Dorothy Wylie


Dorothy was a long-standing leader in the healthcare community in Canada and well known as a teacher, mentor, coach, volunteer, risk-taker and friend to many. Dorothy died in August 2016.

Born in 1929 in Toronto, Dorothy graduated from St Michael’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1950. Dorothy earned a BScN from NYU in the early 1960s and an MA from Columbia in 1969 while working at Cornell Medical Centre as the Head Nurse in the Recovery Room. Very few nurses had access to or achieved masters’ level study at that time. In the 1970’s Dorothy returned to her home in Toronto. While supporting her elderly parents, she took on leadership positions at Scarborough Centenary Hospital, Sunnybrook Medical Centre, and the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario.

dorothy wylieIn the 1980’s Dorothy was named the Director of Nursing at the 1000 bed Toronto General Hospital, the largest hospital in the country at the time. Always a life-long learner and recognizing a need for more knowledge as a leader of people, Dorothy commuted on weekends to American University in Washington DC where she completed a MS in Human Resource Development. She was recognized by her classmates as a leader, a visionary, and a wise woman who lived her values.

In 1987, Dorothy retired as Vice President of Nursing at TGH. The following was written in Generally Speaking, the hospital newsletter about her “an outspoken advocate of the nursing profession, Dorothy has earned the respect of her peers at Toronto General and throughout the country. She has played a vital role in the promotion of excellence in nursing practice and has been the mentor to many nurses”.

In the early 1990’s, along with volunteer Board activities and consulting work in hospital administration, Dorothy served as Associate Professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto and Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba. Dorothy is a former President of the College of Nurses of Ontario, a founding member of both the Ontario Provincial Nurse Administrators’ Interest Group and the Canadian Journal of Nursing Leadership. She served on Boards of The Registered Nurses Foundation of Ontario, the Ethics Committee of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, the Canadian History of Nursing Foundation, Metropolitan Toronto Victorian Order of Nurses, Toronto Institute of Medical Technology, Seneca College, the College of Speech Language and Audiologists, and the Accreditation Committee of the Ontario Association of Children’s Mental Health Centres.

She was a Fellow of Ryerson University in recognition of outstanding work in promoting excellence in nursing practice. The description of Dorothy that was quoted at her nomination is: “Dorothy is well known throughout the country for her far-sightedness, her commitment to quality patient care, and her willingness to take risks to bring about needed change”. Dorothy was always at the cutting edge. As a leader and a visionary she could see what needed to be done to create a good future and she got to work to make it happen.