In spite of an ongoing interest in literature and history, Shelagh initially embarked on a quite different career path. In 1956, she enrolled in the Bachelor Science of Nursing Program and attained her RN at the Hospital for Sick Children, was married in June 1960, and for the next two years worked for Dr. Mitchell Cohen, Head of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. After taking time out to raise a young family, she returned to university to study history and Canadian Studies. In 1981, she was granted an Hons. BA in History and Canadian Studies at Trent University, and 1in 1983, an MA in history, which included a course at the University of Toronto’s International Affairs Program.
>Instead of pursuing a doctorate, which was not available at that time at Trent University, she was offered a variety of teaching opportunities at Trent on a sessional basis, which allowed her more time to concentrate on research and writing — essentially a catch-up after re-entering the academic community in mid-life.