By Anastasia Mallidou, BSN, MScN, PhD

Dr. Carole Estabrooks was our Research Conversation guest on March 7th as part of the UVic IdeaFest celebration. Dr. Estabrooks is Professor, Faculty of Nursing, at the University of Alberta and a Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Translation. Last month, Carole was announced as a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Translation, the first nurse to be so honored. This award is given to researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their fields. Dr. Estabrooks leads the Knowledge Utilization Studies Program (KUSP) at the University of Alberta: and

Carole drew a large audience, comprised of our own faculty, staff and graduate students as well as guests from across campus. Her presentation focused on her applied health services research program that includes numerous projects, but particularly on a longitudinal study about knowledge translation in residential long term care facilities, called Translating Research in Elder Care (TREC). The goal of the program is to improve care for elderly residents in nursing homes by examining how the organizational environment affects the use of best practices. Carole skillfully integrated her own career trajectory with an informative
description of her particular interest in the influence of workplace context on healthcare providers’ behavior. Front-line caregivers in nursing homes mainly consist of unregulated healthcare providers with few opportunities to learn about new knowledge skills and strategies for their routine care practices. To assist them, Carole and her research team have developed and tested various interventions to increase this population’s use of research findings and thus improve quality of care, resident outcomes, and provider work life experiences.

Carole’s combination of personal and research anecdotes clearly exemplified her passion and commitment to improving the quality of life in the last months and years for the elderly in nursing homes, the majority of whom have dementia and who are among some of our society’s most vulnerable citizens. Carole’s presentation was filled with inspirational strategies and advice generously shared. For example, she advised that for success as an academic “big R” researcher, new doctoral graduates and faculty should 1) focus, focus, focus; 2) do not move from university to university, and 3) publish, publish, publish as soon as possible. Definitely, she offered us much food for thought. Carole’s formula can be fruitful and successful, when someone does loyally follow it. Thank you, Carole!

Anastasia Mallidou is an Assistant Professor in the UVic School of Nursing.

From the 2012 Spring Communiqué — Informatics