Nursing Undergraduate Research Internship Program (NURIP)

NURIP perseveres through the pandemic.

By Iryn Tushabe

Posted: July 12th, 2021


In the beginning, Arden Voykin found NURIP — the Nursing Undergraduate Research Internship Program that allows nursing students to work alongside faculty members carrying out research — pretty intimidating.

           "I didn't know what to expect," says the second-year student nurse, one of five students participating in the research internship program this year. "I didn't know what would be required of me, but everyone takes you under their wing, and I'm so happy to be doing this work."

           Nearly halfway through the summer program, which started May 10, Voykin has, with the guidance of Dr. Abigail Wickson-Griffiths, created a resources package on the subject of family councils. A family council, she explains, is composed of family and friends of long-term care home residents. Family councils have structured meetings regularly to identify and resolve issues affecting the residents and, where necessary, make suggestions for improvement. "It has been validating for me to see the brochure I created being handed out to people," Voykin says of the information package she put together detailing the importance of family councils and how people might go about starting one. In the last part of the program, Voykin is reviewing literature for Dr. Vivian Puplampu's research focusing on the health quality of older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NURIP was started in 2015 to provide undergraduate nursing students with employment, opportunities to foster research skills and participation in research and scholarship activities with faculty members. Dr. Liz Domm, who is leading the program this year, believes the

Faculty of Nursing at the University of Regina is the only university in Canada with an undergraduate nursing research internship program. "The beauty of it is that people apply as they would to a job or a graduate program, and when accepted, they get paid for working in an area of research that interests them," she explains.

           In previous years, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the hired students worked together in a shared office in the Faculty of Nursing, where they got to rub shoulders with faculty and staff. This year, however, much like 2020, the student researchers are working from home, meeting with their mentors — and other research professionals — via Zoom. Though this arrangement is less than ideal, it hasn't been all bad.

           Third year nursing Ayodipupo Adetola is enrolled in the accelerated option of the Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (SCBScN) program where students can graduate almost a year ahead of schedule. The flexibility to make her own hours has enabled her to juggle her classes with the responsibilities of the research internship program.

           "From when I started nursing, I was interested in research and the possibility to move on to a Masters and Ph.D. after that," says Adetola, who is reviewing literature for Dr. Wickson-Griffiths' research about transferring patients who require different levels of care from long-term care homes to assisted care. Adetola adds that the experience of pouring over articles based on evidence-based research and summarizing them for her mentor has reinforced her desire to pursue a career in research. "It's a valuable experience getting hands-on mentorship from experienced researchers who are very giving of their time and knowledge," she adds.

Third year student nurse Marjaan Ahmed echoes Adetola's sentiments regarding the flexibility of the program. "I can make my own hours," says Ahmed, who works with Dr. Elise Matthews on her project about newcomers to Canada accessing disability services. "It works really well with school because I can do my schoolwork and come back to NURIP after."

           But even though the work feels part-time, the research itself remains an immersive experience for Ahmed. "NURIP gives you the full experience of research, and then you can decide if it's something you can see yourself doing in the future."

           Like Ahmed, Aamin Ali's interest in research grew after she took CNUR 209, the mandatory research course before applying to NURIP. "I like that nursing is an evidence-based practice, and I've always known that I want to pursue a Master's Degree," she says.

           Ali is assisting Dr. Janine Brown with her research into Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), reviewing literature from both sides, including articles that favour medical assistance in dying as well as articles against it. Soon, Ali will begin to work with Dr. Shela Hirani, assisting Dr. Hirani in her research about resilience in new mothers during COVID-19 and other pandemics. "I feel lucky to be getting experience in both areas of MAID and mental health," she says, adding there ought to be more mental health resources available for people, especially during a pandemic. "So Dr. Hirani's research resonates with me."

           But another nursing student, Alisha Tejani, is learning that nurses, too, need to protect their mental health and well-being. "Especially now when they are working in extraordinary times," explains Tejani, who works with Dr. Ann-Marie Urban on her research that focuses on nursing professionals' physical and mental well-being.

           Tejani has been reviewing the literature looking into, among other things, the various interventions nurses engage in to take care of themselves. "The whole idea of self-care in the profession of nursing was new to me," she says, "But the more I read about it, the more I see how vital it is."


NURIP gives student nurses a taste for research.

By Iryn Tushabe

Posted: August 17th, 2020

Nurip 202008

Left to Right Jennifer Fatunwase, Omowumi Obafemi, Huiyuan Gao, and
Dr. Joan Wagner, Associate Dean, Graduate Programs and Research

Only three months into NURIP — the Nursing Undergraduate Research Internship Program — and Jennifer Fatunwase is about to become a published researcher. A project the third year nursing student contributed to as an assistant researcher has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Nursing Education and Practice.

Dr. Sherry Arvidson was far along in the research when I joined her as a research assistant in May, so my role was minimal,” explains the third year nursing student, one of three participating in NURIP this year. Fatunwase assisted mainly in the formatting and editing of the paper, as well as furnishing it with the acknowledgement section. “I was really excited when the paper was accepted for publication,” she says, adding she was doubly excited when the second project she helped Dr. Arvidson on, this one exploring ways of eliminating the gap of othering among culturally-diverse populations, was also recently accepted for publication in the International Journal of Advance Nursing Education. “I was so happy when Dr. Arvidson informed me that she will add my name to the article,” says Fatunwase. These early successes, she added, have strengthened her conviction that research, which she’s always been interested in, is one of the areas where she belongs as a nurse.

NURIP, according to Dr. Joan Wagner, who is coordinating the internship program this year, employs undergraduate nursing students from May to August each year, pairing them with faculty members who are doing research. “One of the things we really try to do is introduce the students to the research that’s happening within the Faculty of Nursing so they can see how their instructors, their teachers, are doing fascinating work in the background,” Wagner explained.

It’s a point that resonates for third year nursing student Huiyuan Gao who is assisting Dr. Ann-Marie Urban with her research on self-care of nurses in the workforce during the COVID-19 environment.

“Before, I didn’t realize how important research was,” admits Gao, saying that now, well into the research internship, she understands how nursing research is always changing and reshaping the face of healthcare.

Gao credits the various speakers the program has been bringing in, research professionals who have addressed diverse topics including international research, publishing, and medically assisted dying. Dr. Elan Paluck, director of research with the Saskatchewan Health Authority spoke to the interns about research taking place within the province of Saskatchewan. In August, Dr. Ann-Marie Urban is scheduled to present either on spirituality in research or mental health counselling.

“I think, too, that it has improved my ability as a writer,” says Gao, explaining that she’s become quite adept at finding high-quality research articles when conducting literature reviews. “In the classroom you analyze theory but when you’re actually involved in carrying out the research, you can see the practical applications.”

Those practical applications of research were what first attracted Omowumi Obafemi to the program last year, only to realize she didn’t yet qualify for the internship job. First she’d need to take CNUR 209, an introductory course in Nursing Research Methods, which she did this year. Now Obafemi is assisting Dr. Shela Hirani in her research on refugee mothers and breastfeeding during the pandemic.

Obafemi who has “always had the notion that there’s more to nursing than working on the floor in the hospital,” says she’s learning so much, even though all of that learning is taking place online due to distancing guidelines as a result of the novel coronavirus. She’d felt some trepidation that the program wouldn’t be as hands-on, but those fears were quickly dispelled.

“The faculty has been very supportive, giving us feedback on the work in a way that’s constructive,” she explains, adding that being able to a make meaningful contribution to her professor’s research has boosted her confidence. While getting paid is a bonus, Obafemi says the opportunity to learn hands-on has been more important.

“Usually the interns have their own office where they get to work and have face-to-face interactions with each other and faculty,” Wagner says, celebrating that the program has been delivered just as successfully via zoom. “There was the concern about, well, how do you establish relationships with people when you can’t meet them face to face, but I think this shows that we’ve overcome that barrier.”


May 21 to August 9, 2019

A summer research internship program for undergraduate nursing students who are interested in research and the development of their research skills. Interns will work directly with nursing faculty. Students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on research experience and activities (e.g. literature reviews, data collection, focus groups, poster presentations).
To be eligible, students must have completed CNUR 209 Nursing Research Methods or equivalent and be in good standing. To apply, you will need to submit a resume and cover letter. Please see the posting at the University of Regina's human resources website (careers-student positions).  
Ann-Marie Urban, RPN, RN, PhD
Associate Professor
Faculty of Nursing
Research and Innovation Centre

University of Regina
Regina, Saskatchewan
Canada S4S 0A2
phone: 306-585-4953
fax: 306-337-8493
REALIZE  human potential through
the power of  NURSING


Internship program introduces nursing students to research and scholarship.

By Iryn Tushabe

Posted: June 20th, 2019

Hailey Ann Rebecca Nurip 201920

Left to Right as Hailey Silversides, Dr. Ann-Marie Urban, Rebecca Morash

"I'm really interested in understanding the process of research, "says Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing Rebecca Morash after her first week in the Nursing Undergraduate Research Internship Program(NURIP). The fourth year student nurse says there have been times during clinical placements when she's found herself thinking, "This could be better somehow."

Now she'll spend this summer getting hands-on experience helping faculty members with ongoing research projects including Dr. Lonie Mvumbi Mambu who is researching the French-language bilingual SCBScN program that began last fall. She will also assist in another study co-authored by Dr. Shauna Davies and Dr. Sherry Arvidson, on factors affecting Indigenous student success.

"So we're currently starting the literature review on that," explains Hailey Silversides, the other student participating in the internship program and who is working on the same project. "We're also researching journals where they could publish their findings, and we're putting together the poster presentation for when they (faculty members) go to conferences."

Silversides is also helping out with Dr. Vivian Puplampus research which will focus on the experiences of ageing in immigrants from African countries.

Now in its fifth year, the Faculty of Nursing, NURIP hires students interested in further developing their research and scholarship skills and assigns them to work directly with nursing faculty doing research.

Getting into the literature review, applying for funding, working with the team to develop individual roles these are all aspects of the research process that NURIP co-ordinator Dr. Ann-Marie Urban hopes the students will get immersed into. "Just this morning we were talking about whats involved in applying for ethics approval," she says, adding that someone from the Research Ethics Board will be talking to the students about this important step in the research process.

In addition to their jobs as research assistants, the students will participate in scholarship sessions with faculty members, provincial nurse leaders, individuals from the Saskatchewan Health Authority, and the university librarian. They'll enjoy special presentations from guests including Mary Martin-Smith, Saskatchewans Chief Nursing Officer as well as from Cindy Smith, the Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association (SRNA). The students will be involved in the Canadian Doctoral Nursing Network Conference (CDNN) taking place June 10 and 11 on campus, and they will participate in the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient Oriented Research Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) modules in June.

"The idea is to expose the students to various realms of nursing," says Urban, explaining that the profession is broad beyond the clinical practice which employs the majority of nurses. She adds that the internship is a transformative experience for the students different from the classroom. "Besides research, they're learning how to organize their days, setting up meetings with faculty, solving problems."

Being in the department in the capacity of an employee is exciting for Matthew Nordin, a first-year nursing student participating in NURIP through the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Having been awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Nordin is assisting Dr. Abigail Wickson-Griffiths in her research focused on the importance of communication in long-term care, palliative care and end of life care. Nordin says he's looking forward to collecting data through literature reviews, focus groups and interviews. "Its really cool being able to work alongside these amazing professors," he says. "You get to see what they do behind the scenes outside of teaching in the classroom."

The Nursing Undergraduate Research Internship Program provides students with a unique experience that not only fosters their research and scholarship abilities, but broadens their perspective of the nursing profession as a whole.


NURIP: An opportunity to learn on the job.
By Iryn Tushabe


Four Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (SCBScN) students are getting their feet wet in the research pond through the annual Nursing Undergraduate Research Internship Program (NURIP).

“It’s nice being at the university in the capacity of an employee, with our very own office,” says Kurtis Tomyn, sitting with colleagues Katrina Nixdorf, Kiane Desnomie and Alexis Clark in the space they share in the Research Innovation Building. It’s the second week on the job but Tomyn, who is working with nursing instructor Shauna Davies and assistant professor Sherry Arvidson, says so far, the work is as stimulating as expected. “You’re piecing together that hundreds of people from different parts of the world have studied the same things using varying approaches and techniques, and its interesting spending time with their findings.”

Now in its fourth year of operation, the summer internship program hires undergraduate nursing students who have an interest in research, offering them hands-on experience as research assistants for members of the faculty members conducting research.

But the thirteen-week program is as much a learning experience as it is a job, explains associate professor Ann-Marie Urban, who coordinates NURIP.

“The majority of nurses end up working in acute care – in hospitals and clinics – but this is an opportunity for students to experience nursing in a different setting,” says Urban, adding that each week the student researchers attend scholarly sessions lead by experts in the field, including faculty and nursing leaders.

For example, the internship kicked off last week with a literature review session delivered by Dr. Joan Wagner (Associate Professor), because, Urban says, “advanced literature review is a big part of the work that the students will be doing.”
For Katrina Nixdorf, reviewing published articles relevant to one study while transcribing raw data for another project has offered her an insider’s perspective about research.

“You get a deeper understanding of the work and how important it is to the people conducting it,” explains Nixdorf who is working with Dr. Wagner and Dr. Abigail Wiskson-Griffiths. “Being involved in the work is way more interesting than reading about it or even reviewing it.”

The overall amount of work that goes into reviewing existing literature is, for Kiane Desnomie, both fascinating and daunting at the same time. She’s also helping with two research projects for two faculty members — Dr. Liz Domm and Dr. Karen Eisler.
“As students, we’re used to getting everything done in the span of a week, but with this work we have more time to find all the relevant articles and create a more comprehensive review,” Desnomie says. She’s quick to add that the time investment so far has been well worth it both as a learning process and as an exercise in time management as she juggles the two separate projects.

Alexis Clark, working on research projects for Dr. Léonie Mvumbi Mambu and Dr. Laurie Clune, says she appreciated the opportunity to “cut her teeth” on research, especially since this is her final year in the SCBScN program.
“I wanted to test it (research) out as an option to working in a hospital setting,” she says, adding she’s grateful for the opportunity to work on diverse research projects, one of which looks at the disproportionate and more limited home care resources available to the French minority in Saskatchewan because the language barrier.

All four research assistants will attend and experience further networking opportunities during the forthcoming doctoral conference — The Canadian Doctoral Nursing Network Conference — slated to take place June 11, 12, and 13, at the University of Regina.


Fostering Research Knowledge and Skills: Nursi ng Undergraduate Research Internship Program

By NURIP students Kiyomi Gibney, Katie Cotter, and Darlene Domshy, and Ann-Marie Urban, RN, RPN, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Nursing University of Regina

In 2015, the Nursing Undergraduate Research Internship Program (NURIP) was launched at the Faculty of Nursing, University of Regina. The program provides undergraduate nursing students with full-time employment, opportunities to foster research skills, and participation in research and scholarship activities with faculty members.

Three NURIP students, Darlene Domshy, Kiyomi Gibney, and Katie Cotter, were the first students to be part of the new program. Several faculty members mentored and worked in collaboration with the students on a multitude of research projects andscholarship activities.

These included conducting advanced literature reviews, assisting with data collection and analysis, and attending research meetings. As well, students participated in several learning sessions that were facilitated by the faculty, nursing librarian, the Research Office funding officer, and Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region leaders.

The sessions included learning about how to conduct advanced literature searches, understanding ethics in the research process, the role of an epidemiologist, nursing leadership, research funding, and how to complete a research ethics application. Students were also involved in the Canadian Doctoral Nursing Network conference by assisting with abstract reviews, planning and registration. They also interacted with several nurse scholars from across Canada.

NURIP student, Kiyomi Gibney said the program was a win-win for both the faculty and the students.

"Faculty members commented on the students' willingness to learn and engage in the research and scholarship activities. NURIP student," Gibney said. "This internship has introduced me to nursing scholarship, as well as the research process, through attending conferences, RQHR research events and various research seminars. It has allowed me the opportunity to actively participate in research with my mentors, which in turn has exposed me to qualitative research in ways that I would have never experienced, had it not been for this program."

"I have been able to work with my mentors to develop my systematic reviewing skills," she added. "Not only will these invaluable skills benefit me for my upcoming final year of the program, but in future post graduate education as well."

NURIP student Cotter agreed.

"The NURIP program allowed me to experience research in a way that my schooling wasn't able to offer," Cotter said. "I also feel more confident in my knowledge and ability to carry out research. In addition, the program gave me the opportunity to network with people from all over the country and learn from people in a variety of different health fields. I am so thankful that I was able to take part in such an awesome program

for the summer. I highly recommend other students to apply."

Darlene Domshy, NURIP student completed the nursing program in August and highlighted how her knowledge and skills will be used in the clinical environment to provide attainable research to influence the health care system and ultimately patient care and experience.

"As nursing moves forward with a greater emphasis on research and evidence-based practice, fostering students' research skills and knowledge is necessary," Domshy noted. "This program has given students a deeper understanding of the research process and planted the seed for their future as nurse scholars. "

Research demonstrates that students who have research experiences have an increased understanding of the research process and its application to clinical practice (Vessey & DeMarco, 2008). Thus, learning about the importance of nursing research can improve the care of patients and their families in the health care environment.  


Vessey, J. A., & DeMarco, R. F. (2008). The undergraduate research fellows program: A unique model to promote engagement in research. Journal of Professional Nursing, 24(6), 358-363.