Support Us

The RPNF’s mission is to support Psychiatric Nursing excellence through annual scholarships and grants to psychiatric nursing students and RPNs in Canada who are pursuing undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level studies.

Haley Pelland

Congratulations to Haley Pelland, the Winnipeg Campus recipient of the 2023 RPNF Gold Medal of Excellence, awarded to a Brandon University B.Sc.P.N. graduating student who has consistently demonstrated leadership, academic excellence, and clinical proficiency.

Mary Waldner

Congratulations to Mary Waldner, the Brandon Campus recipient of the 2023 RPNF Gold Medal of Excellence, awarded to a Brandon University B.Sc.P.N. graduating student who has consistently demonstrated leadership, academic excellence, and clinical proficiency.

Katrina Pander

Congratulations to Katrina Pander, recipient of the RPNF’s 2023 Undergraduate Scholarship (awarded to a 3rd year student in the Psychiatric Nursing baccalaureate program in Canada, with a minimum GPA of 3.0). Katrina is a student at Brandon University. Her work history within a range of health care programs to date has provided valuable experience engaging with individuals requiring services, while collaborating with multidisciplinary teams providing often complex care. As a volunteer, Katrina has been mentored in DBT skills groups and has assisted with immunization clinics in schools and hospitals. She has applied learning from these settings to her studies. As a Psychiatric Nurse, Katrina would like to work in acute care and crisis stabilization and ultimately provide individual counselling services.

Jessica Parkin

Congratulations to Jessica Parkin, recipient of the RPNF’s 2023 Undergraduate Scholarship (awarded to a 4th year student in the Psychiatric Nursing baccalaureate program in Canada, with a minimum GPA of 3.0). Jessica is a student at Brandon University. She has worked as a health care aide in a number of settings ranging from private services, long term care, child & adolescent treatment, acute psychiatry as well as the emergency room. Some of Jessica’s goals in Psychiatric Nursing are to establish strong therapeutic relationships and ensure that individuals are aware of appropriate mental health resources and interventions. She appreciates the links between physical and mental health, and wants to advance strategies that mitigate stigma in health care settings.

Riley Hammond

Congratulations to Riley Hammond, recipient of the RPNF’s 2023 Graduate Scholarship (awarded to a graduate psychiatric nurse, registered in Canada who is pursuing relevant studies at a masters or doctoral level). Riley is a student at the University of Alberta. Riley’s research study is entitled, What is found in the Shadows? Building Opioid Care Pathway Integration using the Health Systems Dynamic Framework: Unearthing the Lived Experiences of People Who Use Drugs in an Urban Canadian Central Business District. His research investigates how physical and social characteristics of the built environment combine to shape health and harm reduction perceptions and practices of people who use drugs in Canadian cities. It is hoped that the study’s findings will foster Psychiatric Nursing advocacy for implementation of recommendations, as well as catalyze further research in these areas.

Pam Anderson

Congratulations to Pam Anderson, recipient of the 2023 RPNF Award of Excellence for Clinical Practice. Pam Anderson has been a Registered Psychiatric Nurse for over 30 years. She stands out in the profession, having delivered services in the Community Mental Health Program, Emergency Room Psychiatric Nursing, the addictions field, as well as working in private practice as a Crisis Clinician and operating her business “Go To Gal” in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. In addition to these areas, Pam provides long term care services in personal care and is Client Support Coordinator with the Alzheimer’s Society in Portage la Prairie. While Pam has worked with children and adults throughout her career, her heart has always been drawn to working with seniors. Pam’s compassionate approach to mental health assessment and intervention with aging individuals is one of her unique strengths, skillfully putting the person, their family and provider-teams at ease. Pam is a catalyst for meaningful change and improvement at all levels of her work, educating individuals and their families, as well as service providers around her through her personable, common-sense approach.

Paola Dubiel

Congratulations to Paola Dubiel, recipient of the 2023 RPNF Award of Excellence for Clinical Practice. Paola is an exemplary RPN presently practicing in ambulatory care at St. Boniface Hospital. Throughout her 25+ year career she has also worked in in-patient settings, crisis services and the emergency department. Paola pioneered the Psychiatric Nursing role in the ambulatory care department, defining the role and establishing a culture of highly skilled, autonomous Psychiatric Nurses who work side-by-side with psychiatry. Paola has been a champion for co-occurring approaches to intervention, having co-developed group curriculum which she continues to utilize in her practice. She stays abreast of evolving evidence and trends, and always incorporates determinants of health into the work she does. She is known for her compassionate, empathic, and non-judgemental approach. One of Paola’s outstanding accomplishments was initiating and acquiring funding to offer seasonal social gatherings for low-income, isolated individuals. She doesn’t hesitate to take on extra roles such as providing education sessions both in hospital and community, and has been actively involved in promoting staff recognition and engagement.

Haley Riedle

Congratulations to Haley Riedle, recipient of the 2023 RPNF Award of Excellence for Clinical Practice. Haley Riedle has made a tremendous difference through her work with individuals seeking services at the Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine Clinic in Winnipeg. She is one of the first people greeting individuals when they come to the clinic and provides a positive, welcoming experience by quickly connecting, evaluating the person’s needs and assisting them to meet their goals using evidence-based, trauma-informed care. Most importantly, Haley establishes an environment of safety and instills hope for recovery. Haley brings a calmness to the work, using the therapeutic relationship to promote engagement with the treatment plan, facilitating many success stories. Within the community, Haley volunteers with Project Safe Audience, an organization that provides peer-based harm reduction services. Haley has a strong work ethic and is recognized for her dedication to addictions medicine and her passion for helping people.

Charlene Shepard

Congratulations to Charlene Shepard, recipient of the 2023 RPNF Award of Excellence for Leadership. Charlene is the lead nurse at the Program of Assertive Community Treatment, within the Community Mental Health Program in Winnipeg. She is highly organized, providing mentorship and support to each member of the team. Charlene assists individuals requiring services using best practice approaches such as teaching new skills, improving quality of life and walking with them through recovery. She helps with problem-solving when fellow staff encounter challenging clinical situations and encourages each person to be the best version of themselves. As a leader in a community program, Charlene is very skilled at advocacy with external agencies, helping to break down barriers that make it difficult for people to gain access to supports. She brings positivity, supports others, and takes on a leadership role with her peers, program participants and the community.

Dana Naismith

Congratulations to Dana Naismith, recipient of the 2023 RPNF Award of Excellence for Education. Dana Naismith is a much-admired tenured professor at Brandon University and teaches within the Psychiatric Nursing program at the Winnipeg campus. While she teaches a range of classes throughout the program, she is particularly well-known by students for their positive experience in her Addictions class. Students often contemplate work in the addictions field having been influenced by Dana’s passion for recovery. Dana employs innovative and engaging learning opportunities including immersion experiences with 12-step-programs, student movie reviews about films focusing on addictions, and hosting individuals with lived addictions experience as guest speakers. Dana encourages class participation, is open and accepting of feedback, and pushes students to perform at their best, both academically and as future Psychiatric Nurses. She is comfortable talking about difficult subjects and ensures that students come away from her classes with a clear and honest view of addiction, mental illness, and the role of Registered Psychiatric Nurses in the recovery journey.

Dr. Beverley Hicks

Special Acknowledgment: 2023 was Beverley Hicks’ final year with the foundation concluding many years as Director and strong ambassador for the RPNF. In addition to key roles in promotion, communications and partnerships, Beverley has chaired and co-chaired the RPNF Scholarship Committee which is a primary area of the foundation’s focus. The work of current and past directors has been enriched by the wealth of Nursing and Psychiatric Nursing experience, as well as academic accomplishment brought by Beverley to the foundation’s efforts. As part of her support of the RPNF, Beverley contributed a portion of the proceeds from her recently published (and award-nominated) book Politics, Personalities & Persistence. Beverley has been an active and engaged RPNF Director, encouraging fellow Directors and Executive Committee Members in times of challenge and celebrating each accomplishment. The RPNF would like to formally thank Beverley for her commitment to the RPNF and to Psychiatric Nursing.

Dr. Annette Thorimbert Osted

Special Acknowledgment: Annette Osted has been a long-time supporter of the RPNF, serving as one of its original 3 Directors as well as Executive Member, President, and Volunteer. Annette was Executive Director of the Registered Psychiatric Nursing Association of Manitoba (now the CRPNM) for 35 years, dedicating her career to the evolution of the profession of Psychiatric nursing in the areas of education, practice, and legislation. She was instrumental in establishing the first baccalaureate degree in Psychiatric Nursing in Canada in 1995. In recognition of these significant accomplishments, Brandon University conferred Annette with a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) in 2012. Annette’s national undergraduate scholarship provided academic support to 12 Psychiatric Nursing students, and she continues to support the RPNF in many areas. Annette remains a fierce advocate for Psychiatric Nurses and Psychiatric Nursing students. Many thanks to Annette for her immeasurable commitment to the RPNF.

Dr. Marlene Fitzsimmons

Special Acknowledgment: Marlene Fitzsimmons has been a visionary leader and avid supporter of the Psychiatric Nursing profession throughout her career. Founder of the Registered Psychiatric Nurses’ Foundation (1980), Marlene has played an integral role in supporting the foundation’s development and governance structure. She has been an Executive, serving as President, Past President, and ongoing advisor. Marlene’s scholarship, recently converted to a grant has supported Psychiatric Nurses enrolled in certificate programs or presenting at conferences. Marlene has always been fully invested, and inspires this same commitment in those surrounding her, Psychiatric Nurses, students, or community members alike. Marlene was granted a lifetime membership with the CRPNM and was conferred an honorary Doctor of Science degree in 2009, the first Registered Psychiatric Nurse to receive this degree. The RPNF wishes to recognize Marlene’s contributions and thank her for being a mentor to us all.

Award Recipients

National Scholarships

RPNF Undergraduate Scholarship (3rd Year) – Katrina Pander
RPNF Undergraduate Scholarship (4th Year) – Jessica Parkin
RPNF Graduate Scholarship – Riley Hammond
McCormick-Henry Scholarship – Not awarded


RPNF Marlene Fitzsimmons Grant – Not awarded
RPNF Indigenous Studies Grant­ – Not awarded

RPNF Brandon University BScPN Medal of Excellence

Brandon Campus – Mary Waldner
Winnipeg Campus – Haley Pelland

Awards of Excellence in Psychiatric Nursing Practice nominations are open until March 31!

Support tomorrow’s psychiatric nurse today!

RPNF created scholarships to assist Registered Psychiatric Nurses and psychiatric nursing students to further their professional education.

Our Scholarship Program is funded through your donations. RPNF attracts and manages the gifts from donors into a permanent endowment fund.

Scholarships for Registered Psychiatric Nurses

The scholarship committee of the RPNF processes, selects, and awards the scholarships and grants funded by the RPNF.
The scholarships and grants are limited to Registered Psychiatric Nurses in Canada or students preparing to become Registered Psychiatric Nurses in an approved undergraduate psychiatric nursing education program.

Politics, Personalities, and Persistence

One Hundred Years of Psychiatric Nursing Education in Manitoba by Beverley Clare Williams Hicks

Politics, Personalities and Persistence, written by RPNF Director Dr. Beverley Hicks tells the story of the evolution of registered psychiatric nursing in the province of Manitoba. This comprehensive account traces the distinct profession’s transition from the asylums of Manitoba, where for seventy years psychiatric nurses had cared for the mentally ill when few others were interested in them, to the halls of academia in Brandon University in 1986, the first university in Canada to grant a baccalaureate degree to psychiatric nurses. Contact us at for more information and to order.  A portion of proceeds from the book will be donated to the RPNF Inc.

Important Links

Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada
College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Manitoba
Registered Psychiatric Nurses Association of Saskatchewan
British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals
All Charities Campaign
College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Alberta