I am a registered nurse and a psychologist. My greatest desire is to move family nursing forward and change health care (assessment and intervention) to include the central influence that relationships (i.e., families) have in health and healing.
In my career in academia, I had the privilege of working with and learning from Dr. Lorraine Wright at the Family Nursing Unit, University of Calgary where we were immersed one day a week with our graduate students in clinical scholarship with families experiencing illness. I helped organize the first International Family Nursing Conference in Calgary in 1988 which Lorraine Wright chaired. In 1992, Lorraine Wright, Wendy Watson Nelson, and I began a funded qualitative research project (with Dr. Kit Chesla, consultant) examining the advanced practice offered in the Family Nursing Unit. This groundbreaking research informed the development of the Illness Beliefs Model (1996, 2009). I accepted an invitation from SAGE Publications in 1993 to develop a peer-reviewed journal for family nursing. In 2005, I helped organize a conversation between family nursing colleagues to begin the work of establishing an international family nursing organization which was formed in 2009. In 2010, I accepted an invitation to help organize a federally funded research conversation about knowledge translation of Family Systems Nursing within an international community of family nursing scholars and practitioners.
My lead roles are a being a WEAVER and a CONNECTOR: Who can I connect? How can I help people promote their ideas for family health and healing? How can I create a web of relationships in the family nursing world to speed up connections and collaboration between family nursing and family health colleagues? How can I speed up the spread of family nursing? How can I champion the spread of family focused, collaborative health care?
I see various systems levels where leverage for change in family focused care is possible. I focus on promoting the work of others in order to move family nursing forward—prospective journal authors, international family nursing colleagues, and family scholars and practitioners outside of nursing who focus on family health and healing. I make it a priority to encourage the scholarship of international colleagues so that their ideas and work can be more accessible in English. I use as many channels as possible to communicate the urgency about family-focused health care: Journal of Family Nursing; membership in family organizations such as the International Family Nursing Association IFNA, National Council on Family Relations NCFR, Collaborative Family HealthCare Association CFHA, American Family Therapy Academy AFTA; involvement in the leadership of IFNA within the IFNA standing committee related to communications; my academic “home” at the University of Calgary; Janice M. Bell website; and my own social media sites on Twitter and Linkedin.
I love teaching an intensive 4-day signature workshop called the Family Externship with Dr. Lorraine Wright about advanced practice with families experiencing illness using the family nursing models we have developed. This workshop has reached hundreds of family nursing and family health scholars and practitioners around the world (join us in Switzerland in May 2020) who have learned how to compassionately and skillfully address illness suffering in their family focused practice, research, and education.
I am dedicated to serving, leading, and mentoring. My greatest hope is to see family nursing/family focused care offered as “usual” practice in all health care settings around the world. Family health, well-being, and healing…
Together, we can make a difference for families!