Feb. 7, 2024

2024 UCalgary Nursing Spark Awards to honour outstanding nursing champions

Help us recognize contributions to nursing by nominating standout students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners by Feb. 29
UCalgary Nursing Spark Awards

For over a decade, UCalgary Nursing has been celebrating nursing champions in its community with an awards program that culminates in a ceremony held during National Nursing Week in May.

Nominations are now open for the UCalgary Nursing Spark Awards, previously known as the Faculty of Nursing Pursuit of Excellence Awards. The recognition program started in 2010 with a generous donation from Covenant Health and were aptly named the Covenant Health Faculty of Nursing Recognition Awards. 

To celebrate UCalgary’s strategic plan, Ahead of Tomorrow (2023 – 2030) and a new iteration of UCalgary Nursing’s strategic goals coming in mid-2024, the program has been rebranded as the Spark Awards to honour the spirit of the university’s Start Something campaign.

"In 2009, our tiny advancement team here in nursing decided we were long overdue to celebrate our large and small accomplishments within and external to the faculty,” says Karen Cook, director, communications, UCalgary Nursing. “Our then-director of development, Maria Martens, successfully secured funding for five years for us to initiate the awards program. We are grateful to Covenant Health for getting us started with money to really gain some traction for this kind of initiative.”

Cook adds that after Covenant Health was no longer involved, UCalgary Nursing leadership saw the benefits in continuing and the faculty has managed to sustain the program. “It is valuable to us as a community to acknowledge our students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and partners through nominations. Win or lose, it contributes to an overall sense of belonging.”

Cathy Lee BN’20, a member of the awards working group and current sessional instructor says “the Spark Awards are important because it’s a chance to recognize people who are doing great things in their areas, and it represents who we are as a school and discipline in the community.

“These awards represent all the great things that nursing brings to communities, schools, hospitals, and health-care systems. To me, it’s a reflection of the work we do as nurses.”

Cathy Lee BN'20

Cathy Lee, BN'20, UCalgary Nursing Spark Awards working group member, sessional instructor and MN grad student

Lee stresses that submitting a nomination is significant because it’s a way to show gratitude and appreciation and “say thank you to people that sometimes may go unnoticed otherwise” and ultimately is about relationship-building and connection.

We should take pride in those we get to work with around us; it makes us stronger to have that belief in ourselves and each other.”

Lee has been a part of the awards group for the last six years and joined when she was still an undergraduate student. She’s now a Master of Nursing graduate student. “As an undergrad student, I was just looking to get involved with the faculty in any way I could. It was interesting to be able to see the “behind-the-scenes” aspects and build relationships with faculty and staff in a different capacity than as a student.”

While the awards presentation take place May 7, 2024, nominations are now open until Feb. 29. The eight different nominated categories are: 

  • Impactful Education: Undergraduate Student
  • Impactful Education: Graduate Student
  • Impactful Education: Teaching
  • Enhancing Community: Alumnus
  • Enhancing Community: Community Partner
  • Enhancing Community: Support Staff
  • Transformative Leadership: Research
  • Transformative Leadership: Mentorship

An Ignitor Award (formerly the committee’s choice award) may also be given out and is selected by the awards working group. Since the UCalgary Nursing Spark Awards represent a shift from the other iterations - the Pursuit of Excellence and Covenant Health Faculty of Nursing Awards - previous recipients in similar categories may be nominated again.

Know UCalgary Nursing faculty, staff, students, alumni and partners who have made remarkable contributions to nursing? Nominate them for one of eight categories of the UCalgary Nursing Spark Awards by Feb. 29, 2024.