Saluting our pioneer women from the first 100 years of Ponoka town and county

This week’s look back in time features something unique at the time, a female doctor

Dr. Doreen (Sturla) Scott. Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum

By Mike Rainone for the News

For more than 10 years the weekly Reflections and Remember When features in your Ponoka News have been proudly telling the colourful stories, successes, and ongoing contributions of our pioneer families, individuals, businesses, and milestones of our long and exciting history. This week we will honour Dr. Doreen (Sturla) Scott, who along with her family has been an active member of our progressive community since 1953, and was a very worthy recipient of a coveted Centennial Appreciation Award in 2004.

Doreen Sturla would arrive in Ponoka from Calgary in 1953 to begin the eight month Post Basic Course in Psychiatric Nursing at the Alberta Hospital, which upon graduation would mark the beginning of a dedicated career of caring and sharing for others that she still proudly carries on in various capacities and kindness to this day. Doreen would later marry Sandy Scott of Ponoka, and over the years they would welcome their three children Wally, Hilary Anne, and Sam (Sandy Junior) Among Doreen and Sandy’s greatest joys was being able to bring up their family on an acreage just outside of town, where she always loved the abundance of nature, while enhancing her surroundings by planting many trees, plants, and a bountiful garden.

As well as being an active community member with family and friends Doreen Scott would embark on a passionate and life-long career of learning, and along the way her accomplishments in achieving a University education have been extremely impressive. Over many busy years of work and study she would receive a baccalaureate degree in nursing, a masters’ degree in education administration, and a doctoral degree in business, while later receiving her baccalaureate degree as well as a masters’ degree in theology.

During her long and noteworthy career in nursing at the Alberta Hospital Doreen Scott would serve as a staff nurse, afternoon supervisor, head nurse, day supervisor, coordinator of patient services, and assistant director of nursing, while making countless friends with hospital patients and staff. Also of very special interest was the fact that in the 1970s Doreen Scott and Eva Balerud would be the only two lady AHP staff members to serve on the Alberta Hospital Volunteer Fire Department. During a span of over 20 years Mrs. Scott has also enjoyed teaching many community workshops on: the elderly and their care, stress management, suicide, cancer support, and death and dying, only to mention a few. In 1983 this dynamic lady would receive the Alberta Achievement Award for Excellence in Nursing.

After leaving the Alberta Hospital Doreen Scott would become a nursing instructor at Red Deer College, and has continued to supervise student replacements for many years. She has also been employed at the Community Information Center in Red Deer, where she had done extensive research on senior’s health, while hosting community workshops, and as a qualified reiki master has used her skills for healing many people. Dr. Scott has always been a devoted member of the St. Mary’s Anglican Church, where for over 50 years she has preached her unique and faithful services. Recently ordained as an Anglican Deacon, Dr. Doreen Scott looks forward to holding church services at the Centennial Centre, at Senior Centres in and around Ponoka, and at various institutions at Bashaw and Red Deer. Through all her many and ongoing years of faithful and kindly service countless parishioners have greatly benefited from her counseling, and she has always found quality time to sit down and listen to the problems of others. Doreen’s amazing generosity also extends to her home, where for over 40 years she has taken in ex-AHP residents and treated them as family.

In her countless and ongoing community activities Dr. Doreen Scott has also graciously volunteered some time out of her very busy weekly schedule to such organizations as: The Council for Aging, Rural Health Care, The Alberta Association of Registered Nurses, The Alberta Writer’s Guild, Ponoka Word Weavers, Rebekahs, as a member of The Order of the Eastern Star No. 47 since 1950, as well as the Central Alberta Soroptomists, who have proudly claimed her as a Charter Member since 1988. The long and colourful history of the town and county of Ponoka has always been important to Doreen Scott, who really enjoyed being avidly involved in the 1980s with the restoration of the Alberta Hospital Museum with Michael Rainone Sr. and others, along with also serving on the Fort Ostell Museum Society.

Doreen Scott has always possessed a very close affinity for nature while diligently maintaining her pristine acreage north of Lacombe, where her love was always extended to animals, and she was often accompanied by her border collie Molly. Dr. Scott has always had that extremely positive outlook and ability to laugh at herself, and will always be a very spiritual person whose life has been centred and dedicated around the care and well being of others, while contributing greatly in so many kind and special ways to the betterment of the people in the community of Ponoka, and wherever else she is needed.

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