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Western Regional School of Nursing

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Graduating more than 1,800 nurses since its first graduating class, the Western Regional School of Nursing has become a vital center for health care in Newfoundland and Labrador, fostering both new talent and research.

Dawn Pittman, of the Western Regional School of Nursing (WRSON), is exploring how we can help improve nutrition among older adults in Western Newfoundland and throughout the province. This research is part of Pittman's PhD Studies at the Memorial University School of Nursing under the direction of supervisor Dr. Karen Parsons.  She explains that it is also an exploration into an emerging field of study in nursing, environmental health. Environmental health considers the way in which a person's built and natural surroundings, such as transportation routs and climate, affect their health. These combine with aging, and other social influences, to make nutrition in older adults a complex topic of study. This research uses a new methodology that was first introduced in 1997 by Sally Thorne, a Canadian nursing researcher and teacher. The methodology focusses on creating research with a direct relevance to nursing practice and on-the-ground action. Pittman explains that health is influenced by factors that people have power over, and some that cannot be controlled, but it's important to know what those factors are. 


Peggy Colbourne (Faculty, WRSON), & Dawn Pittman (Faculty, WRSON), and Michelle Earle-Crane (PI, Faculty CNS), Andrea Barron (Faculty, CNS), collaborated in a study of casualization of registered nurses in the province. Casualization of the Registered Nurse (RN) workforce is increasing globally. Casualization of the RN workforce is often presented from the standpoint of organizational efficiency. While the negative impact of casualization on the nursing profession and patient outcomes is recognized, casualization has been an effective means of recruitment and retention. However, the literature highlights the negative impact of casualization on patient outcomes, the RN, the nursing profession, and the healthcare system citing lack of nurse commitment, workplace employee tension, fragmented patient care, poor organizational communication and teambuilding. Provincially, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) 2017 Registered Nurse Workforce Model Report highlights that 18% of practicing nurses are employed in casual positions with 56% of these RNs desiring casual status over permanent part-time or full-time work. With an increasing preference for RNs in our province for casual status, and a corresponding trend in hiring practices among Regional Health Authorities (RHAs), little is known about why RNs desire casual status. Therefore, utilizing interpretive description methodology, the perspectives of RNs desiring casual employment within NL were explored to determine factors influencing their desire for casual employment and incentives for permanent status. The findings of this study will inform nursing practice as well as organizational and health care policy development. To ensure adequate RN staffing and efficient high quality patient care, study findings will inform a recommendation; to maintain appropriate workforce supply, outlined by the Government of NL 2017 Registered Nurse Workforce Model Report.


Peggy Hancock, Daphne Kennedy, and Sandra MacDonald MUN Faculty of Nursing, in collaboration with Christine MacDonald, University of Ottawa and Kathy Watkins, Centre for Nursing Studies, examined accounts of baccalaureate nursing (BN) students and their experience of incivility in nursing academia and the clinical practice setting including in hospitals and the community. Incivility can be defined as vague or ambiguous intent to harm that can be subliminal, overt or covert and includes sarcastic talking, mocking, humiliating opinions, negative tone of voice and ignoring the strengths of the person in the presence of others. Current research suggests that nursing students who experience such workplace violence also report increased emotional distress, increased errors in patient care and a desire to leave the profession. Researchers will use a mixed-methods research design to investigate BN students' perceptions or incivility (impact, causes, and mechanism used to manage it) in the clinical practice environment. Study findings will enhance the understanding of incivility in BN education and foster the development of curriculum content and learning activities to strengthen the skills required to manage incivility and policies to prevent and address incivility in the clinical practice setting.


Jennifer Lamswood (Principal Investigator), Gina Billard, Peggy Hancock, Daphne Kennedy, & Pam Moores (Co-Investigators), all WRSON Faculty, investigate the significant number of undergraduate nursing (BN) students that engage in paid employment while attending university full-time, largely due to the financial obligations of supporting their families, paying tuitions fees, and cost of living. Evidence shows that the more hours students work per week, the more this negatively impacts their GPA, especially when working greater than 16 hours per week. Engaging in paid work positively impacts students' satisfaction with their personal and social lives. The purpose of this mixed-method study is to understand BN students' experiences of paid employment and the perceived effects on their academic and professional development, and their personal lives. This information will help faculty to better support students who work. We hope to expand our study to include other student populations.


Office of Research and Graduate Studies

Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland
20 University Drive, Corner Brook, NL
A2H 5G4, Canada

Office: FC4020-4027
Phone: (709) 637-7193
Email: research@grenfell.mun.ca

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