New $1.5-million Indigenous research chair advances Indigenous wellness in nursing
A Thompson Rivers University professor has been awarded a national Indigenous research chair position in nursing from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
Dr. Lisa Bourque Bearskin is one of six researchers from across the country — and the only one from B.C. — to receive the honour, supported by $1.52 million in funding over five years.
Additional funding support will be coming from the First Nations Health Authority, the Canadian Nursing Foundation and TRU.
Bourque Bearskin’s research focuses on advancing Indigenous health nursing that promotes wellness and participation and “which empowers nurses to advocate for patient access to traditional wellness practices within culturally safe health-care environments,” according to a release from TRU.
“The fact that CIHR devoted six chairs across the country to this program is significant. It recognizes the talents and the leadership that Indigenous nurses have, and how they can contribute to making authentic changes in health care,” Bourque Bearskin said.
This research program is grounded in Borque Bearskin’s own nehiway teachings of mâmawoh kamâtowin, which means coming together to help each other.
“This way, I get to practise in my own way of knowing, while working with knowledge holders and nurses within Secwépemc'ulucw, the traditional territory of the Secwépemc people as a way of recognizing and honouring Indigenous nurses from this region,” she said.
The position establishes a formalized platform to empower not just Indigenous nurses, but all nurses, to carefully rethink their role within health care, she said.
Bourque Bearskin, a member of Beaver Lake Cree Nation in Treaty 6 Territory about 100 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, has spent 30 years as a registered nurse advocating for improved health-care service delivery to Indigenous populations. She is affiliated with the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing, the International Public Health Association and the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association, of which she was past-president.