Below are a few thoughts about two sessions I was in today.

Interprofessional education

Emily Donato shared her PhD work examining how Northern Ontario undergraduate university programs are integrating Interprofessional education (IPE) in their programs. Using the Normalization Process Theory as a framework. The take-away is that we need to include more language around IPE in all our courses. There is a lot naturally occurring that should be acknowledged.

Indigenous Culture in Institutions

Examining culture of institutions was the focus of Kay Vallee’s PhD work. Cultural competence and cultural safety are seen in the literature as key strategies. Kay’s research critically examined at how institutions shaped student experiences using postcolonial feminist theory as a framework. Having recently been to UBC, I noticed that the institution does several things to promote inclusion.

A sign on UBC campus with Indigenous language.

For example, their signs have indigenous language on them. Kay’s study did not specifically look at UBC. The institution where the reesarch happened was not identified (that would not be ethical).

Kay’s findings showed that racism still exists in nursing school. One thing that stood out to me was that the participants talked about wanting to be viewed as human just like everyone else. It is sad that this still exists in our classes today. It is also difficult to actualize this in cases where where some of our students exhibit racism.

Another thing that stood out was how inadequate textbooks are. Educators use them anyway because they do not feel comfortable enough with the content to do it without the book. Why are we making students pay for inadequate resources? Maybe there is something open that should be used instead. Laurentian, for example, has some resources that could possibly replace textbooks at some point.

The major insights included the problematic nature of the term cultural competence as opposed to cultural safety. This article talks about the need to remove cultural competence as a focus because it promotes racism.


Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit


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