(Originally published in the May 2012 issue of the Nova Scotia Business Journal - "National Nursing Week" special advertising feature)
A member of the 2012 graduating class of the nursing program at StFX has won first place in the Health Council of Canada’s 3rd Annual Health Innovation Challenge. Nursing student Elizabeth Gallivan’s entry, “Bridging the Osteoporosis Treatment Gap”, won first place in the Health Practice, Individual Category.
The Health Council received over 150 entries from over 220 individual and groups of students. Individual and group winners were named March 26 in the categories of health policy and health practice.
When the challenge launched in September, the Health Council asked college and university students to find innovative policies or practices in Canadian health care, tell why the innovations were working, and how they could be applied to the rest of the country.
In her entry, Gallivan, of Glace Bay, NS, wrote about a program to appoint case managers to help ensure patients with osteoporosis are identified and receive appropriate treatment to prevent osteoporotic fractures.
Another StFX student, Erika Kall, and Laura Stymiest, a recent graduate of the Community-Driven Health Impact Assessment program at the Coady International Institute at StFX, were also shortlisted for the national award.
The StFX submissions came about through a course assignment where three nursing professors, Dr. Charmaine McPherson, Dr. Elizabeth McGibbon, and Dr. Donna MacDougall, mentored about 100 students through the required component of the fourth-year Nursing Leadership and Research course.
Gallivan says she chose her topic because her grandmother had osteoporosis and suffered a series of fractures before eventually passing away from the resulting complications and decreased quality of life.
“For me, this win is really special. Not only is it a wonderful feeling to be recognized for my winning submission, it's an even better feeling to think of the potential this innovation has to prevent these complications and decreased quality of life occurring for the many other high-risk persons and the affected families and friends.”
She says one of the great things about the health innovation challenge was the fact that it required the applicants to identify a policy or practice that is having a positive impact on health care in Canada or abroad.
“It was nice to focus on something that is working and positively helping health care versus all of the negative aspects, problems and challenges we so often hear about. I'm a huge believer in the power of positive thinking and feel it really plays a big role in achieving better outcomes.
“I hope this informs the public of what an impact we as future registered nurses are capable of having on the health care system. Our professors and instructors have prepared us to become competent practitioners and know that our job goes much farther than performing ‘skills’ or ‘tasks’. Nursing goes beyond the bedside and has an extremely important role in achieving healthier outcomes for our populations.”
The future of health care
“This year’s winning entries are outstanding, thoughtful examples of innovations in health care,” says John G. Abbott, CEO of the Health Council of Canada. “These students represent the future of health care in Canada. We think it’s extremely important to engage youth in health care renewal and encourage them to learn from innovative practices and policies that are working.”
Each winner receives $1,000 and the chance to apply for a summer internship at the Health Council of Canada office in Toronto. Winners will also be invited to accept their award at a ceremony in June in Toronto.
*For more National Nursing Week stories, check out: http://www.ns.dailybusinessbuzz.ca/Industry-Spotlight/National-Nursing-Week-23617