Image: Learning in the Faculty of Health Sciences

An interest in complementary medicine and mental health is what attracted Nicole Emsley to research. Working towards a Bachelor of Science degree in General Sciences, Nicole’s areas of study include biology, chemistry, and psychology. She is using her knowledge of these fields to study emergency department (ER) visits by children and youth for mental health crises and use this to understand the degree to which children with external behaviour and mental health struggles are seen at the ER.

Nicole’s research will also look at the length of wait times children and youth face when obtaining an appointment with a psychiatrist and explore the interest of the families in using multi-nutrient supplements as a complementary option for children and youth as they wait for an appointment with a psychiatrist.

The project entails an environmental scan of previous literature on the topic, as well as compiling data from the emergency departments at Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge, and the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary, and surveying families with children and youth who have visited these ERs.

Nicole is working with Health Sciences professor Brenda Leung for the project and is supported by a Chinook Summer Research Award. Her role in the project includes assisting with the environment scan, helping with the development and preparation of the survey, assisting with recruitment for the project, and documenting all administrative processes related to the environmental scan and survey.

She is also learning skills such as searching for literature, critically analyzing data, and collating the results. Nicole says her experience with this research has been valuable in allowing her to gain experience conducting health research and is providing her with the necessary tools to conduct future research in her education and career.

Conducting research at the U of L is an enjoyable experience as there are so many avenues for help and support. Staff are willing, engaging, and knowledgeable, and the facilities and resources are excellent.

Nicole adds that she highly recommends student pursue their research interests while in their undergrad years.

The skills and experience gained by being involved in research are so valuable and will aid in your continued success moving forward in your education and career.