February 28th, 2022
This story is part of a series of Commissionaires Nova Scotia blog posts celebrating the achievements of Black Nova Scotians for African Heritage Month.
Clotilda Yakimchuk was born and raised in Whitney Pier, Nova Scotia. In 1954, she became the first Black graduate of the Nova Scotia Hospital School of Nursing. She also received a post-graduate midwifery diploma from Colony Hospital, Grenada, West Indies, a post-graduate psychiatric nursing certificate from the Nova Scotia Hospital and a diploma in adult education from St. FX University.
Yakimchuk spent 50 years in the nursing profession. She began her career as Head Nurse of the Admission/Discharge Unit of the Nova Scotia Hospital. From there she moved to Grenada, West Indies, where she was the Director of Nursing at the Psychiatric Hospital. Yakimchuk moved back to Canada in 1967, where she took a position as Staff Nurse at the Sydney City Hospital. She later became Nursing Supervisor and later Director of Staff Development at the Cape Breton Hospital. She then served as Director of Education Services at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital until her retirement from nursing in 1994.
She served as President of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Nova Scotia (now known as The College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia). Notably, she is this organization’s only elected Black president in 100 years of the organization’s history to date. She is a proponent of education and lifelong learning and was an exceptional role model to the many nurses who followed in her path. In addition to her work as President, she served on numerous national, provincial and local committees and working groups.
As founding president of the Black Community Development Organization, Yakimchuk led the movement to provide affordable housing in low-income communities and improved living facilities for seniors.
She died of COVID-19 last year in Halifax.
Read more about Clotilda Yakimchuk here: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/30/obituaries/clotilda-douglas-yakimchuk-dead-coronavirus.html