Phased return to in-person learning begins February 7. Learn More.


Nurse practitioners gaining ground in healthcare across Canada.

By Iryn Tushabe

Posted: December 15th, 2020


Brittany Tait didn’t always want to be a nurse; the sight of blood freaked her out. But a career in healthcare was appealing, and so, for a while, she worked in a pharmacy. “I enjoyed the work and I was really learning a lot about medications,” Tait says, “But I realized that I was looking for more of a hands-on approach to patient care.”

Brittany Tait So in 2011, when the University of Regina launched the Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (SCBScN) — a four year nursing degree offered in collaboration with Saskatchewan Polytechnic — Tait was among the first students to apply. So keen was she to graduate that she completed the degree requirements in three calendar years (by taking summer classes) successfully trimming a year off her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree.

“I had realized by then that the benefits of helping people outweigh the discomfort and grossness you sometimes have to deal with on the job,” says the registered nurse who currently works in the medicine unit at Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital in Moose Jaw.

At the same time, because of her deep interest in medicine and diagnosis, Tait is also working on becoming a Nurse Practitioner (NP). She’s enrolled in the Collaborative Nurse Practitioner Program (CNPP), a graduate level program offered through a joint partnership between Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the University of Regina.

“It’s quite heavy,” says Tait, who has recently completed a pharmacy practicum as part of the masters level program, which requires students to complete a total of 702 clinical practical education hours under the supervision of a qualified nurse practitioner preceptor. “But the nice thing about the program is that it two to four years,” explains Tait who hopes to power through her Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) degree the same way she did the undergrad SCBScN program.

According to Dr. Joan Wagner, there aren’t many nurse practitioners out there, but the field is quickly gaining acceptance across Canada. The CNPP is always oversubscribed, says
Dr. Wagner, an associate professor and the Associate Dean of Nursing (Graduate Programs and Research). Forty eight NPs have graduated since the program’s inception in 2016. Wagner believes that because they are registered nurses who also possess advanced-level diagnostic and treatment skills, NPs are well-suited to a province like Saskatchewan with its many rural and remote communities.

“They can prescribe medication for most conditions,” Wagner explains, adding that nurse practitioners have the benefit of working in consultation with physicians when necessary.

Nurse Practitioners, she says, provide care in community settings such as primary care clinics, nursing stations, long term care facilities and in health care teams. They are authorized to perform advanced health assessments, diagnose health problems, order diagnostic tests and prescribe medications.

About four decades ago when she worked at the University of Alberta, Wagner had the opportunity to carry out research on the work of nurse practitioners in Canada. At the time, she says, NP programs were disappearing. “Doctors were reluctant to have nurses prescribe medications and perform other advanced practice procedures,” she explains. There was a lack of governmental support, and only a few NP programs remained, such as Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

As part of her research, Wagner flew across Northern Canada talking to NPs about their work and assessing their skillsets.

“In the nursing stations I visited,” Wagner recalls, “I discovered that NPs played absolutely vital roles.”

One of the nursing stations she visited was in Naujaat — then called Repulse Bay — an Inuit hamlet on the shores of Hudson Bay in Nunavut. She recalls that for the safety of her community, the Nurse Practitioner there always went to meet the plane, which came into Repulse Bay three times a week.

“She always wanted to know whenever community members returned from trips to the south,” Wagner explains, “Because if they came down with the flu bug or something, she knew the whole community would soon be coming to her nursing station with the flu. Due to their isolation, the Inuit people had very low resistance to common illnesses found in the south.”

Wagner was impressed by the advanced skillsets of the NPs she encountered; their responsibilities encompassed managing people’s health conditions and preventing disease. “They were responsible for the total health of the community,” she says. “And they did physical assessments of patients like I’d never seen a doctor do before.”

It’s the kind of wholesome approach to healthcare that appeals to Tait, who is now in her second year of CNPP, which is delivered online. “I’ll be able to deal with patients from a diagnosis point of view,” she says, adding that she knows her experience as a registered nurse will be invaluable in her new role as a nurse practitioner.

In The News: Nursing student completes wellness kits

Assiniboia Times features SCBScN graduate

Posted: October 13th, 2020


  Pictured is an example of a Wellness Toolkit by Callie Morhart. (Photo by Nikki Tiffen).

Callie Morhart was chosen as the 2020 recipient of the Hayley and Cayden Wourms Memorial Scholarship worth $3500.

Morhart is a 2020 graduate of Assiniboia Composite High School. She is presently a distance student in nurses training, who is taking her courses through the University of Regina.

The Hayley and Cayden Memorial Scholarship was inaugurated after the mother and child’s unanticipated and heart breaking passing in 2012 – the family of Hayley Wourms (née Wilcock) created the scholarship in the memory of their daughter and grandson.

The Assiniboia community as a whole described Hayley Wourms as a person who also wanted to make a constructive difference in people’s lives much like the young nursing student and winner of this year’s scholarship. Read more

Video exam project brings nursing class together, while teaching and learning from home

By University Advancement and Communications

Posted: September 25th, 2020

Alex Hodson
Nursing instructor Alex Hodson discusses the video produced by students and instructors Zoom
In a 2016 State of Homelessness in Canada report, it was estimated that at least 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness in any given year. The number is undoubtedly much higher because many who are homeless do not come into contact with the community organizations that operate shelters and provide transitional housing. The “hidden homeless” are those people who are left to seek shelter in abandoned houses, on friend’s and family’s couches, and in their cars. Now, thanks to a study funded by the University’s Faculty of Arts' Community Engagement & Research Centre (CERC), the scope of the plight of Regina’s hidden homeless may finally emerge.
When the remainder of the Winter 2020 semester had to be completed online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty and students had to quickly adapt. Nursing instructors Alex Hodson and Sue-Ellen White took the opportunity to try something they had never done before – give the students in their CNUR 103 class (Foundations of Care II: Professional Nursing) a video project to teach other students how to perform a skill (e.g., dressing a wound) for their final skills assessment exam.
Adamma Ejike-iloka
Nursing student Adamma Ejike-iloka appears in the video
Photo: Provided by Adamma Ejike-iloka

Typically this skills assessment would have taken place in a lab and the students would have a list of skills they would need to know how to perform. The students would be randomly selected for one of the skills, and they would be given 20 minutes to perform the skill in front of a faculty member. With all of the students and instructors at home, Hodson and White asked students to produce a video of themselves at home demonstrating a dressing change or a removal of sutures. They were so impressed by how creative and well presented the students’ videos were, Hodson wanted to be able to share the videos with others. With 180 students in the class, that wasn’t a possibility, so she took clips from seven of the videos and created a quick five-minute video to showcase what the students were able to accomplish from their homes. The video is available on YouTube here.

“One of our main goals was to make sure students would feel confident and prepared going into clinical, and we wanted them to feel like their learning wasn’t inferior,” says Hodson. “That was our motivation, and it was so great to see what students can do when you let them be creative and let them use their skills.”

As the Winter semester came to an end, Hodson found that she was missing the connection she typically has with students when teaching face-to-face. Around the same time, she and her colleagues began to mark the videos. They started texting each other and talking about how impressed they were with the videos. Hodson also noticed that when the students were able to watch each other’s videos, they were excited to see what their classmates had done for the assignment.

Hodson observed the videos being a shared sense of accomplishment among her colleagues and students. Despite the fact that everyone was at home and couldn’t see each other in person, they still shared a common bond with the video project. She also plans to use the videos as a teaching tool in future classes so that those students can learn from their peers.

“I’ve always loved integrating technology into my classroom, and I think this has brought it more to the forefront,” says Hodson. “There’s so many fun things you can do with technology, I’ve found that it has inspired my teaching and it has made me excited to try new things.”

Rachel Riendeau
Nursing student Rachel Riendeau demonstrates how to remove sutures
Photo: Provided by Rachel Riendeau

Adamma Ejike-iloka is now in her second year of nursing, and was initially a bit concerned about the project, because she had never made a video before. However, she found that her instructors were extremely flexible and were always available to answer any questions she had by email, by phone, or over Zoom.

“It ended up being fun, because I did things at my own pace. When I would feel overwhelmed I would remind myself that it’s ok, because it is just me here,” says Ejike-iloka. “If people were watching me, I don’t think I could have executed what I did. I feel like it brought out the best in me.”

Rachel Riendeau is also beginning her second year of nursing. With four online classes and a clinical in the Fall term, she will miss learning in a classroom with others but looks forward to doing her clinical in a hospital.

“We were constantly assured by our profs that any skills we were not allowed to practice in person we would catch up on in our upcoming semester,” says Riendeau. “This year my clinical instructor let me know that they will make a point to highlight those skills and use them more in labs. She will make sure we get the opportunity to do it and she will be there with us.”

The Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (SCBScN) is offered through a joint partnership between Saskatchewan Polytechnic and University of Regina, with campuses in Regina and Saskatoon. Both campuses also offer the After Degree Nursing Program (ADNP), which allows applicants who hold a degree in another field to complete the SCBScN program in six consecutive terms (two calendar years).


Time-honoured nursing tradition meets 21st century during pandemic

In crisis or calm: U of R Faculty of Nursing reimagines programs; celebrates profession

University response to COVID-19 a campus-wide team effort

Every Child Matters: The Faculty of Nursing remembers Indigenous children who attended residential schools.

Posted: September 30, 2020

Every Child Matters September 2020

Celebrating a decade of forging University-community relationships

By University Advancement and Communications

Posted: July 16th, 2020

Key members of the Community Engagement and Research Centre’s hidden homeless project (Left to right): Ann Perry, The Circle Project, Lisa Workman, Four Directions Community Health Centre, Laurie Clune, Faculty of Nursing, U of R. Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Gidluck
In a 2016 State of Homelessness in Canada report, it was estimated that at least 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness in any given year. The number is undoubtedly much higher because many who are homeless do not come into contact with the community organizations that operate shelters and provide transitional housing. The “hidden homeless” are those people who are left to seek shelter in abandoned houses, on friend’s and family’s couches, and in their cars. Now, thanks to a study funded by the University’s Faculty of Arts' Community Engagement & Research Centre (CERC), the scope of the plight of Regina’s hidden homeless may finally emerge.

“While the numbers matter, we are more interested in the people behind the statistics,” explains Laurie Clune, an associate professor in the Faculty of Nursing, and the lead researcher from the University collaborating with Circle Project and the Four Directions Community Health Centre on the project. “We want to learn about what members of the hidden homeless experience so that we can push to fill the gaps in service provision with new service delivery programs.”

Director of the Faculty of Arts' Community Engagement & Research Centre Lynn Gidluck.
Photo: U of R Photography

The hidden homeless study is just the kind of research project that the U of R’s Community Engagement & Research Centre, formally known as the Community Research Unit, has been involved in for the past 10 years.

According to CERC’s former academic director Michelle Stewart, the recent name change more accurately reflects the unit’s mandate and programming. “It better reflects the wide range of programs and services offered by CERC,” she says. “The research centre looks to build connections in a variety of ways – facilitating community-initiated research projects, for instance, as well as enhancing student engagement with community-based research through learning opportunities like the Arts Work Experience Internship Program.”

In the past decade, a diverse range of University-community partnerships were spearheaded. Over ten years, a total of 48 collaborative research projects have been initiated with 84 community partners. Those projects have engaged 66 University of Regina faculty and staff members and 37 student researchers. Research grants for those projects have amounted to almost $93,000. Amber Fletcher, a professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Studies, has since stepped into the academic director role, joining community director Lynn Gidluck and a seven-member board of directors.

Ann Perry, executive director of The Circle Project, praises CERC for its hidden homeless research and its contributions to the wellness of the community.

“We have known for some time that there are much broader issues around homelessness in the community,” Perry says. “Specifically, hidden homelessness as it relates to issues like family violence, impacts of living in poverty or dealing with unforeseen circumstances, to name a few. Without the support of CERC, this important information would likely have stayed at the community level as the identification of a pattern or trend and would likely have not gone further.”

Four Directions Community Health Centre, a North Central neighbourhood health and wellness organization, is the other community partner working on the project. Lisa Workman, the centre’s Aboriginal community development coordinator, says this important research study would not have gotten off the ground without CERC and adds that the findings will lead to enhanced well-being for Regina’s hidden homeless.

“By collecting information on the hidden homeless it takes them out of the shadows and gives them a voice. It puts them in a better position to demand access to be better standard of living and quality of life,” Workman says. “The data will used by community groups to advocate for services such as 24-hour drop-in centres, improvements to housing standards, more frontline services, and anti-poverty measures. This information will also be beneficial for raising public awareness, which in turn may influence political will towards creating the funding and opportunities to bring about change.”

The first phase of the research project resulted in the completion of about 300 surveys that presented a wide range of questions related to individuals’ housing situations. The next phase, which involves interviews to delve even deeper into people’s living conditions, has been paused because of COVID-19. When current circumstances return to near normal conditions those interviews will proceed. The end result of the research project will be a final report that includes a detailed description of the hidden homeless population in Regina, as well as recommendations that will provide focus for policy-makers, program developers, and potential funders.

In addition to its research efforts, CERC also delivers a number of training courses for staff and volunteers of small- to medium-sized not-for-profit organizations. CERC’s Toolkit Workshop series has been delivered about 60 times since 2011 and has included such workshops as project management fundamentals, grant and proposal writing, social media marketing, and respectful engagement with Indigenous communities. The workshops are delivered through a partnership with the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation, United Way Regina and Regina Public Library - Albert Branch. Recently, CERC, in partnership with Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Canadian Philanthropy Partnership Network delivered a webinar on how to host virtual annual general meetings.

“I can’t wait to see what the next ten years have in store for CERC,” Gidluck says. “Every day I am inspired by people whose common goal is to work together to improve the communities they live in and associate with. I sincerely thank the Faculty of Arts for taking a leadership role at the University of Regina in funding, promoting, and facilitating community-campus engagement towards a more equitable and just society.”


 Community Engagement & Research Centre

Reconciliation and the nursing curriculum

By University Advancement and Communications

Posted: June 1, 2020

Delasi Essien PhD nursing student
Delasi Essien, University of Regina PhD nursing student, is uncovering colonial practices embedded within nursing education and finding ways to deconstruct them. Photo: U of R Photography

In Canada, many Indigenous people face discrimination and harmful stereotypes throughout their lives. Newcomers to Canada are often confronted with many of these misrepresentations. 

This is true for Delasi Essien, who came to Canada from Ghana fourteen years ago. 

"When I first arrived, and for years after, I heard negative stereotypes being perpetuated by media, people in my community, and even on my bus rides,” says the University of Regina PhD nursing student. 

It wasn’t until years later, when she became a nursing instructor at the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT), that she finally heard a different story. 

“My orientation at SIIT focused on teaching about Indigenous peoples and their history. It’s where I learned about treaties and colonization. It was the first time I learned about history from a different lens,” Essien says. “We were also colonized in Ghana, so I had a deeper understanding. But the consequences are worse in Canada, and I couldn’t reconcile how people here didn’t know, or didn’t want to know, the truth.” 

Essien spent a lot of time speaking with and learning from Indigenous people, and their stories made an impression. 

“When I started teaching at SIIT, the reality of Canada’s colonial history, and the negative impacts that history has on Indigenous nursing students, became very evident to me,” says Essien. “I’ve now seen how some of the systemic barriers Indigenous nursing students face lead many to leave the nursing program. I want that to change.” 

While doing her master’s at the University of Saskatchewan, Essien studied how the nursing program could improve retention rates of Indigenous students, including starting to incorporate oral traditions and storytelling, and providing mentorship, housing, and childcare support systems. 

Now, as part of her PhD, Essien is uncovering the colonial practices embedded within nursing education, and finding ways to deconstruct them. 

"Indigenous knowledge is part of the path toward health and well-being for Indigenous people and so must be part of the nursing curriculum. As a Canadian citizen, I’m guided by a desire to respectfully contribute to the discussion about the role of non-Indigenous Canadians in dismantling the legacy of colonialism and pushing the agenda of reconciliation,” says Essien. 

Even so, she struggles with her role as a non-Indigenous person of colour researching the impact of colonialism on Indigenous nursing students. 

“Newcomers are complicit in the ongoing legacy of colonialism. I’m committed to finding ways to help redress this through my work.” 

Essien knows it’s challenging to reconcile current nursing practices and values—which have been described by some as inherently rooted in colonialism—with the ideals of Indigenization. 

“Even the term ‘Indigenization’ is difficult to define. My research includes teasing out what it means within the nursing academy while working to obliterate obstacles that Indigenous nursing students face within the program.” 

Delasi Essien’s research is supported by the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre (IPHRC) and the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR) Research Awards Program. 

This story originally appeared in the University of Regina’s Discourse Research Magazine. Read more about our research with impact at  


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Time-honoured nursing tradition meets 21st century during pandemic

By University Advancement and Communications

Posted:June 10, 2020

Taye Kehinde
Nursing graduate Taye Kehinde BScN’20 receives her nursing pin from her mother, Bukky, also a Registered Nurse. The pinning symbolizes Taye’s transition from a nursing student into the nursing profession. Photo: Taye Kehinde

In a meaningful and touching online event on June 4, 286 graduates from the Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (SCBScN) program were welcomed into the nursing profession at a pinning ceremony – a time-honoured tradition that marks a nursing graduate’s transition from student to practicing nurse.

Commonly celebrated around the world, pinning ceremonies date back to the Crusades of the 12th century. Back then, monks were given Maltese crosses as badges for treating wounded crusaders. Later, Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, presented medals of excellence to her nursing graduates. Over the years, these medals have evolved into pins.

Every year in May, the SCBScN program – a partnership between the University of Regina and Saskatchewan Polytechnic – holds a pinning ceremony for its graduates. However, due to the pandemic, faculty and staff of the program decided to hold it virtually. They sent the pins in the mail to each graduate, and asked them to take a photograph of someone important to them to preside over the pinning. The photographs were then compiled into a PowerPoint slideshow and presented at the virtual pinning ceremony.

“We wanted to make sure that our graduates had the opportunity to celebrate their hard work with their family, friends, and significant others,” says Dr. Robin Evans, Interim Dean of the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Regina, who co-hosted the ceremony with Sandra Blevins, Dean of the School of Nursing and School of Health Sciences at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. “We hope that the virtual pinning ceremony showed our graduates how proud we are of them and their achievements.”

Katrina Nixdorf 2020
Anne Lauf, Academic Program
Coordinator in the Faculty of Nursing,
and Kristin Peigan, Academic
Advisor/Indigenous Support
Coordinator in the Faculty of Nursing,
presenting Katrina Nixdorf BScN’20
with three awards that were
delivered to her door during the
virtual pinning ceremony.
Photo: Katrina Nixdorf

When nursing graduate Katrina Nixdorf BScN’20 received her pin in the mail, she contacted her preceptor Dana Reed, a Registered Nurse who worked closely with Katrina to guide her through the transition between school and work.

“It just seemed right that Dana would be the one who would pin me and welcome me into the profession of nursing,” says Katrina, who works in the Emergency Room at the Regina General Hospital. “She was more than supportive and very excited to pin me. She pinned me in front of the rest of the ward at the General Hospital, and I started wearing it that day.”

Taye Kehinde BScN’20, a nursing graduate originally from Nigeria, chose to be pinned by her mother. Taye is following in her mother’s footsteps, as she is also a Registered Nurse.

“I chose my mom because she’s the woman who gave me life,” says Taye. “Throughout my years of studying, she has guided me and given me advice. I look up to her.”

Taye and her mother attended the virtual ceremony together from their home in Regina, and were joined in cyberspace by Taye’s brother, who logged in from Edmonton, as well as Taye’s father, who was able to log in to the ceremony from Nigeria.

“The virtual format was extra special, as we were joining households together,” says Dean Blevins. “It was wonderful to see families gathering with their graduates. While we would love to celebrate in-person, seeing the photos of parents and partners pinning the graduates brought tears to my eyes. The virtual pinning ceremony provided a beautiful image of support by families and partners.”

SCBScN pin 2020

Designed by graduate Lindsie
Bachtold BScN’15, the SCBScN pin
depicts a tree representative of the
program’s curriculum framework.
Photo: Katrina Nixdorf

During the ceremony, Katrina was surprised to learn that she was the recipient of three awards for the Spring Convocation: the Faculty of Nursing and School of Nursing Deans’ Medal; the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association Gold Medal for Excellence in Clinical Practice; and, the Dr. Sheila Dresen Prize in Nursing.

Dr. Evans announced Katrina’s awards and then asked her to step away from the ceremony and answer the door. Waiting outside for Katrina was a podium displaying the awards, and a camera to capture her reaction.

“I was shocked,” says Katrina. “I didn’t expect to be recognized for anything. I just went to school and went to work, and loved every second of it. I am very proud, and I feel a great deal of honour to be one of many students from previous years to receive these awards.”

Both Katrina and Taye are grateful to the program’s faculty and staff for ensuring the graduating cohort of 2019-20 was able to celebrate this rite of passage in a virtual pinning ceremony.

“If the ceremony hadn’t taken place, I would still go into the field and be a nurse,” says Taye. “But I would be missing that validation. It was a nice ceremony, and I am grateful that we were able to celebrate virtually.”

“The ceremony means a lot to me,” says Katrina. “I am touched that the staff and faculty care so much to have put such effort into making this special for us, and for me.”

Since 2011, the SCBScN program welcomed almost 1,600 undergraduates into its family of alumni. 


Reconciliation and the nursing curriculum

In crisis or calm: U of R Faculty of Nursing reimagines programs; celebrates profession


Breastfeeding during COVID-19

By Dr. Shela Hirani

Posted: May 7th, 2020

Shela Hirani 2019Breastmilk is essential for the growth and development of young children. Considering its benefits, breastfeeding is recommended at all times for young children, especially during crisis situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

This animated video on "Breastfeeding during COVID-19" provides need-based information to breastfeeding mothers who may lack breastfeeding support and access to information during the current state of emergency and self-isolation. It will also clarify misconceptions surrounding breastfeeding during COVID-19 and raise public awareness on safe infant feeding practices during this pandemic.

Breastfeeding during COVID-19 Video


In The News: Why don't all health practitioners offer assisted death?


Posted: February 26th, 2020

Janine Brown assisted feb 26 2020

As the debate on medical assistance in dying (MAiD) begins once again on Parliament Hill, a Saskatoon nurse is trying to shed light on why some practitioners don’t offer the procedure.

For her doctoral research, Janine Brown asked doctors and nurses in Saskatchewan why they didn’t offer MAiD. The answers she got were more complicated than she expected, she said.

Click the link for the full article

Synergy in the ER study comes to successful end.

By Iryn Tushabe

Posted: January 9th, 2020


A research project following the implementation Wagner ER Synergy January 2020 of the synergy tool in two Regina emergency room departments has ended successfully after two years. The study — Synergy in the ER: Improving Emergency Department Care and Provider and Patient Outcomes Using a Synergy Tool — consisted of a survey, focus groups, and participatory action to assess the effectiveness of the synergy tool.

“It’s a real-time workload management tool for nurses, developed by nurses,” explains the Faculty of Nursing’s Dr. Joan Wagner who was a principal investigator on the synergy tool research project which was a collaboration between the Saskatchewan Health Authority, clinical emergency department leadership, the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses, and nurse researchers from the University of Regina, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Manitoba and the University of British Columbia. “What is very unique about it is that as soon as the data is entered — they do electronic charting — it goes up on the overhead screens so they know how many patients they have in the emergency department and the level of care required.”

Classifying the patients by the complexity of their care requirements, Wagner explains, is useful to nurses while determining staffing numbers, where to send the patients, or if indeed the patient requires emergent care. “Not everyone who comes into the ER is primarily in need of nursing and medical care,” she says, adding that sometimes people rush to the emergency department who are in need of an occupational therapist or a social worker. “I mean, medical care may be part of why they are there, but often there are compounding factors.”

Wagner says the synergy tool has been implemented in acute care, community health care, residential care and mental health care settings across Canada and the United States, but never in an emergency room setting like it’s being applied here in Regina. Before, and again two years after the tool was implemented in the emergency departments at Regina General and Pasqua Hospitals, Wagner surveyed the nurses in areas including job satisfaction, morale, and perceptions of the quality of care they were providing patients. Researchers also wanted to know, through the survey and focus groups, if the nurses intended to stay put in their ER positions, as well as whether they’d recommend for other nurses to work in the ER.

The outcomes, she says, have been revelatory and have set in motion an implementation plan. “There have been some changes in staffing patterns due, in part, to the study’s findings,” Wagner says, adding the Saskatchewan Health Authority is looking at how their emergency departments are presently funded and considering new and innovative funding models.

Early in November, provincial health executives met with the researching partners in a summit also attended by emergency room staff and executives from the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses. They discussed the research findings and talked at length about how to continue efficiently using the synergy tool.

Wagner notes it’s not everyday that research projects culminate in a face-to-face conversation between front line health workers and senior health executives. “So that to me has been one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever been on from start to finish.”

Research project to study the public perception of paramedic care in Saskatchewan.

By Iryn Tushabe

Posted: January 9th, 2020


A study that will explore the public perceptions Luhanga Parademic January 2020of paramedic care in Saskatchewan has received funding to the tune of $60,000 through Mitacs, a nonprofit national research organization that supports research-based innovation through partnerships with industry, academia, and government.

“Our objective is to find out the public’s experience, expectations and perceptions related to paramedic care in the province,” says the project’s principal investigator and associate professor in the Faculty of Nursing, Dr. Florence Luhanga. “We hope that the data generated from this study will be used by paramedic regulators and educators to inform and improve the delivery of paramedic services in our communities and province.”

Luhanga says that she, along with four co-investigators – three from the Saskatchewan College of Paramedics, and one from Saskatchewan Polytechnic – will conduct focus groups in rural and urban communities in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, and La Loche. She says they will be looking to hear from diverse groups of people, including from First Nations, senior citizens, and new Canadians. She adds that private interviews will be arranged for individuals who, for one reason or another, are unable to participate in a focus group setting.

The study, which is estimated to take a little over a year to complete, is also looking to hire a research assistant, preferably, Luhanga says, a postdoctoral research fellow.

After an initial focus group held in the first week of December, Luhanga says so far so good. “It's the first research of its kind here in Saskatchewan,” she notes, adding she was drawn to the project as it fulfills her primary research interest: clinical education. “And in any case,” she explains, “paramedics and nurses always work hand in hand with each other.”

Luhanga’s PhD research focused on preceptorship and unsafe student clinical practice. Her dissertation investigated challenges that nurse preceptors encounter when precepting students who display unsafe performance in the clinical setting. Since then, she has been the principal investigator (PI) in two multidisciplinary — Education, Nursing, and Social work — studies exploring the issue of ‘failure to fail’ unsafe or underperforming students in professional programs. More recently she was the principal investigator on a study that explored nursing students’ experiences of bullying in clinical practices. She is also currently a co-investigator in a research study funded by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to explore the experiences of racialized students in education, nursing, and social work university programs in Saskatchewan.