Minister of Colleges and Universities Jill Dunlop presents Humber College’s Brenda Ripley with a Minister’s Award of Excellence.

Brenda Ridley, a Humber College program advisor in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellness, received an award in recognition of her remarkable efforts to help train more than 200 nurses during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Ridley, who is also an instructor for High Acuity, Critical Care and Emergency Nursing post-graduate programs at Humber, is one of just six winners of the Everyday Heroes award as part of the 2021-22 Minister of Colleges and Universities' Awards of Excellence. Ridley was honoured during a ceremony on February 6 at George Brown College.

“It was very humbling just to be nominated and when I sat in the room with the other award recipients, I felt so honoured to be part of the group,” said Ridley, who started at Humber in 2015.

Ridley said, while she was the one to be nominated, she felt the award was in recognition of the team that she works with.  

The more than 200 nurses Ridley trained have gone on to work in the critical care and emergency departments for hospitals both in and outside of the GTA. Ridley pivoted to an online teaching model at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and finetuned her delivery to engage and support the nurses throughout their journey towards their certifications.

“Brenda consistently goes above and beyond in support of our programs, our faculty, and our learners,” said Jason Powell, senior dean, Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellness at Humber. “At the height of the global pandemic, when the hospital and placement environments were bleak, Brenda remained a steadfast champion for our Emergency and Critical Care programs and with determination found innovative and flexible ways to ensure we graduated a steady supply of nurses to meet the industry demands. A true champion, Brenda is most deserving of this award and exhibits the values of the College and the Faculty on a daily basis.”

Typically, only three cohorts are offered each year. However, due to hospital partner needs, Ridley added extra cohorts to accommodate their requests. That meant Ridley worked almost constantly that year.  

“At the end of the day, it was about supporting the people who help patients and their families,” said Ridley. “I’m grateful we were able to step up and meet the need that existed.”

Even with the dramatic increase in students, Ridley continued to provide personal support to all the nurses in the program and received overwhelming praise from her learners.

“Brenda's commitment to educating our next generation of nurses is exemplary and needs to be celebrated,” read the nomination submission.   

The Minister of Colleges and Universities' Awards of Excellence annually recognize the exceptional performance of faculty, staff and graduate students from colleges, universities, private career colleges and Indigenous Institutes who made a difference to the lives of students, to their communities and to the entire province during the 2021-22 academic year.