Students in Community

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Measles and Social Pediatrics


In 1919, as plans for the School of Nursing were coming to fruition, Canada was at the height of the devastating influenza outbreak that followed the First World War. Then, in 1927, Assistant Professor Mabel Gray—who eventually took the role of director of the school—published her research in The Canadian Nurse using a recent measles outbreak at UBC “as an example of the nurse’s work in this special field.” She called her paper “The Place of the Public Health Nurse is Epidemiology.” Now, even after seeing an abatement in measles through a decades-long program of prevention and immunization, the disease has made a comeback. These epidemics form the battlefields on which public health nurses wage their war against disease through educating, comforting, and protecting with immunization.

The most recent measles outbreak reached Vancouver this past winter and the public school that was in the thick of it all was in the Ravensong Community Health area. One Friday in February, UBC nursing students in community (Social Pediatrics) stepped into action, assisting the public health nurses (PHN) in the school clinics.
Some students have also been conducting health promotion education on vaccination in a variety of settings in this area.

The public health nursing mandate has always been prevention of communicable diseases through educating families and providing protection through immunizations. Nursing educators are also using the recent outbreak to underline theory, lecturing on communicable disease to nursing students during the winter session. It is also used as an example to illustrate nursing’s role in management of outbreaks and to underline the importance of immunization.

For further information about the importance of vaccinating for measles, watch the World Health Organization’s fabulous video from 2004 available free online called “Fragile Lives” revolving around one family’s experience with measles in Ireland. (Part 4: Rejection

ITCH Awards


Two of our recent MSN graduates, Raji Nibber and Patrina Lo, won first and third prizes for best student poster at Information Technology and Communications in Health (ITCH) in Victoria on February 14, 2019. Thirty student posters were presented from Canada, US, and the UK. The best poster event was sponsored by Canada Health Infoway. It was a great night!

Patrina Lo and Raji Nibber pose with their winning posters at ITCH in Victoria on February 14.

Raji Nibber completed her Scholarly Practice Advancement Research (SPAR) in Aug 2018, and at ITCH, took first prize for her poster entitled: A Rapid Review of Psychometric Properties of Instruments that Measure Informatics Competencies for Practicing Nurses.

Patrina Lo completed her thesis in Oct 2018, and won third prize for her poster entitled: Patterns of Action Items in an Electronic Handover Tool.

Two other students presented posters: Jillisa Byard, MSN Oct 2018 and Abdul-fatuwa Abdulai, PhD student. Jillisa then presented her findings during a Canada Health Infoway Webinar on March 27, 2019.

Submitted by Leanne M. Currie
Associate Professor

New Electives


The principles for long-lasting satisfaction like social connectedness, expression of gratitude, living in the present, daily workout, and sufficient sleep, are essential for building an emotionally rich and balanced life. Around the world, educational institutions from elementary schools through post-secondary are introducing methods for building that balance right into the curricula. The School of Nursing’s new electives offer additional tools for creating balance in the life of all students at UBC.

Check out NURS 180 Stress and Strategies to Promote WellbeingNURS 280 Human Sexual Health, and NURS 290 Health Impacts of Climate Change to see how the school is offering the UBC student community fresh initiatives for a balanced life:

Student Leadership

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Recognition of Student Leadership

Lara Gurney

[L-R]: Bud Stapleton (Sharon’s father); Sandra Stapleton (Sharon’s sister); Lara Gurney, RN; Geoff Davenport (Sharon’s husband). Photo provided by Lara Gurney.

The UBC School of Nursing extends our sincere congratulations to Lara Gurney, a graduate student who was recently awarded the Sharon Stapleton Memorial Leadership Fund.

Lara is currently an Emergency Nurse Clinician, with a strong focus and background in Critical Care Nursing, at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH). In addition, she is currently completing her thesis—on a very unique approach to curbing nurses’ emotional fatigue in critical care settings. At VGH, she initiated the Patient Stories Project (PSP) as a means to address burnout and to cultivate positivity in the workplace. The PSP aims to accomplish this by acknowledging nurse achievements in the critical care environment.

Burnout is prevalent among nursing staff in critical care units, and exerts significant influence on job dissatisfaction, absenteeism, and high staff turnover rates. This syndrome is characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment. It is common among occupations that involve extensive interactions with others and chronic exposure to workplace stressors such as anxiety, physical labour, and shift work.

Through the PSP, patients are provided with the opportunity to share with the nurses and the health care team their recovery and personal life accomplishments since hospital discharge. This story-telling project has the potential to offer meaningful enrichment for both parties involved. Nurses are reminded of the value of their profession while patients are prompted to reflect on their recovery progress. When nurses are able to derive meaning from their work, they are less likely to exhibit burnout symptoms, promoting better quality patient care.

Congratulations Lara!


VGH Nurses Say ...

  • “[The PSP] reminds us of the importance of our jobs; everything we do is important even when we feel it is not."

  • “[The PSP] helps humanize the experience and bring explicit meaning to what we do.”

  • “Reading patients’ stories gives me a sense of pride in what my colleagues and I do and acknowledges that our efforts do pay off.”

Chantelle Recsky

Chantelle Recsky, doctoral student at the School of Nursing, was awarded the Canadian Nurses Foundation “Dr Kathryn J Hannah’s Nursing Informatics Scholarship” at the eHealth Conference in Toronto on May 27, 2019.

This is a highly visible award in the informatics community and we are extremely excited about Chantelle’s achievement. As part of the award, she will present her research in a webinar to the Canadian Nursing Informatics Association.

Pulse and Puppies

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Undergrad Project to Master’s Research

Pulse and Puppies

Photo provided by Kelsi Jessamine


Kelsi Jessamine’s undergraduate “synthesis project” (in which students bring what they are learning into real-world scenarios) offered free pet care to vulnerable folk and their companions (featured on p.15 of Touchpoints Spring/Summer 2017). Her master’s research carries on with her passion to bridge the gap between marginalized communities and the health care system.

For more, read our web-story researched and written by work-learn student Nicolas El Haïk-Wagner:

Update: On July 15, 2019, Kelsi received the City of Vancouver’s Civic Volunteer Award on behalf of the CVO organization. Read about the award here: