Nursing is a challenging profession. The modern hospital system as we know it in Canada has only been in existence for the past century. That does not seem like very long, yet our collective memories are short enough that for many of us the organization of our healthcare system, largely centralized in hospitals, seems as if it has always been so. Similarly, mental hospitals have been in existence for about the same amount of time, with a different, yet related story of convergence with general hospitals. In turn, the paths of mental health nurses seem to diverge from that of general nurses. Being a mental health nurse poses unique challenges, some of which stem from the structure of the mental health system, some of which stem from the structure of the greater healthcare system and in turn how those structures impact nursing. Not a lot of nurses in Canada pursue doctoral degrees. Not a lot of nurses in Canada pursue research. There is an even smaller pool of those nurses who choose to take the bold leap to do research in areas and with methods that are not well established and embraced within the traditional academic community. Embarking on a doctoral degree focused on mental health care is a bold path to choose for nurses in Canada, especially if a critical approach is taken. The experience of a doctoral program alone can feel like a never-ending uphill battle in which obstacles and setbacks pop-up that were never anticipated. This month’s guest, Liquaa Wazni has made some bold decisions in her research to hopefully change the mental health system in Canada. Listen to her story on this month’s episode of The Shift Change.
Liquaa Wazni is a registered nurse and a nursing PhD(c) at the University of Ottawa. Her doctoral research focused on exploring the use of digital storytelling as a methodology to promote epistemic justice for people with psychotic disorder and establish a line of communication. By situating herself within the critical social paradigm, she strove to understand and shed light on factors that subjugate voices of people with psychotic disorders from informing research, practices, and policies. Her goal as a researcher/educator is to address the professional mandate of social justice and bringing voices of marginalized people including those with a mental illness forward into programs, practices, and services to improve healthcare delivery and patient outcomes. She is also interested in addressing nurses’ ambivalence with political agency to promote social mission of fostering justices, uncovering inequities, and promoting patient-centered care by challenging systems and structures that exert a discriminatory and oppressive power. Since her enrollment in the graduate studies in 2013, she has been involved in multiple diverse research projects and publications, including designing and co-facilitating a Community of Practice (CoP), which is a form of social learning that supports group engagement, dialogue, debate, and networking for graduate students at the University of Ottawa. Prior to academia, she worked as a medical/surgical, community and mental health nurse in Ontario.
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