Catching the wave of changing demographics
The College of Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) offers students the opportunity to work with researchers in the field of nursing like Dr. Donna Goodridge, RN, PhD. Dr. Goodridge is directing industry-leading research projects that are driving change for home-care services and bringing new concepts and ideas to teaching.
Dr. Donna Goodridge is a nurse first, with 24 years of clinical experience, which informs her pragmatic approach to research and teaching. She engages in research projects that will have realistic implications in understanding health in new ways and improving care in Saskatchewan and beyond.
Dr. Goodridge states that Saskatchewan has one of the highest proportions of people in an older demographic, and her research projects are dedicated to the study of health-care for older adults. She is currently involved with the Saskatoon Council on Aging with the Age- Friendly Communities Initiative.
As a result of clinical nursing experience and research, Dr. Goodridge recognizes that we need to better understand the social ,psychological and biological aspects of aging or "gerontology". She believes it is an essential component to achieve comprehensive quality health-care to help older adults live well.
Dr. Goodridge is pleased to announce the first gerontology course in the province at the undergraduate level will be offered by the University of Saskatchewan in September 2011. This innovative project is led by Dr. Goodridge and involves a cross-disciplinary team from the Colleges of Nursing, Medicine, Arts and Science, Pharmacy and Nutrition, and Law. The significance, Dr. Goodridge explains, is the cutting-edge interprofessional teaching this course will offer students. Two faculty members will share their disciplinary perspectives on current and relevant topics for each class.
For example, in the class examining issues of driving and older adults, a law professor may present the legal considerations while a nursing professor would present the health-related considerations.
The course will be housed in the College of Nursing but is available as an elective to students in other colleges.
Focus on Home Care:
The quality delivery of home-care services is another significant component to help older adults live well. Dr. Goodridge reports that the delivery of home care has become increasingly important in Canada for several reasons including the fact people prefer to receive care at home and it is more cost-effective than care in other settings.
In 2007, Dr. Goodridge began a robust crossdisciplinary research program to evaluate home-care services in Saskatchewan. The program involves several different projects that examine the following aspects of home care: equity, unmet needs, safety, and technology. Leaders from across the healthcare and academic communities locally and nationally contribute to research. "The interprofessional and collaborative approach creates synergies central to the ongoing success of this program," explains Dr. Goodridge. She is excited about the potential to translate the results into practical application and create quality home care in Saskatchewan and beyond. "Ultimately, we aim for a decrease in emergency room admissions and unplanned hospitalizations by individuals who receive home care. As well, we want to establish equity in services (the right service to the right person at the right time), particularly for individuals in core neighborhoods who require home care," she says.
The future of Nursing:
Dr. Goodridge suggests that nursing is moving toward a model of ‘providing care where you live' because this is what people want, and will certainly need in the future. Nurses will play a significant role in designing this model of care.
"Nurses have a leading-edge understanding of health and people. They will become leaders of interdisciplinary teams who will develop creative and innovative ways to meet our future health-care needs."