Where are you from?
I am from Lomond, a small town an hour north of Lethbridge, where my dad was a farmer and my mom was a teacher. Both my parents graduated from the University of Lethbridge and I always knew I would attend school there. I was drawn to the nursing profession initially because of the positive interactions I had with the nurse that provided health promotion services to my high school. She was kind, approachable and I liked the idea that she was helping students be the healthiest they could be. So, I started nursing school with the intention that I would be a public health nurse, where I hoped I could play a role in addressing the upstream factors that determine the health of individuals and communities.
I really appreciated the knowledge I gained through my liberal education at the U of L as it strengthened my conviction that action on the social determinants of health — the social and economic factors that shape how an individual grows, lives and works — is needed to improve health outcomes. I also received incredible mentorship and support from the faculty in the nursing program, many of whom are now my colleagues, and I decided to pursue a master's degree with the hope that one day I could return to the University of Lethbridge as a faculty member.
How long have you been at the U of L and what do you do here?
I started at uLethbridge as a sessional instructor in the nursing program in the fall of 2014. Now I teach classes in both the Nursing and Public Health programs, focusing on community and global health. In the nursing program, I support students in both theory and practice courses where students have the opportunity to work with community partners to engage in health promotion.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is when students leave my course feeling empowered to drive the social change needed to improve our community's health. I think it's important I support students in recognizing the role the social determinants of health play in shaping health outcomes. I love that students, in their own journeys to becoming safe, ethical and caring practitioners, can also support community partners in recognizing the strengths and opportunities for improving the health of populations that are sometimes left behind by our health systems.
This week is National Nursing Week. What do you wish everyone knew or understood about nurses and nursing?
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the incredible work nurses do every day to care for and protect the health of our communities, it has also brought to our attention the great inequities that exist in our society that cause harm to certain groups of people. Some people may not realize that, in addition to quality care, nurses demonstrate leadership in ensuring health inequities are addressed both within the health care system and outside it. I am truly amazed at all of the advocacy work our students are already engaged in, and I am confident our students will lead the way in creating a more equitable and healthy society.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love to golf with my family, and I am looking forward to travelling again after the pandemic. I also love to cook and have been busy renovating my house after spending the last year at home.