Making a Difference

Scholarship and Research in the School of Nursing at TRU, 2016-2021

The Thompson Rivers University School of Nursing embarked on a collaborative process to articulate a vision and mission, six strategic directions and four priority areas for scholarship and research for the next five years (2016-2021). This document presents key elements of the school’s plan, developed through wide consultation with faculty, students and members of the practice community.

This plan has roots in the School of Nursing’s legacy of scholarship, research and excellence in teaching nursing students. It builds on and extends relationships with practice and community partners. This plan for strategic action will inspire action, ongoing collaboration and efforts to make a positive difference in nursing practice and health outcomes in identified thematic areas of scholarship and research.

School of Nursing: Scholar Profiles

Michelle Funk

Explore the complexity of death and dying.

Michelle Funk
Michelle Funk

HEAL 3330 is an intense and evolving interdisciplinary course which introduces and explores the complexity of death and dying.

Students from a variety of disciplines have included; nursing, law, respiratory therapy, sociology, animal health technology, psychology, and members from the public. The course topics cover a plethora of subjects including death and society, pet loss, how to help those grieving, and global grief which covers major events such as 9/11 and events that transpire closer to home such as the complicated grief experienced due to the recent wildfires in our area.

The course is weighed through three in class quizzes (40 % total), a reflective photo essay assignment (35% total), and a participation mark (15% total). Participation unfolds in the form of five Moodle contributions and online discussion and a participation mark to make an appointment with the faculty member to allow for questions, dedicated time and “check-in” with the student on an individual bases.

Above all, this course allows students “permission” to think about a wide range of death topics that they probably have not thought much about such as MAiD, funeral planning, and how various culture’s celebrate or commemorate death. Student’s greatest learning happens the area of personal growth, which cannot be measured by conventional testing measures.

From the course outline:
“This is a very intense and thought provoking course. I trust that you are taken to “new lands” and places you have never gone in your mind’s eye and that you create a new heart in seeing the pain and sorrow of others. Enjoy this course, and be willing to grow and stretch in the process!!!”

Thus far, the feedback and course evaluations have been overwhelming positive along with the ongoing demand and high waitlist count.

Shari Caputo

Decision-making and prioritization in acute care nursing practice.

Shari Caputo

Shari Caputo

Decision-making and prioritization in acute care nursing practice

Decision-making (DM) in acute care nursing practice is a critical and complex skill, while the ability to prioritize nursing care is separate but related to decision making. Positive patient outcomes correlate directly to nurses’ strengths in these skills, there for it is imperative for BScN faculty to be experienced in and promote DM and prioritization in clinical practice.

This presentation will highlight recent literature about the key components of DM and prioritization, and present multiple DM tools for faculty use in baccalaureate education. Finally, discussion will be promoted amongst faculty addressing their experiences with these skills in clinical practice education.

By Shari Caputo, RN, MSN
Lecturer, TRU School of Nursing

Elizabeth Andersen

Measuring student responses in and instructors’ perceptions of teacher evaluation questionnaires (SETs).

Elizabeth Andersen

Elizabeth Andersen

Measuring student responses in and instructors’ perceptions of teacher evaluation questionnaires (SETs), pre and post intervention

At most colleges and universities, students are invited to complete Student Evaluation of Teaching (SETs), which have both formative and summative objectives. While most teachers support student evaluations for formative purposes, many are concerned about the summative purposes. In this convergent mixed methods study we evaluated if we could influence a) students’ aggregate numerical responses and nature (tone and content) of their comments and b) instructors’ physical and emotional responses to SET results, their perceptions of their results, and perceptions of SETs overall. Although students who received an in-class intervention submitted more comments about perceived course or instructor weaknesses (negative comments) compared to students who did not receive the intervention, they used more qualifiers, addressed specific issues, and made more recommendations for improvements. Their positive comments were also more expansive compared to comments from students who did not receive the intervention. After instructors received an intervention their reports of lingering feelings of sadness and physical symptoms related to SETs (tense muscles, headaches, difficulties falling asleep) were reduced. Instructors reported that the intervention helped them let go of feelings of frustration and isolation and that they had acquired new strategies for opening, reading, and interpreting SET results. They continued, however, to report feeling apprehensive, uneasy, and uncertain about impending SET results.

Elizabeth Andersen, PhD, RN
Associate Professor
School of Nursing
Thompson Rivers University (TRU)
900 McGill Rd., Kamloops British Columbia V2C 0C8
Office: S227
Office phone: 250-852-7161

Journeys in Nursing Scholarship

The TRU School of Nursing Journeys in Nursing Scholarship Committee originated as part of the Scholarship Committee. Its purpose was to provide a forum for nursing faculty to present their current and future plans for a diverse range of scholarly work, including teaching, practice and research.

Journeys is an opportunity for faulty to connect with one another, to share ideas, plans, and activities that will foster a supportive community of scholars in the School of Nursing. Journeys continues as an annual event that is well received and celebrated within the school.


Faculty within the School of Nursing are actively involved in innovative scholarship and research activities. These fall within the research and scholarship themes of excellence in teaching and learning, leadership and policy, community health nursing and population health, and Indigenous health and pedagogy.


The following opportunities are available to support and engage in scholarship and research.

TRU Teaching Practices Colloquium Annual event in February
Journeys in Nursing Scholarship Available every April
Lunch and Learn Monthly opportunities to dialogue and share knowledge and experience