Sept. 3, 2019

Former ICU nurse-turned-leader in post-secondary education brings vibrant programming to students

50 Faces of Nursing: Pam Nordstrom, BN’83

Pam Nordstrom’s service as a nurse began to flourish while caring for premature infants in intensive care and propelled her to a leadership position in education. In her current role as vice-president of academic affairs at Ambrose University, she strives to advance programming more broadly for post-secondary students.

The work Nordstrom enjoys most is the kind that helps patients, and students, realize their full potential. In her early career, it meant working with infants and their families to help them provide the care needed after returning home. As her career progressed, it meant supporting nursing programs to become degree-granting. Now, it means promoting programs in a liberal arts university and seminary.

Eventually, Nordstrom’s research, which focused on assessment strategies for internationally educated nurses, was fundamental in helping this population of nurses engage in the Canadian health-care system.

Nordstrom also dedicated a brief time in adult ICU and took on various faculty and higher education administration roles. She held positions as department chair, director of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, executive director of enrolment, associate dean and interim faculty dean at Mount Royal University. She also held a program co-ordinator role at the Foothills School of Nursing.

“When I reflect on the work I do today with educational institutions,” Nordstrom says, “I'm grateful for my nursing education and it has equipped me for a challenging and satisfying career.”

Nordstrom is one of five health-care innovators who will share their stories at the 2019 Marguerite Schumacher Memorial Alumni Lecture on Sept. 28. This special edition of the nursing faculty's annual event will honour its 50th anniversary.

Pam Nordstrom, BN’83, is one of the 50 Faces of Nursing at the University of Calgary, Nursing Faculty

Pam Nordstrom, BN’83, is currently vice-president of academic affairs at Ambrose University.

Tell us about a memorable experience you had at UCalgary Nursing and its significance in your life or career.

“There are three faculty who saw my potential back then and had the courage to give me some tough feedback while also being my cheerleaders. Carol Rogers, Margie Edwards and Barb Metcalf continue to be mentors and friends today. They are true gifts to me.”

What piece of advice would you like to share with aspiring nurses?

“Find a mentor who will encourage you to take on new challenges and step out of your comfort zone. Be a mentor and support a young nurse to have large dreams.”

One luxury in life you'd rather not live without?

“Travel. My nursing career took me all over the world. I love learning about others and seeing new places. Even though I've been many places, my favourite is Tofino on our own west coast.

All through 2019, we'll be highlighting 50 Faces of Nursing and profiling nursing members in celebration of our 50th anniversary. If you know someone noteworthy (faculty, staff, alum, students, partners, etc.) who you would like us to feature, tell us more with this short online form. For more, visit