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Dalhousie Centre for Transformative Nursing and Health Research Opens Nov 24

Posted by Kathryn Morse on November 20, 2015 in News
Photo: Nick Pearce
Photo: Nick Pearce

Some of Nova Scotia’s tiniest and most fragile patients live at the IWK Health Centre’s neonatal unit where they not only receive the best of care, they are helping to improve it.  These babies and their families are being studied by Dalhousie Assistant Professor Marsha Campbell-Yeo.  Evidence gathered by Dr. Campbell-Yeo and her team is transforming care for premature babies at the IWK, who now spend more time outside their incubators, cuddling skin-to-skin with their parents.

“We have proven that skin-to-skin contact reduces pain and improves outcomes for babies, especially critically-ill newborns,” says Dr. Campbell-Yeo, who is also a neonatal nurse practitioner at the IWK, and one of very few Nurse Clinician Scientists in Canada. Her work is an example of the groundbreaking research being done at Dalhousie, and the kind of research that will be the focus of the Centre for Transformative Nursing and Health Research, which opens on Tuesday November 24th.

“Dalhousie’s School of Nursing researchers are already having a significant impact—and that’s being recognized with the designation of our new Centre,” says Director Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy. “We’re launching the Centre for Transformative Nursing and Health Research so we can build on our existing partnerships, work on larger collaborative projects—and ultimately do more to improve patient care and to influence innovation in health policy.”  

The Centre for Transformative Nursing and Health Research is the first nursing-led research centre in Atlantic Canada and will focus on four key research areas: the health needs of people; health workforce and health systems planning; marginalized populations and health equity; and knowledge translation.

“The opening of the Centre is exciting,” says Dr. Campbell-Yeo.  “It will give Dalhousie a stronger identity and will catapult us into the top five nursing schools in the country. We need to be competitive at the national level because we are competing with the top schools for research funding.  It will also help us attract the best and brightest students.  They will want to come to a centre of nursing excellence.”

“The Centre will do powerful things for nursing,” echoes Britney Benoit, a second year student in Dal’s Nursing PhD program.  “Nursing is not always viewed as a big contributor in health research.  Having this Centre will increase the visibility and impact of nursing research and will draw more students into a research path. It will also be energizing to work with people from different backgrounds—we can produce stronger work with more people working together.”

“Our mission at the Centre for Transformative Nursing is to have an impact locally, nationally and globally,” emphasizes Dr. Tomblin Murphy, who is also the lead for the World Health Organization/PAHO Collaborating Centre in Health Workforce Planning and Research.

Researchers with Dalhousie’s School of Nursing are proving the power of working together.  They have been awarded $14 million in total research funding for a wide range of collaborative, patient-centered projects including: Dr. Marilyn MacDonald’s research into homecare, medication use and patient safety; Dr. Margot Latimer’s research into how Aboriginal children express pain and implications for access to care; Dr. Janet Curran’s research aimed at improving communication with parents as their children are being discharged from emergency departments; Dr. Ruth Martin-Misener’s research into integration of nurse practitioners in community-based healthcare; and Dr. Campbell-Yeo’s research into the power of a parent’s touch.