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2015 News

Nursing students Video explains Surgery to Kids

By: Iryn Tushabe

Posted date: September, 2015 9:00 AM

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

NURIP studentents 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 10:00 AM

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.