Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Portrait of Major Trisha MacLeod, a registered nurse and health services operations officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. Kearns’s original drawing has been adapted for this story by combining it with a slogan from the poster edition she made of this work.

Gertrude Kearns

Gertrude Kearns was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2019 “for her contributions to preserving and understanding Canadian war history as a contemporary artist.” She has worked as a war/military artist for more than two decades, including as an official war artist embedded in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2006. Public collections of her work are at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

I grew up a proud daughter of Ruby Steiger, a registered nurse who trained at Yarmouth Hospital in the late 1930s. I loved being a candy-striper volunteer in my teens, assisting nurses at Toronto’s St. Joseph’s Hospital where she worked. That appreciation of the hospital environment no doubt influenced my interest in the relevance of institutions – including the police and military – and led me to this portrait of Major Trisha MacLeod as a full-circle tribute to the honourable profession of nursing.

It was Rear-Admiral Rebecca Patterson, commander of Canadian Forces Health Services, who referred me to health services operations officer Major Trisha MacLeod, a registered nurse. She saw three tours of Afghanistan between 2004 and 2012, and her clinical skills brought her to Sierra Leone in 2015 during the Ebola epidemic. Currently nearing the end of her two-year command of 32 Canadian Health Services Centre in Toronto, she will be promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel on May 14 and will be posted to Petawawa, Ont., where she will take command of 2 Field Ambulance.

Story continues below advertisement

Nurses are an essential resource. When they burn out, patients suffer

Our pandemic progress is slow but real

I wanted to present Major MacLeod heroically as a tribute to military medical staff past and present. Is she a one-winged Angel of Mercy? A modern-day Athena? These romantic inferences jive with the overall depiction of an officer who is ready to draw her nine-mm pistol if required, armed as she would be operationally in war zones.

Nurses are nothing short of heroic. Like members of our military, they put themselves in harm’s way to protect us. I hope my portrayal does something to encourage viewers to recognize and appreciate the importance of the work they do. Let’s respect our nurses.

Poster by artist Gertrude Kearns featuring a portrait of Major Trisha MacLeod, a registered nurse and health services operations officer in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Gertrude Kearns

Keep your Opinions sharp and informed. Get the Opinion newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies