 was hired by the trustees of the Galt Hospital to serve as the Lady Superintendent of the hospital. She took on this responsibility at a time when it was the opinion of many in the town that the hospital was a needless and useless expense since there were no poor or homeless in the town. As the first superintendent Miss Gibson became a leader in changing the opinion of many about the usefulness of a local hospital and was instrumental in establishing the Galt Hospital as a reputable institution. When the hospital opened in 1891 her staff consisted of three domestics, a caretaker and two student nurses. In return for a salary of $240 per year, Miss Gibson took on the duties of secretary, treasurer, admitting and discharging officer, dispenser, head nurse and housekeeper. The rules and regulations governing behaviour in the Galt Hospital submitted by Miss Gibson and adopted by the Board of Trustees demonstrated her professional knowledge of hospitals and their administration. Although some of the rules now appear outdated, some of them are not so different to those in place today. Nurses were always to keep themselves clean and neat and to conduct themselves in a quiet, orderly and kind manner at all times. In 1895, after serving five years as superintendent at the Galt Hospital, Miss Gibson resigned. She stated at the time that although she loved her work, she was “worked and worn out”, and needed the time to care for her semi-invalid father. He father died two years later and Miss Gibson moved west and became a deaconess and missionary in the Presbyterian church. She was admitted to Ewart College in 1910 and graduated on April 4, 1911. She then served in Grosvenor and Cooke’s Churches. Miss Gibson retired as a deaconess in 1936 and entered Belmont Nursing Home in Toronto where she died in January 1942.

Elizabeth Gibson was inducted into the Cambridge Hall of Fame in 2002.  This biography is from www.cambridge.ca/cs_pubaccess/hall_of_fame