Five Swift Current RN Graduates Receive Their Pins.

By Iryn Tushabe

Posted: August 17, 02:30 Pm


The first graduates from Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (SCBScN) program in Swift Current were welcomed into the nursing profession through a time-honoured tradition: the Pinning Ceremony.

“It marks a graduate’s passing from student to practicing nurse,” said Dr. Robin Evans, Associate Dean with the University of Regina, Faculty of Nursing. Evans, who has attended similar celebrations in Saskatoon and Regina, added this particular Pinning Ceremony was special because it was the first in Swift Current. 

According to Evans, the history of Pinning Ceremonies dates back to the Crusades of the 12th Century when monks were given Maltese crosses as badges for treating wounded crusaders. Later, Florence Nightingale, considered the founder of modern nursing, also presented medals of excellence to her nursing graduates. The medals have since evolved into pins, and now nurse Pinning Ceremonies are commonplace around the world.

“The graduates were tickled pink,” said Brenda Hackl, a project manager with the Faculty of Nursing, who helped organize the event. “Their families were there: husbands, kids and other family members.”

At the June 2nd ceremony, which took place at Walker Place, five Swift Current graduates — Leeta Brisebois, Kayla Christofferson, Carrie Empey, Ellie Koellmel, and Catherine Reimer — were presented with pins which symbolize honour, courage, dedication and the privilege of being a nurse.

“It was very heartfelt because it was important to celebrate all the work that it took to deliver the program out there in Swift Current,” Hackl said, adding that the community of Swift Current had “supported the program and the students since its inception.”

All five of the pinned nursing graduates have been hired by the Cypress Health Region.

Nursing Students in Swift Current Give Back to the Community

By Iryn Tushabe

Posted: August 10, 01:00 Pm


A group of Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (SCBScN) students in Swift Current recently presented the Cypress Health Region with a cheque to help purchase training equipment for the Cypress Regional Hospital in their home town.

“Our instructor on the maternity ward had told us there’s a neonate IV doll that’s great for practicing starting an IV line in infants but she said it wasn’t covered in the budget,” said Shauna Wright, a fourth year RN student in the program. “So we thought we would do a fundraiser and buy this doll as a thank you to the maternity ward staff because they were extra special.”

Organized by eight students, the Paint Nite fundraiser sold out, Shauna said, motivating them to raise a little more money to supplement the IV doll with another piece of equipment — a vein finder for the Med-Surg unit. The device is used to locate a good vein for starting an IV.

“So then we went around telling people in the community what we were doing and they made donations for prizes,” Shauna said. “We ended up raising $1720 in total.”

This was more than enough for the two pieces of training equipment. They decided to donate the balance to mental health, another unit where they’d spend time during their practicum rotation.

The donation was officially presented to the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation, a nonprofit responsible for raising money for medical equipment for healthcare facilities throughout Cypress Health Region. Unit managers from Maternity and Med-Surg, as well as a clinical instructor from mental health were invited to the June 28th donation presentation.

The students will probably benefit from the equipment they’ve helped purchase as they all plan on practicing at the Swift Current hospital where they have all been offered jobs upon graduation, Shauna said, adding, “I can’t even imagine studying nursing anywhere else other than here in this wonderful community.”

Visiting Graduate Students Give High Praise to Saskatchewan’s Healthcare System

By Iryn Tushabe

Posted: August 3, 08:00 Am


Lucy Chimera (l) and Monalisa Tembo, graduate exchange students from the University of Malawi's Kamuzu College of Nursing 

A group of Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (SCBScN) students in Swift Current recently presented the Cypress Health Region with a cheque to help purchase training equipment for the Cypress Regional Hospital in their home town.

Meaningful research that is impactful. That is Lucy Chimera’s biggest takeaway from a summer of taking classes at the University of Regina’s Faculty of Nursing as an exchange student from the southeastern African country of Malawi.

“Here research is very well documented and applied so that interventions are evidence-based,” said the graduate student from the University of Malawi’s Kamuzu College of Nursing. “And because of it,” adds Monalisa Tembo, the other exchange student from the same university, “appropriate preventative care is put in place which helps to reduce the number of complications, and admissions to hospitals.”

Both Tembo and Chimera practiced as midwives before applying to the Masters of Midwifery program at the University of Malawi in Lilongwe, that country’s capital. In their second year this year, the two students won a scholarship that would have them come to Canada and take summer classes at the University of Regina while at the same time familiarizing themselves with Saskatchewan’s healthcare system, especially the parts of it that informed their research projects.

Tembo, who is researching factors associated with mortality and severe postpartum haemorrhage, said visiting the All Nations' Healing Hospital in Fort Qu’Appelle was an eye-opening experience for her. She was amazed to learn that the hospital incorporated some First Nations healing traditions into their medical practices. She wished her country would similarly incorporate “our people’s own traditional beliefs into our medical practices,” she said, “but only the ones that aren’t harmful.”

“We used to have this cultural practice, where, after giving birth, a mother was supposed to stay indoors breastfeeding her baby and taking time for herself to heal from childbirth. But we have done away with that,” Tembo said, adding that she believed resurrecting that tradition would improve maternal and infant health outcomes. “I think people would be receptive to that.”

Chimera’s research investigates reproductive health services and sexual reproductive health rights for adolescents. She was motivated to take a deeper look into the issue following a study in Malawi that reported that adolescents were not accessing sexual reproductive health services including contraceptives and HIV testing.

“What I have found is that youths are judged by healthcare providers who call them promiscuous and this pushes the adolescents away,” Chimera said, explaining that in Malawi, children are categorized as youth from the age of 10 to 24 years old.

“Yet when they come back pregnant they’re again faced with attitudes of judgement.”

Chimera said that in her five years as a midwife on a maternity ward, the youngest mother she encountered was 13 years old.

“Girls are especially vulnerable,” she said. “They don’t always have the authority to demand that their partners be serious about contraception yet in the end they’re the ones who suffer the most and drop out of school.”

Chimera’s plan is to reach out to both young men and young women, to educate them about sexual reproductive health practices in engaging ways like fun social gatherings and social media campaigns.

“There’s an AIDS outreach program that we visited here and they go out to high schools to educate boys and girls on reproductive health issues,” Chimera said. “I think that’s an approach that can work back home.”

Both Chimera and Tembo said they’d enjoyed their research courses so much so that they hoped to become doctoral scholars, hopefully back here at the University of Regina. But for now, they are looking forward to returning home to Malawi in mid-august.

Nursing Associate Professor explains Canada’s home care to Taiwan.

By Iryn Tushabe

Posted: June 14, 11:30 Am


Associate Professor Joan Wagner is still radiant after a recent trip to Taiwan. She was invited there by Shwu-feng Tsay, Director-General, Department of Nursing and Health Care, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan

Wagner and Shwu-feng met two years earlier in Geneva at a nursing leadership conference organized by the International Council of Nurses. So when the Asia University of Asia organized an international nursing conference and asked if Shwu-feng knew of an international speaker, she thought of Wagner.

“Canada is looked at as the gold standard when it comes to healthcare so they wanted to see what Canadians are doing and what they can learn from us,” said Wagner, adding that Taiwan is in the process of revising its home health care system, which is currently a public/private partnership where government case workers assess clients’ needs and the services are delivered by private companies. In Saskatchewan home care is primarily a public system.

Speaking to home care leaders and private service providers, Wagner delivered a presentation titled: Health Care and The Aging of Canadians.

Although Canada and Taiwan are vastly different countries, the average age of their populations — 42 for Canada and 40 for Taiwan — is quite similar, Wagner said. “So our health needs aren’t too different,” she explained, adding a further similarity was the presence of Aboriginal communities.

Outside of the conference, Wagner said she spent even more time explaining to senior home care professionals in Taiwan about long term care facilities in Canada. This was quite hard for them to understand, Wagner said, because in Taiwan, the common practice is to keep the elderly in their homes as much as possible. To explain Saskatchewan’s model of long term care, she used as an example, The Meadows – Swift Current’s Long Term Care Project. It’s a recently-unveiled 225 bed long-term care facility directly linked with the Cypress Regional Hospital.

When it comes to home care though, Wagner said Canada could do better. Statistics Canada in 2012 reported that 110,000 people aged 65 and older did not receive the home care they needed. Such home care services include medication administration, changing dressings, ongoing emotional support, diabetic care, I.V therapy, and instructions to individuals and their families.

Even though Wagner teaches leadership and management courses to nursing students at the University of Regina, she worked for many years as a home care case manager as well as in long term care. 

“So I know the home care community really well,” she said.

Supporters of French-language health programs honoured

Posted: June 2, 11:30 Am


Anne Leis, President of Réseau santé en français de la Saskatchewan with Dr. david Gregory,
Dean of the Faculty of Nursing. Photo courtesy of Jeanne Dumas

The possibility of a bilingual nursing program at the University of Regina and La Cité universitaire francophone are being recognized by a provincial body.

Dr. david Gregory, Dean of the Faculty of Nursing, and La Cité universitaire francophone at the U of R, have been honoured for their contributions to the development of French-language health education programs in Saskatchewan.

The annual Réseau santé en français de la Saskatchewan Recognition Awards were presented at the organization’s annual general meeting May 25, 2017, in Saskatoon.

The awards are presented to a person or institution who have made a significant contribution to improving access to French-language health services.

More on the story:

Nursing Instructor Wins Award for Excellence in Experiential Learning

By Iryn Tushabe

Posted: June 1, 2:45 PM


Exemplary teacher, inspirational leader, and all around amazing woman. These are a few of the phrases people have used when describing Cindy Kuster Orban.

            “Her genuineness, sparkling energy, compassion, and love for working in community nursing have resulted in many of her former clinical group students describing the lasting and positive effects Cindy has had on their learning,” said Dr. Laurie Clune, an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Nursing. Clune nominated Kuster Orban for the University of Regina Teaching Award of Excellence in Experiential Learning, which is given to an individual who has displayed excellence in leadership and innovation in experiential learning for undergraduate and/or graduate students at the University of Regina and/or its Federated Colleges.

            Kuster Orban teaches a fourth year practicum course in which nursing students actively participate in community partnerships. Two years ago, in her first year teaching the course, she took the students to the North Central Community Centre, a neighbourhood near and dear to her heart because that’s where her community nursing career began thirty years before.

            “At the beginning many of my students weren’t wanting to come to North Central because they were afraid of what could happen there,” Kuster Orban said, explaining that the community gets a bad rap due to the high incidences of crime that reportedly take place there. “But I promised them that I’d try my best to give them amazing opportunities to develop their skills, and by the end they were all in love with the community.”

            That placement culminated in the students making a public presentation, to which they invited community members and local dignitaries including MLAs and city councillors. At the end of the presentation, City of Regina Mayor Michael Fougere donated an industrial-sized dishwasher to the North Central Community Centre.

            “They didn’t have a dishwasher and they feed sixty children every day,” Kuster Orban said. “So those students left a legacy.”

            Most recently, Kuster Orban and her clinical placement students have turned their attention to the university community, focusing on mental health and academic recovery through partnerships with various university programs including Counselling Services, UR International, and Student Success Centre.

            “What we really have found is that the difference nursing students can make on campus is incredible,” Kuster Orban said, adding a lot of her students’ efforts were directed at improving positive coping strategies, identifying mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety, and talking about women’s health. Last year, in a campaign to encourage women to become advocates for their own health, Kuster Orban and her students invited Elly Mayday, a New York-based plus-sized model and ovarian cancer survivor, to speak at a public education session at the University. The event was a result of a survey the clinical placement students had carried out, which found that young women weren’t being proactive in their gynecological and sexual health.

            “So this award, to me, is an honour to the students as well because they are so passionate about nursing and research and about making a difference in their communities,” Kuster Orban said. “It’s also an acknowledgement from the university that they heard and respected our voices.”

Annual Malawi Study Tour a Life-Changing Endeavour for Nursing Students

By Ashley Kilback

Posted: May 23, 12:30 PM


In 2016, 12 SCBScN Nursing Students from Regina and Saskatoon took part in the annual Malawi Study Tour with Dr. Florence Luhanga and Dr. Joan Wagner. The Malawi Study Tour is a clinical observation experience that provides nursing students with the opportunity to study cross-cultural health and nursing care in the developing world.

On Friday, April 7, a group of the students shared stories about their three-week excursion living in a hostel at the Kamuzu College of Nursing in Lilongwe, Malawi where they spent their days learning and interacting with fellow nursing students. They experienced firsthand what it is like to live in a community where resources for healthcare are limited and methods of study are vastly different.

Among the many life-changing moments they encountered, the students were inspired by the nature of compassion that exists within the Malawi healthcare system. There is a shift in perspective when resources and healthcare professionals are limited and the familial roots of a community have to come together to support and help one another in order to survive.

Meghan Lybeck, a 3rd year student on the trip, reflects on her experience, “In Malawi, midwifery is part of their nursing degree so it’s actually the nurse who delivers babies and not the doctor. There are only two midwives per nine labor rooms and that’s a huge difference. I learned that we have a greater opportunity to provide competent care and build a therapeutic relationship with our patients whereas in Malawi this is often times very difficult.”

In addition to learning about the day-to-day nature of the healthcare system, the students also reflected on how the trip taught them to see the world differently.
Presli Smith, a 4th year student on the trip, shares a newfound perspective, “It made me realize how much we take for granted including things like electricity, transportation, accessible medication, and healthcare resources. We witnessed firsthand how difficult health care is when it isn’t free and there is a lack of funding to support it. It has many negative effects on the families living in the community.”

The students had many stories to share and were extremely grateful for the opportunity to learn that they can use their knowledge and skills as nurses to help someone no matter who they are, where they live and what they are going through.

Determination Rewards Deans’ Medal Recipient

By Jarrett Crowe

Posted : May 3, 1:45 PM


As Jackie Kiew-Gaco walked across the 2015 Spring Convocation Ceremony stage in front of friends and family, she not only received her degree in nursing, but also the prestigious Deans’ Medal.

“It was really rewarding,” said Jackie. “Just to have my family there to see me receive my degree and the Deans’ Medal was a good example for them,” she added. The Deans’ Medal is awarded from both Deans of Nursing at the University of Regina (U of R) and Saskatchewan Polytechnic to a student who is successful academically, with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 80 per cent and has shown leadership and commitment in extra-curricular activities.

Proud of her accomplishment in receiving the medal, and congratulated by her classmates, she admits she is not one to “gloat” about her achievements. “Anytime you are given an award you are just kind of like I'm here to get a degree like everyone else and you don't really feel like you're doing more than others, but if felt good (to be honoured),” she said.

In 2011 Jackie was among the first group of students who enrolled in the then-new Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program (SCBScN).  She enrolled as a mature student and chose to stay and study at the Saskatoon campus. Her initial interest in nursing came under unfortunate circumstances as she visited close family members in the hospital. Those she visited included her father who passed away when she was 11 years old. “From that point of view, having family in the hospital, (I saw) the difference nurses can make,” she said.

Prior to enrolling in the nursing program, Jackie had worked as a message therapist for ten years and she and her husband had started a family. She had previously attended university to study engineering and commerce, before realizing those programs were not the right fit for her. “Life takes you on a different course sometimes and I went to school trying to figure out what I wanted to be. In the end, I was led back to nursing,” she said.

Not only did Jackie excel academically, but also in many of her volunteer efforts which included serving as an executive member of the Saskatoon Nursing Student Society, coaching athletics and instructing cultural dance. “It really represents the Deans' Medal because not only do you have to have academic (standing), but also be involved in the community and with extra-curricular activities,” she said.

Having been a student in the SCBScN program, Jackie believes the program helped prepare her and her classmates for careers in nursing through a combination of in-class and clinical experiences. “I do feel the U of R program did a good job of giving us the basics and getting us started in our careers,” she said. “Nursing is definitely one of those careers where you become an expert through experience.”

Though her circumstances were different than the majority of her classmates in the program, she has some beneficial advice to students on how to be successful. “During any extra time I had at school I would do class work because I couldn't leave everything until I got home and I did not leave homework until the last minute. If there was a deadline I always made sure to complete the assignment two or three days before just in case other things came up,” she said.

Currently, Jackie is working at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon as a medical nurse. In the future, she is interested working with children once she feels she has further experience. “I'm thinking that I will love to be a pediatric nurse and work with pediatrics and families,” she said.

Faculty of Nursing SCBScN Program Recognized For Meeting National Standards of Excellence by Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing

By Ashley Kilback

Posted: April 12, 11:00 AM


The SCBScN program has been an integral part of enhancing the quality of education for nursing students and it is with great honor to announce that the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) has recognized it for meeting national standards of excellence in nursing education. Initially, the SCBScN program received Path A (no graduates) accreditation in 2014 but that has since changed to Path B (graduates from program) in June 2016 where it received the maximum accreditation of 7 years.

Joint celebrations were held at University of Regina and Sask Polytechnic. On November 2, 2016, the SCBScN celebrated the monumental achievement at the University of Regina Atrium of the Research and Innovation Center. The attendees were University of Regina, Faculty of Nursing, Sask Polytechnic and SCBScN faculty and staff.  The event started by honored guest speakers that brought congratulations, from; Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina who stated “how proud she was of the successful collaboration between the two educational institutions”. Dr. Larry Rosia, President and CEO of Sask Polytechnic, Dr. david Gregory, Dean, Faculty of Nursing, University of Regina and Dr. Netha Dyck, Dean, School of Nursing, Sask Polytechnic also spoke at the event.

The second celebration was held in Saskatoon at Sask Polytechnic which included the faculty and staff from the University of Regina, Sask Polytechnic and SCBScN Saskatoon site. Dr. Larry Rosia, President and CEO of Sask Polytechnic recognized the “hard work of the staff and faculty to achieve this great accomplishment”. Dr.  david Gregory, Dean, Faculty of Nursing, University of Regina; and Dr. Netha Dyck, Dean, School of Nursing, Sask Polytechnic also spoke at the event in Saskatoon.

After the speeches, SCBScN faculty and staff’s contribution, commitment and hard work were recognized with a copper business card holder. Copper is a symbolic material that represented the 7-year accreditation awarded to the SCBScN program by CASN. The card holders’ tree design represents the conceptual framework of the SCBScN program.

NURIP cultivating a passion for research

By Iryn Tushabe

Posted: April 6, 2017 10:45 a.m.


Left to Right: Chelsea Runquist, Qilei Ai, Tiffany Klemack, Emily Rohde and Dr. Ann-Marie Urban

When nursing student Tiffany Klemack applied to the Nursing Undergraduate Research Internship Program (NURIP) last year, she was looking for an enriching summer job to add to her resume. But she didn’t count on it also being exciting.

“You learn so much about nursing beyond the hospital and form important connections with different healthcare professionals,” Klemack said. “When I was taking CNUR 300 Family Health this fall, I noticed that I had the privilege, during my NURIP internship, of meeting and talking to Dr. Colleen Varcoe, one of the authors of a chapter in my textbook, Family Health Care Nursing: Theory, Practice, and Research (Kaakinen, Coehlo, Steele, Tabacco, & Hanson, 2015).”

The internship program employs undergraduate nursing students from May to August each year, and pairs them with faculty members who are doing research.

“They learn how to do literature reviews, article writing, maybe even do some focus groups if the research they’re paired with requires it,” said Associate Dean (Student Affairs) Professor Karen Eisler, who is leading NURIP this year alongside Faculty of Nursing Dean, david Gregory. “So they get to learn hands-on what nursing research is going on in the faculty right now.”

Applicants to the internship program must first complete the class CNUR 209 Nursing Research Methods, which introduces them to both quantitative and qualitative research in the practice of nursing, a variety of research methodologies and research based literature and the implications for nursing practice.

“So the program brings concepts that they learned in that class to life, as well as advancing the nursing research being done now in our faculty.”

Emily Rohde, another student who participated in NURIP last summer, said she appreciated being treated as a research professional.

“Everyone at the Faculty of Nursing treat you like a part of the team,” Rohde said, adding that her experience as a student researcher was further enhanced by the camaraderie she shared with the three other interns in the program.

While she’s currently unsure whether she will go on to pursue a Master or PhD in Nursing, Rohde said a career in nursing research no longer intimidated her. “I now understand what it entails and by all means it does not seem unattainable anymore.”

Even though their NURIP positions concluded in August, both Klemack and Rohde said they were still assisting, casually, in various ongoing research projects inside the faculty.

The 2017 NURIP participants have been selected. Applications for next year’s placement will be accepted through the University of Regina Career Opportunities next March.

To learn more about NURIP, visit:

U of R Nursing instructor researches Thrombophilia treatments at home

By Iryn Tushabe

Posted: April 6, 2017 10:15 a.m

red blood cell

A University of Regina Nursing instructor is at the helm of a program that could change the lives of thrombophilia sufferers in Saskatchewan's rural communities.

Thrombophilia is an abnormality which increases the propensity for blood to form clots inside blood vessels. The condition is usually treated with a blood-thinning drug called warfarin, lev­els of which in the blood need to be monitored regularly to ensure it's not thinning the blood too much or too little, says Craig Eling, who is also a Paediatric Hematology Nursing Practitioner with the Hematology Clinic at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.

To check the warfarin levels, a sizeable blood sample has to be drawn directly from a patient's vein and sent to a lab.

"The unfortunate thing with this blood test is that it requires a lot of blood and the problem is the needle has to go right into the vein because we need the free flowing blood. So if it starts clot­ting or runs slow or stops half way through that sample, it usually has to be thrown out and we have to start again," Eling says.

"It's no big deal with adults but when we are dealing with kids , their veins can be harder to find and, of course, needles and kids don't go very well together."

An alternative method of testing a patient's warfarin levels exists, which works in much the same way diabetics test their blood sugar levels at home. It's the difference between a small poke to the finger and insertion of a needle into the vein.

Eling says patients would be provided with the Glucometer-like machine, which they would use to read their blood levels at home, call their readings into the hematology clinic and be told by an expert whether the levels are okay or not, in which case their warfarin doses would be adjusted accordingly.

"The intention is that this program will make it easier on these families who are further away from a major centre and on children in general by getting them away from those needles and labs," he explains.

Eling just returned from British Columbia where he observed how a similar program has been implemented in that province. He says his visit confirmed what he already knew from reading studies about the home testing program conducted in the United States and in Canada - that pa­tient and family satisfaction is high.

Eling is in the process of writing a proposal for government funding to help kickstart the pro­gram in Saskatchewan, which he says will be most beneficial for patients living in the province's rural areas.

"If we are talking about a kid who lives in an isolated area or a farm, getting into town to go to the doctor's office or a lab is a disruption to their lives - they are missing school, parents could be missing work," he explains.

"This program would mean so much for those families."

Nursing student group brings ladyballs campaign to Regina.

By Iryn Tushabe

Posted: April 6, 2017 09:15 a.m.


Lower back pain, stomach bloating, frequenting the washroom and feeling full on an empty stomach. These were some of the most outstanding symptoms that prompted international model Elly Mayday to visit her doctor three years ago. She was prescribed painkillers and instructed to exercise.

“The doctor assumed I had a cyst and they said working out would strengthen my core and reduce the pain,” Said Mayday on March 23 following a public presentation she delivered at the university of Regina as part of Ovarian Cancer Canada’s Ladyballs campaign which aims to raise awareness of the fatality and prevalence of ovarian cancer in women of all ages.

Mayday exercised and even lost 30 lbs but the pain still came in waves. So she quit her flight attendant job and insisted that doctors take her seriously.

They did.

A laparoscopic biopsy revealed she had stage three ovarian cancer.

“It’s traumatic,” she said of the lateness of her diagnosis. “You feel very undermined.”

Mayday believes doctors didn’t take her seriously because at 25 years old, she was young for an ovarian cancer diagnosis.

Because she had been modelling part time, Mayday decided to use that platform to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and to share her experience with others. Her photos and her story went viral on the Internet with many commending her for the positive body image she exuded. Before long, she was signed up by a modelling agency in New York  City.

Nowadays, Mayday, originally from Aylesbury, Saskatchewan, travels around the world encouraging women to be their own advocates when it comes to ovarian cancer.

“If I hadn’t followed my instincts and stood up for myself, I would be dead by now,” she said, adding Ovarian Cancer is difficult to detect and women need to insist that relevant tests be done if they suspect they have symptoms like she had.

Mayday’s University of Regina presentation was facilitated by a group of fourth year nursing students called UR Peers Helping Peers — the first such nursing student community placement on campus.

Throughout the fall and winter semesters, the students, under the leadership of Faculty of Nursing instructor Cindy Kuster Orban, have been involved in various health-related projects on campus including delivering mental health workshops to students, especially those on academic probation.

The group, made up of seven soon-to-graduate students, also worked with student leaders in campus residence and delivered presentations to fellow students about such subjects as the importance of regular pap smears.

Inviting Mayday was also their idea.

“We had a Skype date with her and learnt what we can do better as nursing professionals regarding ovarian cancer,” said Brittany Guenzel, a member of the UR Peers Helping Peers.

“But we wanted other students to also have the opportunity to hear Elly’s story.”

The presentation was very well attended, attracting members of the general Regina public to the the university.

Mayday said everyday five women are diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in Canada.

“If you are feeling the same symptoms I had, you can say to your doctor ‘I know a girl who was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer at 25,’” she said, adding that it is also helpful if people can document their symptoms and know their family history.

Faculty of Nursing Honours First Graduating Class of the CNPP

By Ashley Kilback

Posted: February 27, 2017 


The Faculty of Nursing celebrated an exciting milestone as the first graduating class for the Collaborative Nurse Practitioner Program (CNPP) took the stage at the Conexus Arts Centre at the Fall 2016 convocation to receive their official NP designation presented by Dr. Glenn Donnelly, Associate Dean (Graduate), Faculty of Nursing, University of Regina and Dr. Netha Dyck, Dean, School of Nursing, Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

The Honorable Bronwyn Eyre, Minister of Advanced Educated, was also in attendance to provide well wishes for the graduates. “These are courageous women who have gone through this training while raising families. As a mother, I understand how big of a commitment that is. We [as the government] are very proud and hope they continue to stay within our province.”

CNPP was launched in 2014 as a collaborative initiative between the University of Regina and Saskatchewan Polytechnic to provide an online Nurse Practitioner Program. The program has since expanded into full-time and part-time courses.

This year’s graduating class was a tight-knit group of six individuals who came together from across the province to celebrate their achievements with members of the faculty, family and friends.

Dr. Glenn Donnelly, Associate Dean (Graduate) and Joyce Bruce, Program Head for the School of Nursing have worked hard to make this program possible, and they couldn’t be happier to celebrate the success it has created.  Dr. Donnelly said “It’s a shared responsibility between students and faculty to lead, teach and promote health education.  You (graduates) will fill a growing need for patient access in the health care system and will continue to improve health care in our communities.  Be proud of your academic accomplishments and being the first (CNPP) Nurse Practitioner graduates.”

The CNPP provides many opportunities for career development for students who are committed to moving forward. Diana Ashfield shares her experience as a recent CNPP graduate, “It was fantastic. There were times when it was overwhelming but it’s important to persevere. As an RN, I had always felt like I needed to do more for my patients and now I can and that’s so exciting.”

The structure of the CNPP itself is designed to ensure that students are provided with the proper guidance they need while taking an online course. As a former student, Kim Veronneau shares how the program helped her succeed, “The program is very structured but what helped me the most was the teachers. They are personable and accessible when it comes to providing you with the help you need.”

The implementation of collaborative initiatives is what makes the Faculty of Nursing a strong educational platform for its students. The success of the CNPP is just another step toward enhancing our health care for the future.

Nursing and social work are sharing space at U of R Campus in Saskatoon

Posted: November 22, 2016 11:15 a.m.

Dr. Thomas Chase, U of R Vice President (Academic), meets with faculty and staff from the faculties of nursing and social work at the grand opening of shared space in Saskatoon.

Dr. Thomas Chase, U of R Vice President (Academic), meets with faculty and staff from the faculties of nursing and social work at the grand opening of shared space in Saskatoon. Photo courtesy of Faculty of Nursing

The University of Regina’s faculties of nursing and social work are getting together in Saskatoon.

The two faculties now are sharing space at Innovation Place. The official grand opening was held on Friday, November 18.

Both faculties will benefit from this new relationship, including opportunities for collaborative research, as well as possible financial savings. The move helps to lower costs by providing a better utilization of resources, specifically space, staff and technology.

There are about 550 nursing students enrolled in the Saskatchewan Collaberative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (SCBScN) Program in Saskatoon, offered by the U of R in partnership with the Saskatchewan Polytechnic. This move means students are able to meet with their professors at either Sask Polytechnic or in the new space at Innovation Place. Eight faculty members have offices in this new space which provides more space and more privacy.

The U of R has offered classes in social work in Saskatoon since 1974. The faculty of social work has about 290 students enrolled at the Saskatoon Campus. For social work students, relocating to the Concourse Building means larger classrooms and a separate computer lab to support the master’s program.

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Nursing Instructor Honoured

Posted: November 18, 2016 11:00 a.m.

Cindy Kuster Orban, named as an Outstanding Individual Volunteer for her work with the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan. 

“After I lost my mom to this devastating disease my grief led me to a path to become an advocate for disease,” she explains.

Kuster Orban is chair for the Silent Auction Committee for the annual gala, held every October.

“In addition, I have a jewellery company called Allicious Designs, and I design and create every piece. Ten per cent of all of my jewellery sales are gifted to the Alzheimer Society for research purposes in honour of my Mom, who faced Alzheimer's Disease with dignity and grace.”

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International conference for PhD nursing students

By Dale Johnson

Posted: June 17, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Nursing dean Dr. david Gregory welcomes delegates to the Doctoral Nursing Network Conference at the U of R.Photo: U of R Photography

The University of Regina’s Faculty of Nursing recently hosted the Canadian Doctoral Nursing Network Conference for the third consecutive year.

There were 26 PhD students, and they came from across Canada – British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland – as well as the United States (Tennessee and Florida) and Iran.

Holding this event showcases the University of Regina to the broader academic community across Canada and beyond.

“It gives our own professors an opportunity to share and exchange ideas with other scholars,” explains the Associate Dean (Graduate) of Nursing, Dr. Glenn Donnelly.  

Keynote speakers were Dr. Colleen Varcoe from the University of British Columbia and Dr. Alex Clark from University of Alberta.

“The keynote speakers provide inspiration to junior faculty members and conference participants to complete their PhDs,” Donnelly says.   

Nurses who earn their PhDs typically go on to “act as researchers in the health care system” says Donnelly. “They advance the discipline of nursing. They can do research within the health care system which makes it more efficient and a higher quality.”

He says the conference “provides students the opportunity to present their dissertation work, and bring together students engaged in doctoral research for networking, scholarly discussion and learning opportunities.”

“It showcases not only Regina, but Saskatchewan; we can highlight our opportunities here, as well as our wonderful city and province,” he adds.

Work will soon begin on planning next year’s conference, which is becoming a key event for the Faculty of Nursing.

More in this conference:

Nursing students Video explains Surgery to Kids

By: Iryn Tushabe

Posted date: September, 2015

SCBScN Nursing student Emily Stewart has created a video that will help Regina QuAppelle Health Regions younger patients know what to expect when they visit the hospital for surgical procedures.

Stewart made the video as part of a 4th year inter-professional class, which requires students to collaborate with healthcare providers other than nurses to develop a quality improvement project.

"I was invited to a meeting with a child life specialist on the childrens ward and she was looking for information on what kids experience when they go for surgery",says Stewart

"She wanted some pictures and information so that when kids were on the children’s unit who were going to be going through some surgery, she could use it to do some teaching to help them know what to expect"

While Tegan Webber, RQHR’s child life specialist, originally envisioned something like a flip chart book, she also happened to mention that a video would be great but probably too time-consuming.

“I said no. Let’s do the video,” Stewart recalls.

Stewart wrote a script, which was shot by the health region’s medical media services. Filmed over the summer, the video stars a puppet named Rosie as the patient with the children of some hospital staff, including Stewart’s own seven-year-old daughter, acting as healthcare providers. The video takes viewers on a tour of what happens from the moment a child leaves their parents through to when they wake up in the recovery room, explaining every step along the way with a child’s voiceover.

Webber describes the video as outstanding.

“It was above and beyond what I could have dreamed of,” she explains.

The video has been uploaded to the Health Region’s YouTube Channel where it can be viewed by pediatric patients and their parents in the comfort of their own homes. DVDs of it are also handed out to parents who may have no Internet access.Webber says she intends to collaborate with medical media services to make more videos in the Rosie series, to help explain radiology procedures like MRIs and CT scans.

For Stewart, it is affirming to be the one who kick-started the video series.

“It’s really encouraging to know that anyone can make a different. It’s just about taking the initiative,” she says.

The video was Stewart’s graduating project and she started her new job on the Regina General Hospital’s Cardiac Surveillance Unit in September.

Fostering Research Knowledge and Skills: Nursing 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.

May 19 to August 14, 2015

A summer research internship program for undergraduate nursing students who are interested in research and the devolpment 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). Interns will also work with an interdisciplinary team of researchers (medical, pharmacy and nutrition students) of researchers from the RQHR. 

The Challenging Reality of Caring for Residents in Long-Term Care Facilities

Posted: December 1, 2015


This paper was submitted to the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses' Association as part of the requirements for CNUR 400: Social, Political and Economic Perspectives in Nursing in the Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (SCBScN) program by Jelea Tyndall, Nursing Student; Leslie Buschow, Nursing Student; Shelbie Babyak, Nursing Student; Melissa Bishop, Nursing Student and Ann-Marie Urban, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Regina.  For the full newsletter click here:

By Dale Johnson

Posted: November 20, 2015 

david Gregory

Nursing Dean Dr. david Gregory is being recognized for the promotion of health science.
Photo courtesy of U or R Photography.

The University of Regina’s Dean of Nursing has been named a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences for demonstrated leadership, creativity, distinctive competencies and a commitment to advance academic health science.

“I was surprised – and then delighted to learn of this honour. It will be a real privilege to serve as a Fellow in the Academy,” says Dr. david Gregory, who was honoured recently at a ceremony in Ottawa.

“I look forward to working with an amazing cadre of experts and leaders who are committed to advancing the health and well-being of Canadians, of patients, and of the health care system,” says Dean Gregory.

During his career, Dr. Gregory has worked to promote the education of Aboriginal nurses at the provincial and national levels. He has also worked to foster the establishment and provision of primary health care within Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and across Canada.

“As a Fellow, I take great pride in the fact that I am a professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Regina. Saskatchewan has an illustrious history of leading the way with respect to health care – including the birth of universal health care coverage for Canadians.”

The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) works in partnership with the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Engineering to form the three Member Academies of the Council of Canadian Academies. The Academy recognizes the full breadth of academic health science ranging from fundamental science to social science and population health.

The University of Regina has just one other Fellow in the CAHS, Dr. Thomas Hadjistavropoulos in Psychology.

“I am most greatful for the opportunity to bring the sum total of my experiences (nursing, research, and scholarship) and health-related knowledge to the Academy table. This is a chance for me to ‘give back’ to Canadians for all of the support and opportunities accorded to me during my career,” Dr. Gregory says.

Dale's story:

Unique Nursing Deans' Medal Designed For Students, by a Student

Written by Jarrett Crowe

Posted: November 18, 2015

Denise Smith

Denise Smith, Master of Fine Arts student holding a Nursing Deans' Medal

When the Deans' Medal in Nursing is awarded to a chosen student at convocation, they each receive a unique piece of art. 

The Deans' Medal was designed by Faculty of Fine Arts graduate student Denise Smith, to be given on behalf of the Deans of Nursing at the University of Regina (U of R) and Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

The ceramic medal features the fire-lit nursing lamp as the central element, with wheat sheafs located on top of the lamp, western-prairie lilies at the forefront and lightly clouded blue sky as the background.

The medal is first individually casted from a mold before being detailed by hand to bring out its features. It is then painted and placed in a shadowbox for display.

Smith had sketched three designs for the final medal, each of which drew inspiration for the medal by utilizing symbols from Saskatchewan, which she admitted there were plenty to incorporate, especially as someone who comes from Ontario.

“Not being from Saskatchewan, there's certain things I've picked up on as iconographic...I tried to think of ways creatively to use them together to create this central image,” said Smith.

The importance of the lamp comes from Florence Nightingale: “the Lady with the Lamp.” She is credited as the founder of modern nursing who came to prominence for tending to wounded soldiers in the Crimean War, making her rounds with a fire-lit lamp.

“In all of my designs the lamp was central because it really is a nursing award,” said Smith.

The vision for the medal that is representative of nursing and the province was imagined by U of R Dean of Nursing david Gregory.

“We wanted to do something that would be innovative and creative...we wanted to do something unconventional,” said Gregory.

“We didn't want an everyday trophy look – we wanted something unique to nursing.”

For a student to receive the award, they not only need to be successful academically, with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 80 per cent, but also show leadership and commitment in extra-curricular activities.

The convocating class of spring 2015 featured the first group of students who enrolled in 2011 in the then-new Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program (SCBScN).

Dean Gregory inquired within the Faculty of Fine Arts to have a student design and create the medal to be first awarded at the spring convocation.

“She's created something, a gold medal for the Faculty of Nursing and the University of Regina which is absolutely unique,” said Gregory.

Dean Gregory admired the finished medal as a possible family keepsake that is representative of both the university and the province.

“Her work will be treasured and valued by many generations of graduates from our program,” said Gregory.

At the spring 2015 convocation, Jackie Kiew-Gaco was the first recipient of the award from the first group of students who enrolled in the program in 2011.

After receiving the award, Kiew-Gaco said she was pleasantly surprised at the design on the crafted medal and it is something she can hang up on her wall to showcase her accomplishments.

“For them to take the time to customize and craft the medal, it meant even more for them to do that than to hand over piece (from a catalogue),” said Kiew-Gaco.

Meeting the growing demands of nursing

Written by Iryn Tushabe  Posted: November 4, 2015


Over the past four years, enrolment in the Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (SCBScN) has climbed to capacity. Faculty of Nursing Dean Gregory attributes the growing interest in the nursing profession to an anticipated nursing shortage.

“The demographics of the nursing profession are clear – we have a large population of older nurses working,” says Dr. Gregory.

“It really is a matter of time before this cohort reaches retirement age and individuals then decide to leave the labour force.”

The Faculty of Nursing continues to respond to increasing student demand by welcoming new faculty members to its tenure-track fold.  

Three of the nine new tenure-track faculty hires, Dr. Shauna Davies, Kari Greenwood, and Jennifer Kramer, previously held term positions and have now been hired as instructors. All three have offices at the Regina Campus.

With the exception of Dr. Karen Eisler and Dr. Abigail Wickson-Griffiths who are also stationed in Regina, the rest of the new tenure-track hires are situated at the Saskatoon campus and include Elise Matthews, Janine Brown, Craig Eling, and Dominique Singh.

Janine Brown has a Master of Science in Nursing from Norwich University where she graduated Cum Laude. Her research interests lie in identifying and describing interventions nurses can use most effectively to influence positive outcomes for individuals undergoing weight loss surgery. Brown will be conducting courses in Practice Education: Community Partnerships, Health Promotion with Senior Adults, Introduction to Health Assessment and Leading and Influencing Change. Brown looks forward to the opportunity to inspire students to be kind, compassionate, competent RNs for the people of Saskatchewan and beyond. For more information about Brown, visit her webpage:

Dr. Karen Eisler spent the last six years as the executive director of the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association – the professional regulatory body for all RNs in the province. Her research interests lie in team functioning in health care settings and how that impacts patient outcomes. As an assistant professor, she will be teaching courses in Leadership and Influencing Change and Social, Political and Economic Perspectives in Nursing. Eisler is looking forward to her first online teaching experience. For more information about her, visit her web page:

Craig Eling has a Master of Nursing from the University of Toronto and is a Paediatric Nurse Practitioner. Since 2008, he has been working as a registered Nurse on the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Royal University Hospital where he’s tasked with stabilizing, managing and transporting critically ill children throughout Saskatchewan back to the PICU. As a level III instructor, Eling will be lecturing a course in Advanced Acute Care Partnerships and teaching a lab in Alterations in Health and Advanced Assessment. He looks forward to interacting with future generations of nurses and advocating for students to consider advancing their careers to become nurse practitioners. More information about Eling can be found on his webpage:

Elise Matthews is a doctoral candidate at the University of Saskatchewan and is currently writing her dissertation based on research she conducted exploring reproductive decision-making experiences among adult women and men who have experienced childhood maltreatment. As an assistant professor, she will be teaching courses in, among others, Family Health and Research Methods. Matthews looks forward to promoting and supporting involvement of SCBScN students in research projects. For more information about Matthews, visit her webpage:

Dominique Singh has a Master of Science in Health Science and is a Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP). She is currently involved in clinical research trials in women’s health. Her thesis in partial fulfillment of her Master’s degree explored the role of the clinical coordinator as a member of the research team. Other research interests include pregnancy and exercise.  Most recently, Singh has been a clinical instructor at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. As a level III instructor, she will be teaching courses in Alterations in Health and Advanced Assessment, Family and Newborn Partnerships, and Focused Practice. Singh looks forward to watching students evolve throughout the SCBScN program, as well as meeting and learning from both fellow faculty and students. More information about her can be found on her webpage:

Dr. Abigail Wickson-Griffiths was most recently a postdoctoral fellow at McMaster University after successfully completing her dissertation: The Palliative and Therapeutic Harmonization Program in the Long-Term Care Home Setting at the same university. She’s also interested in research around dementia care, Palliative and end-of-life care as well as advanced practice nursing. This fall, she’s teaching courses in Practice Education: Community partnerships, and Foundations of Care. Wickson-Griffiths is looking forward to being involved in the nursing community at the University of Regina through teaching, research and community service. For more information about Wickson-Griffiths, visit her webpage:

Understanding dialysis in the home

Written by Iryn Tushabe  Posted: October 28, 2015

Large Kidney

There’s a growing movement towards the use of home dialysis but a lot remains to be known about how carrying out dialysis treatment at home changes family dynamics.

Faculty of Nursing associate professor Dr. Laurie Clune and recent nursing student graduate Darlene Domshy are in the early stages of a proposed study that will look at the changes that come along with the introduction of dialysis equipment into the homes of Saskatchewan residents.

“We do know that there’s a push in healthcare to move chronic medical treatments like dialysis into the home and some of the literature supports the shift as patients really enjoy the ease and convenience of having the procedure done in the comfort of their own homes,” says Dr. Clune.
“As healthcare professionals we really don’t understand all that the patients and their families go through in getting this treatment in their home and how their environment shifts when medical technology comes into the home.”

Dr. Clune says home dialysis is increasingly becoming popular, including within the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR). She believes a Saskatchewan- specific study is important given the province’s unique geographic vastness and dispersed population.

Domshy and Dr. Clune have worked together on several projects. For this study, Domshy, a NURIP intern, helped prepare all the necessary material required to move the project forward for ethical clearance, including reviewing existing literature and consulting a RQHR dialysis expert.

The study will combine patients’ interviews with photos take by the patients themselves to better illustrate the changes happening in their lives as they transition to carrying out dialysis treatments in their homes.
For Domshy, who has a background in anthropology, photo elicitation is the best way to go about this study as it gives the patients a tangible way to share their experiences with healthcare providers.

“We are looking to directly involve the people who are affected by the home dialysis experience as we get their perspectives,” says Domshy.

“This is a great way to understand the barriers and the ultimate goal is to improve home dialysis for better healthcare.”

Dr. Clune says she hopes the study will lead to findings that can apply to home treatments for other chronic conditions, like patients on ventilators or those receiving intravenous pain medications at home.

“I’m hoping it will lead to a more effective use of the home environment as a place where technologically enhanced care is provided to keep patients out of hospital,” Dr. Clune says.

Dr. Clune’s and Domshy’s partnership for this study was made possible by the Nursing Undergraduate Research Internship Program (NURIP), an initiative that pairs undergraduate nursing students interested in research with seasoned researchers in the faculty to help develop the students’ research skills through hands on internship experience.

Research project assess effectiveness of an online leadership course

Written by Iryn Tushabe  Posted: September 21, 2015

Celeste Okamason

A research project underway at the University of Regina’s Faculty of Nursing is seeking to change the way nursing leadership courses are delivered online.

Dr. Joan Wagner teaches CNUR 301 Leadership and Influencing Change, a web delivered course to second year nursing students. She is currently involved in a quest to answer the question: Are we graduating nurses who are relational leaders?

Wagner defines relational leaders as nursing professionals who not only listen to their staff but also act on concerns raised.

Based on a study by University of Alberta professor Dr. Greta Cummings, Wagner says relational leadership is key to creating a productive work environment and happy staff.

“Look at our nurses who are working at a patient’s bedside as leaders. They see an issue of concern and they work to address it,” says Wagner.

While leadership skills aren’t necessarily hard for students to learn, for Wagner the challenge lies in imparting them through a course taught primarily online.

She adds the reason the course is delivered online is to allow students the flexibility of taking it during their clinical placements. This arrangement enables the students to apply the skills as they acquire them, she explains.

“When you have a face-to-face conversation with somebody, it’s more likely they’ll hear what you are saying because you can explain and clarify and they can interpret it in their own ways of looking at the world,” Wagner says.

“But is that happening in an online course?”

To answer that question, Wagner and her research assistant, third year nursing student Kiyomi Gibney, are reviewing data compiled from students’ discussion threads in response to questions posed to them as part of the leadership course.

For Gibney, the experience has been as exciting as it has been educational.

“It’s a lot of work but it’s a step-by-step process that Joan has taught me; to take huge volumes of articles and to narrow it down so as to apply it to what we are doing,” Gibney explains.

“Research is such a huge part of nursing and it is very exciting to be this immersed in it.”

Gibney was hired through the Nursing Undergraduate Research Internship Program (NURIP).

In its first year, the program is open to undergraduate nursing students who are interested in research.

The NURIP students are mentored by faculty members throughout spring and summer through direct involvement in research projects. In addition, these interns are supported by research seminars, podcasts, and online webinars

“If Kiyomi is around long enough she may have the good fortune of being a co-author in the first paper,” Says Wagner, adding she hopes to have initial findings published in about a year following qualitative analysis by the research team (Drs. Wagner, Luhanga, and Gregory.)

For Gibney, NURIP has reaffirmed her interest in the field of research and academia.

“It has been a really great opportunity to work with someone who’s really established and passionate about her field of work, and I have taken away so much,” says Gibney.

Second Canadian Doctoral Nursing Network Conference an unqualified success 

Written by Iryn Tushabe  Posted: July 15, 2015

Dr. Sally Thorne, from UBC Keynote What Can Interpretive Research from a Nursing Disciplinary Perspective

How might I provide nursing care to a pregnant woman who I see using substances if I knew a bit more about her life and her experiences? 

That is the essence of Jodie Bigalky’s proposed research - A Narrative Inquiry into the Stories of Addicted Pregnant Women.

“The research tells us that we have increased rates of perinatal morbidity and mortality when a woman uses alcohol and drugs during pregnancy,” said Bigalky, a special case doctoral student in the University of Regina’s Faculty of Nursing.

“What we don’t know is that particular woman’s experience - that woman has a life behind her substance use.”

Bigalky was one of 26 PhD students from across Canada and the United States who presented their proposed dissertations at the Canadian Doctoral Nursing Network Conference held at the University of Regina last week.

Now in its second year, the conference brings together doctoral students to allow them to share their dissertation work with each other and receive peer support, mentorship and constructive criticism from experienced researchers.

“Being a PhD student can be a lonely journey,” said University of Regina Provost, Dr. Thomas Chase.

“And having an opportunity to connect with others who are in the same place, as well as inviting special guests who will support and mentor them, is important.”

Students from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New York, Rhode Island, Arizona, and Tennessee made presentations about an array of subjects ranging from the concerns around hypertension in Southeast Asians to the daily stresses of being a registered nurse.

For Biglaky, a doctoral student in the U of R’s Faculty of Nursing, the conference presented a much needed networking opportunity. 

It also gave her a glimpse at some of the challenges she might encounter down the road and equipped her with some ideas as to how she might tackle them.

“We have those successes and we have those challenges, too, so it’s nice to know how other PhD students have navigated those,” she said.

Bigalky’s research is informed by her own experiences as a registered nurse with a clinical background in maternal newborn health.

She hopes her research into the stories and experiences of pregnant women who suffer from substance use disorders will help change some of the ways in which health professionals engage them, as well as how these pregnant women are viewed in society. 

Biglalky is looking forward to the third Doctoral Nursing Network Conference next year where she will provide an update on her research.

Largest class yet of nursing students graduates

Written by Iryn Tushabe Posted: June 15, 2015


The recently concluded Spring Convocation saw 170 students graduate from the Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (SCBScN). While this was not the first group of students to graduate from the program – offered in partnership between Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the University of Regina – it was by far the largest.

“That is very big news for us,” said Faculty of Nursing professor and dean, Dr. david Gregory, of the program which started in 2011. “It’s surprising how quickly four years passed. It seemed so far away and yet we now have graduates and the reality of convocation has come true.” The majority of SCBScN program's graduates will practice within the healthcare sector, including acute and long term care. A smaller percentage of them accept nursing positions in the community and in public health.

Knowing there is a new group of nurse professionals entering the work force is especially thrilling for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health’s Chief Nursing Officer, Mary Martin-Smith. “They are the future of health care in the province and will be making valuable contributions as part of the largest group of health professionals in the province,” said Martin-Smith. “Their contribution to good quality and safe care will be critical as they enter into the workforce and continue to make lifelong contributions.”

Last August, 54 students graduated through the SCBScN program’s accelerated option. The students were able to complete their degree requirements in three calendar years by taking summer classes, successfully trimming a year off their Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degrees. An additional 35 students had completed their degree requirements by December last year as fast trackers. These students finished their program in 3.5 calendar years. According to Gregory, being able to graduate nurses at different times benefits the healthcare system as well as the nursing students themselves. “It allows students to access the clinical context at a time of year when the demand is less,” said Gregory, adding students in the accelerated program benefit from doing their clinical placements in the summer months as opposed to September or January when the demand for those spots is much greater. The accelerated option started off small but student interest in the program continues to grow.

There are currently 300 nursing students taking summer classes. Nursing is currently the 5th largest faculty at the University of Regina with about 345 students enrolling every year. An initiative currently underway will fill seats that had been vacated through attrition.

The faculty’s newest initiative the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Exit option will further increase enrolment in the accelerated option. Beginning this fall, graduates of Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Practical Nursing Diploma Program (Since 2008) and Practical Nurse graduates from Saskatchewan Polytechnic (Since 2003) will have a chance to acquire a nursing degree in a period of two calendar years or six semesters. 

“All of the evidence suggests that there is a nursing shortage unfolding,” said Gregory, adding the solution lies in creating more education opportunities for registered nurses. “And the two provider model does just that,” he said, explaining between the SCBScN program (University of Regina/Saskatchewan Polytechnic) and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program (BSN) at the University of Saskatchewan, there are 390 annual seats for nursing education in the province.