Menu

College of Nursing

News and Events

Three College of Nursing Faculty Members Awarded SHRF Establishment Grants

The Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) Establishment Grant Program is intended to assist university faculty who are new or newly resident in Saskatchewan in establishing independent health research programs within the province and achieving the research productivity necessary for obtaining major funding from national and other external agencies. Please join the College of Nursing in congratulating Dr. Kelly Penz, Dr. Sonia Udod and Dr. Jennifer Kryworuchko on their 2013-2014 SHRF Establishment Grant success.

Dr. Kelly Penz
Dr. Kelly Penz
Photo courtesy of SHRF

Dr. Kelly Penz, located at the College of Nursing Regina Campus, has received a SHRF Establishment Grant for her research project titled, Healthy Health Care Workforces: Testing a Model of Work Engagement and Burnout among Palliative Care Nurses in Rural and Urban Practice Settings. Understanding the nursing workforce in palliative and end of life care is a crucial aspect of human resource planning, especially in light of the changing rural and remote health care system. The goal of this two part study is to better understand the practice and professional quality of life of nurses who provide palliative and end of life care in rural and urban Saskatchewan. The results of this project will be used to identify areas of concern in both rural and urban settings and will provide a foundation for a program of research designed to improve the professional quality of life of those who practice in the area of palliative and end of life care.

"I am very excited and grateful to have the support of the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation for my study of nurses' professional quality of life in the context of palliative and end of life care, says Dr. Penz. "My personal experiences as a RN caring for dying patients and their family members were vital in developing my interest in this area. I considered it a privilege to provide care at such a unique time in peoples' lives.  Although I was working in a larger acute care setting with numerous palliative care resources available to me, I recall the emotional impact of striving to provide the best possible care in very stressful and complex situations.  I also often wondered what my colleagues were feeling in areas that may not have been as well supported, such as in rural and remote practice settings. Overall, as a RN and a researcher, it is my hope I will make a contribution to providing the physical, psychosocial and improved working conditions to support the well-being of our professionals in palliative and end of life care practice." This study is co-investigated by Dr. Donna Goodridge (College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan) and Dr. Laurie-Ann Hellsten-Bzovey (Graduate Studies and Research and College of Education, University of Saskatchewan).

Dr. Sonia Udod
Dr. Sonia Udod
Photo courtesy of SHRF

The second College of Nursing researcher to receive a 2013 SHRF Establishment Grant is Dr. Sonia Udod from the Saskatoon Campus. In partnership with co-investigators Dr. Greta Cummings (Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta) and Dr. Dean Care (Dean, Faculty of Health Studies, Brandon University), the team is working on a project called Role Stressors and Coping Experiences of Nurse Managers in Rural and Urban Acute Care Facilities in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The purpose of this project is to examine nurse manager stressors and coping strategies in acute care facilities to help create healthy work environments for managers. The complex healthcare environment and need for work-life balance requires unique approaches to create and maintain healthy work environments for nurse managers and their staff.

When asked about this project, Dr. Udod replied, "Investigating nurse managers' stress and how they cope will help us better understand managers' mental and physical health. A managers' health affects their managerial performance and also influences their willingness to stay in their position. Understanding nurse manager stress is very important for designing support systems that lead to positive staff experiences in the workplace, and for positive patient outcomes - both of which are high priorities for Saskatchewan's health care system." The study builds on existing literature suggesting managers face high stress and conflicting role demands, making their positions really difficult. This study aims to improve the overall satisfaction of nurse managers and increase retention by sharing successful coping strategies.

Dr. Jennifer Kryworuchko
Dr. Jennifer Kryworuchko
Photo courtesy of SHRF

Dr. Jennifer Kryworuchko also received a SHRF Establishment Grant this year. Located at the Saskatoon Campus, Dr. Kryworuchko, alongside co-investigators Dr. Donna Goodridge (College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan), Dr. John Reid (College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan), Karen Levesque (Saskatoon Health Region, Adult Medicine and Complex Care), Petrina McGrath (Saskatoon Health Region, Interprofessional Practice) and Steven Lewis (Saskatoon-based Health Services Researcher and Policy Analyst) are working on a project titled Mixed Methods Study of the Web-based Life Support Decision Aid. Their project promotes patient and family involvement in healthcare decisions during serious illness. Researchers have shown when the health decision-making process does not engage patients and their families, the care provided does not match patient preferences or meet their needs. Tools called patient decision aids are already used in many health care settings to help patients and families understand their options and figure out the benefits and harms of a treatment to decide what is right for them. Kryworuchko's team wants to know if a new web-based decision aid can improve conversations between healthcare teams and hospitalized, seriously ill, older adult patients and their families when they are facing decisions about using technology to keep a person alive if they become seriously ill. "Of course, the point is not to convince anyone to choose in a particular way, it's really to help healthcare teams to have healthy conversations with patients and families so their needs are met and they only get the care they want, and no more," says Dr. Kryworuchko.  This study will add to what is already known about overcoming the challenge of keeping patients and families at the centre of their healthcare decisions.

"The health research enterprise is wide ranging, covering all aspects of health from the laboratory to the bedside," said June M. Bold, CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation. "The commitment to health improvement that Registered Nurses bring to their health research activities helps to strengthen today's health system. SHRF was extremely pleased to be in a position to review and fund high-quality health research projects from the College of Nursing and we look forward to sharing in their research success and knowledge translation."

Congratulations once again Dr. Kelly Penz, Dr. Sonia Udod and Dr. Jennifer Kryworuchko. The college is very proud of your success.

For more information on the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation and the award above, please click here.