From Athlete and Patient to Researcher and Clinician: Using Lived Experience to Guide Concussion Care

"Our paths are never determined, but you can control your passion, determination and hard work, which will help set you on the path you want to go."

Scott Ramsay at the BCCH Research Institute
Scott Ramsay is a Registered Nurse at BC Children's Hospital Research Institute

Scott Ramsay

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
  • Grad year: 2023
  • Program:

I am BC Métis, born and raised in the Lower Mainland. I recently defended my PhD in the School of Nursing at UBC and am a Registered Nurse by profession, having worked at BC Children’s Hospital for the past eight years. 

Prior to that, I played high-level hockey, making it all the way to NHL camp with the Anaheim Ducks. As a former professional athlete, whose teenage dreams of playing in the NHL were dashed by a traumatic brain injury, I was inspired to pursue a career in Nursing so that I could have an impact on the lives of youth struggling with the same symptoms I experienced myself. 

Throughout my degree I have continued to expand advocacy efforts for youth concussion prevention and management.


Graduate channels broken NHL dreams into pioneering research on youth concussion care

Why did you choose to go into your field of study at UBC?


I decided to pursue Nursing, following my own experience as a patient. While in my Master's program, I had a serendipitous conversation with Dr. Susan Dahinten. She encouraged me to pursue my doctoral studies and was one of the main reasons I entered the program. She has been a fantastic mentor and I am so glad we had that initial conversation five years ago!


Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

What has made your time at UBC memorable?

Being named an APSC Rising Star is definitely a highlight - the culmination of my work and dedication over the last five years, I think is best encapsulated through this recognition. All the course work, teaching, mentoring, research, etc. compiled into one, and really allows me to reflect back on all the different contributions I made throughout my program.


Meet the APSC Student and Alumni Stars

What advice would you give a student entering your program?

My advice would be patience. Doing a doctoral degree is about being patient and absorbing as much information as possible along your journey. Too often, we want to learn everything at once or make an instant change. To that end, I would also say it is important to be realistic with yourself and the expectations you set.

Where do you find your inspiration for using your degree to make an impact?

As someone who suffered concussions and post-concussion syndrome I reached out to Dr. Michael Gaetz, a researcher I personally knew when going through my experience. He influenced my life direction and demonstrated, now that I can recognize it, how powerful research and evidence can be to inform peoples decisions and the choices they can make for their health when properly informed.


What are some contributions you would like to make when it comes to the future of work in your field?

Moving forward, and building off my doctorate, I hope to make very clear the importance of nurses being able to do both research and clinical practice - a nurse-clinician-scientist. 

Bridging the gap that exists between academics and clinical practice is imperative for training the next generation of nurses and I hope that my work can serve as an example on how to balance both areas.

Further, I am hoping that researchers in areas where nursing is not a strong voice, such as concussion research, see the importance of having a multidisciplinary approach and recognize the value of what the nursing perspective can bring to the table to move the field forward.

As an Indigenous nurse researcher, I also want to acknowledge and thank Dr. Leanne Currie for her mentorship, support, and guidance throughout my degree - she has been a rock.

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