As AU’s Faculty of Health Disciplines takes part in National Nursing Week in Canada, May 7–13, 2018, we’re proud to salute the thousands of alumni, students, and faculty who are passionate about improving the health and well-being of people across Canada and beyond. From the front lines of patient care, to leadership and administration, to research and teaching, there is much to celebrate! #YesThisIsNursing #NationalNursingWeek
Challenge, Diversity, Reward
Not long ago, two 2016 graduates from the Master of Nursing program were awarded two of AU’s top alumni honours. Lt. Col. Rhonda Crew and Jennifer Jackson epitomize the high levels of knowledge and skill developed through the Faculty of Health Disciplines — and the challenge, diversity, and rewards to be found in nursing careers.
Meet Rhonda Crew
Lt. Col. Rhonda Crew, a Nursing Policy and Staff Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, was appointed Chief of Nursing Services in January 2017. This was just the latest in a string of accolades that began when she joined the CAF more than 20 years ago, and is among the many reasons why a career in education, community service and caring earned the Stittsville, Ont., resident Athabasca University’s 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award.
On the job, Crew excels in coaching and mentorship, and oversees the training of Military Nursing Officers to ensure they are sufficiently prepared for missions domestic and international. “My role is to support the nurses to be able to do their jobs to the best of their ability,” Crew says. Creating the Canadian Forces’ Health Services Coaching and Mentoring program in 2016 reflects that commitment, as does her advocacy for mental and physical ‘after care’ for nurses returning from overseas assignments and needing time to re-integrate successfully into their home lives.
Meet Jennifer Jackson
Jennifer Jackson celebrated finishing her AU degree by sharing a wonderful meal with her family on their Alberta farm, and then hopping on a plane to England to start her PhD at King’s University College in London. She’s been there ever since, researching organizational resilience in nursing with the hopes of empowering and educating future nurses to excel in their profession.
Jackson received AU’s Rising Star Alumni Award for her ability to see health systems from a broad vantage point. It’s a view honed through experiences living across Canada, which enable her to reflect on how the country’s natural landscapes impact communities. From the fisheries along the East Coast to the farms in the West, “by living in these places, I’ve had opportunities to get a better understanding of how land and related industry influences the way communities are formed,” she says.
Jackson went to London armed with extensive nursing knowledge and confidence built on her Canadian achievements — from creating a hospital social media campaign and spreading best-practice awareness in diabetes management, to competing in the Chicago Marathon and raising substantial funds for the Canadian Lung Association.