College of Nursing

News and Announcements

Replication of National Rural and Remote Nursing Survey Funded by CIHR

September 6, 2013

(l to r) Dr. Andrews, Dr. Stewart and Dr. Penz
(left to right) Dr. Andrews, Dr. Stewart and Dr. Penz

The national funding agency for health research in Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), funds a wide range of research activities for new and experienced researchers. During the most recent funding cycle, CIHR granted $611,966 over three years to a project involving three College of Nursing Faculty members, Dr. Norma Stewart (Co-Principal Investigator) and Dr. Mary Ellen Andrews and Dr. Kelly Penz (Co-Investigators).

This project titled "Nursing Practice in Rural and Remote Canada II" is the combined effort of three Principal Investigators (PIs) (lead PI is Dr. Martha MacLeod from the University of Northern British Columbia) and 13 Co-Investigators, four from the U of S (Andrews and Penz from the College of Nursing and Dr. Julie Kosteniuk and Dr. Chandima Karunanayake from the College of Medicine). The purpose of this study is to better understand the perspectives of nurses working in rural and remote Canada and the roles they take within the health care system. This Canada-wide survey repeats and extends a similar survey led by Saskatchewan researchers over a decade ago, which will provide comparison over a period of time when there has been considerable change in the nursing workforce, with a dramatic increase in Nurse Practitioners (NPs) in primary health care settings. The present survey will include Registered Nurses (RNs) and NPs, consistent with the previous survey, and will also include Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs) working in many settings in rural and remote regions of all provinces and territories in the country.

Addressing health care needs in rural/remote communities has become a priority in Canada, as these populations continue to have less positive health outcomes and lower access to health professionals than urban Canadians. As nurses are the most common health care providers in rural/remote settings and their professional roles have changed substantially in the last decade, it is more important than ever to understand these nursing roles and capacity to ensure a sustainable workforce in the future. This research will determine the changes in rural/remote nursing practice over the last decade and how these nurses can best be prepared, recruited and supported in their work. Policy implications of the project include the identification of priorities for organizational support and educational support for nurses in rural and remote Canada. Survey results will contribute to policy discussions on nursing practice, recruitment, retention and educational preparedness for practice in rural and remote regions of Canada.

When asked about the project, Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Norma Stewart replied, "I am very excited that we have this opportunity to build on our previous research and make a contribution to the sustainability of the nursing workforce in rural and remote Canada. This project also builds research capacity and provides succession planning for researchers to move this area of research forward in the future. Both Drs. Andrews and Penz were graduate students working with the previous survey and now they are tenure-track faculty with a continued commitment to improving health human resource planning in rural and remote regions, especially in the area of primary health care transformation."

Congratulations once again Dr. Norma Stewart, Dr. Mary Ellen Andrews and Dr. Kelly Penz. The college is very proud of your success.

For more information on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, please click here.