Leanne Kelly, BA, BSN, MN | Assistant Teaching Professor

I am Cree/Metis, originally from Saskatchewan, and am a U of S grad (Go Huskies!) I moved to Vancouver Island in 1994 with my husband. We have two sons who are West Coast boys now and will probably never understand their parent’s love of the prairies. I completed my Masters degree at UVic in 2000 and have worked for the SoN as a sessional instructor in the Distance program since that time. Early in my time with the SON I co-wrote the course “Nursing with Aboriginal Peoples in Canada” and have had the pleasure to connect with students across the country through that venue over the last ten years. My real love however has been the work that I have done in community as a front line nurse since I graduated in ’89. I have been privileged to work for Cowichan Tribes in Duncan for the last 22 years and have been invited into people’s lives in a way that has shaped the way I see health and wellness.

Through out my nursing career I have been an advocate for student opportunities to learn from experience in community settings or by working through problems and situations that require processing and team discussion. Ultimately my teaching goal is to assist students in seeing that people are their own best advocates if given the space and tools to be heard. My perspective in how we create that space is grounded in indigenous processes such as storytelling, observation, circle work and consideration of the impacts on the whole person.

My life teachers have contributed to the way that I nurse and teach. Those mentors have demonstrated that learning doesn’t come at specified times, it comes when we ourselves become open to it. My job as a nurse, is to continually try to create opportunity for that openness. I recognize that our world has inherent barriers to self actualization. I also know only through this intentional awareness and action can I assist in breaking down those barriers and in turn make a difference for those I work with.

The use of the circle in my classes as a tool for discourse has created both tension and release. The unfamiliarity of not being able to ‘jump in’ to contribute whenever a student wishes can create uncertainty and confusion. At the same time, the creation of space for an individual to speak and to have complete command of the floor can be daunting and create insecurity. What I have found over time is that with practice and support of the process, students begin to relax into it. They prepare to contribute because they know their turn is coming, it draws out ideas from individuals that may never be quick enough to jump in to have their idea heard, and it allows some time for reflection as the circle is progressing. Often students will reveal that during that time they think of new ideas and thoughts to contribute to the discussion and even change their perspectives to see in new ways.

In the book entitled, Memory Serves, (2015) author and activist, Lee Maracle succinctly posits that ‘teachings’ “are not dictums to be blindly followed. They are meant to be the beginnings of the development of governance or theory but the individual is expected to interpret them personally.” (p.5) If we think of teaching in this way, we are active and building… not summative or final. We are seeking a burst of knowledge within each other, co-learners, exchanging and twisting ideas to seek new ways of understanding. We are growing… all of us, including the teacher.

These words push my own pedagogy towards finding transformational moments that are experienced through finding the fertile ground of openness, safety, and trust. We take risks by exposing our thoughts, we take chances when we explore new ones and then we take time to rest with an idea that has settled within.

Nancy Clark, RN, PhD | Assistant Professor

I am an alumna of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia and Intersections in Mental Health and Addiction Research Training. My research is informed by social justice, intersectionality and equity oriented health and social policy. My clinical practice area focuses on community mental health and
integration of social determinants of health of structurally vulnerable groups, including immigrant women and other groups affected by displacement.

My practice as a teacher began in the community practice setting in the early 90’s. At that time I was providing case management and outreach support for persons living with mental illness and addictions in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side community. Since, that time I have had the opportunity to provide mentorship through community preceptorship placements, and develop a curriculum in mental health nursing through community engaged collaboration with the Justice Education Society in British Columbia. My philosophy of teaching draws from these experiences and is committed to teaching and learning practices which foster integration of lived realities and real world contexts so that critical reflexive practice is fostered to promote advocacy and social justice. I believe that critical pedagogical approaches not only recognize and integrate diverse learning but also foster critical dialogue and emancipatory learning when applied to nursing knowledge and practice.

Dzifa Dordunoo, RN, PhD | Assistant Professor

As a clinician, Dzifa has 16 years of varied clinical practice experience working in general medicine and coronary care units mostly at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. In addition, she worked both at the outpatient sickle cell and the heart failure clinics.

As an educator, she has been involved in educating entry level nursing students formerly at the Johns Hopkins University and University of Maryland Baltimore. She previously worked with the Johns Hopkins Austere Anaesthesia Outcomes Group on a critical care education project in Ghana where she developed and facilitated a workshop for critical care nurses. Moreover, she has mentored clinical nurse leaders and doctors of nursing practice students on practice issues affecting patients with cardiac problems.

As a scholar and researcher, she worked on several investigator-initiated studies and phase III/IV FDA clinical trials at the Johns Hopkins University. She has strong research interests in the inpatient management of patients with cardiovascular disease, and the nursing care processes that govern their hospitalization. Her recent research focused on identifying hospital predictors of all-cause 30-day hospital readmission among patients with heart failure. Dzifa has also co-authored book chapter, published several articles in peer-reviewed journals as well as in turn, serving as a reviewer for nursing journals.

She earned her bachelor’s degree (with distinction) from University of Victoria, Canada and holds a Master’s degree from Duke University with post-master’s certificate in clinical research management and teaching. She completed her doctoral education at the University of Maryland Baltimore.

My formal teaching career began in 2011 as a clinical instructor at Johns Hopkins School of nursing. Over the years I progressed to teaching in a classroom setting at the University Of Maryland School of nursing. My beliefs about teaching and learning are congruent with the humanistic philosophy, which utilizes active learner-centered approaches. As a humanistic educator, I am constantly challenged to recognize the individuality of the learners I encounter and to construct a learning experience that is an amalgamation of their various learning styles.

I was primarily responsible for Adult health (medical-surgical nursing), the cornerstone course in moulding future nurses in the Clinical Nurse Leader program. The course is focused on helping students summarize information from previous semesters and identify priorities in the care of assigned patients in acute care settings. To help students with this enormous task, I incorporated various teaching and learning strategies over two semesters. Some of the major contributions that I made to that class were introducing case studies, day/evening clinical rotations and structured post conferences hand off reporting. Currently in my position at the University of
Victoria, I am teaching N425 – statistics, N342 – Global health and consolidated practice education courses. These courses are a culmination of my strengths in nursing and areas that I am most interested in.

I am most passionate about acute care bedside nursing as result, in all my courses that I teach I make every effort to incorporate information that will guide and challenge students’ thinking. The ultimate goal is to graduate safe nurses; a process which is overshadowed by some students’ desire for high grades. That withstanding, the human interactions that develop create lasting imprints that guide the students in their future careers as nurses. Often it is only when confronted with clinical situations does it become clear that the goal was achieved. I am not always a witness to these proud moments, but the testimony of patients and others who cross paths with graduates from nursing programs that I am affiliated with confirms the teaching success.