School of Nursing
What is your educational and professional background?
As an undergraduate, I studied psychology and English literature at Brown University. When I decided to pursue nursing, I went to Boston College’s accelerated nursing program and earned my nursing license and then a master’s in nursing, then eventually went on for a Doctor of Nursing Practice at Northeastern University.
My professional background is in psychiatric/mental health nursing. I have spent the last 10 years as a psychiatric nurse practitioner (NP), seeing patients across the lifespan. I have particular interest in anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as palliative care. Prior to my NP work, I practiced as a registered nurse in several pediatric settings, from the hospital to summer camps for kids with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.
I originally thought I wanted to pursue a career in medicine, but in my final year of university, a close family friend became ill and I spent a great deal of time in the hospital with him. In watching his healthcare team work with him and his family, I found that it was the nursing role that resonated with me. Nurses are truly on the front lines of care — they are present with patients day and night, and often have really unique opportunities for deep connection. The hands-on, relational aspects of nursing were inspiring to me and led me to choose this particular path.
My partner’s family is here in British Columbia, so it is wonderful to be close to them. Professionally, I was excited by the opportunities presented by the Professor of Teaching tenure track here at UBC; it’s great that the university values the contribution of teaching-intensive faculty. I am passionate about teaching and appreciate the commitment UBC has made to support growth and expertise in this aspect of my career.
What are your research/teaching interests and current projects?
I’m excited to be teaching across the nursing curriculum, but my particular areas of interest are psychiatric/mental health nursing and pediatrics. My clinical background in mental health extends to an interest in the wellbeing of students and faculty, as well as nurses out in practice. Healthcare is an incredibly demanding and quickly changing field that often forces nurses to confront suffering and distress, alongside moments of joy and healing. With this in mind, I have a personal and professional interest in the application of contemplative practices such as meditation to academics, professional nursing and life in general.
How do you hope your work will impact society/students?
Kindness and authenticity are two core values that I strive to bring to my work as a teacher and a nurse. I hope that my commitment to these principles creates a learning environment in which students can dig deep into their nursing education and develop a reflective practice that allows them to appreciate the potential for healing and connection in each interaction. By helping educate compassionate, resilient nurses, I hope my impact will spread exponentially through their work with patients and families.
How do you think the field of nursing will be different 100 years from now?
I think there will obviously be some radical technological changes in the way we diagnose and treat patients. Perhaps more importantly, I hope and believe that the stigma around mental illness will be greatly reduced and we as a society will value emotional and psychological health as much as our physical wellness. I hope that this shift in attitude will dispense with the idea that psychiatric/mental health issues are somehow separate from the rest of medicine and nursing — we all have emotions, we all struggle sometimes, and I hope we move to the point where this is just accepted and acknowledged openly.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in nursing?
Nursing is an incredibly flexible career — the possibilities are almost limitless if you are creative and open to new challenges. I think we often imagine nurses at the bedside in hospitals — and that is one really important nursing role — but there are nurses in the community, in research, in business, in education, in all sorts of traditional and non-traditional roles. Stay open to the possibilities and you can take this career in nearly any direction.
What is your favourite book/movie/album/food/sport/leisure activity?
I love baking and can usually be found kneading or stirring away in my kitchen. I can never settle on a favorite song, book or movie — there are just too many … but I have recently been loving a whole variety of podcasts, particularly "10% Happier", "Hidden Brain" and "Everyday Ethics".
What are you passionate about outside work?
I have two fantastic kids — aged seven and three — and am lucky to be part of a large extended family. Spending time with my family is my favorite pastime and my true passion outside of work.