McMaster University

McMaster University

McMaster nursing students making a difference

In celebration of Nursing Week May 9 - 15, the McMaster University School of Nursing turned the spotlight on two of its extraordinary students.


Rebecca Spark
Rebecca Spark

Public health nurse Rebecca Spark was recently awarded a Canada Graduate Scholarships Master's Award by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to study a unique research topic.

It is not unusual for university-based researchers to work in teams with researchers from other universities. However, in health care delivery research there is a new and growing expectation that teams include professionals who plan and manage the delivery of health services and programs for the public. It is believed that this mix can help move research findings into practice and ensure that the research conducted answers questions that are important to those who manage health services.

To help better understand how to make such teams work effectively, Spark will explore the experiences of a team of public health academic researchers, managers and directors who are working together over five years to investigate public health systems renewal. The project, for which she also works as a research assistant, involves over 40 team members in Ontario and British Columbia, and is the first and largest of its kind.

"Given ongoing concerns about the inability of the current Canadian public health infrastructure to adequately meet the growing health needs of the population, I feel that research seeking to better move research results into practice is vital for both the public health system and the health of Canadians," said Spark.

Spark explains that the key to managing her roles as graduate student, research assistant, and part-time instructor of a third-year community health nursing course, is balance and finding time for important things like family and her own physical health. "I really believe in living and being healthy and that people have to take responsibility for their own health. As public health practitioners, we also need to help people achieve health," said Spark.


Chelsea Ament, right, with her Nepali preceptor
Chelsea Ament, right, with her Nepali preceptor

Meanwhile, another McMaster nursing student is travelling back to Nepal to help its population to achieve health.

Chelsea Ament, who will graduate from McMaster's Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program in June, earned a prestigious Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) internship placing her with the Women's Reproductive Rights Program in Nepal, through a joint partnership between The Advocacy Project and Human Rights Internet.

From May to November, she will be busy designing and implementing a preventative program on the issue of uterine prolapse, and working on an international campaign and advocacy of the issue.

"This is pretty much my dream job," said Ament, who already completed a placement in Nepal in the fall of 2010. "I'm excited about helping to make change that I can see at the policy level and this will give me experience in preventative health care. While I'm learning new skills, I can hopefully be making differences for these women."

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