Two graduate nursing students at UBC Okanagan have received national awards recognizing and supporting their research contributions to the nursing profession.
Kaley York, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) student, has received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships - Master's Award for her thesis "Parents' lived experience of having a child with Asperger Syndrome."
The award is given to a select number of students across Canada who are pursuing a master's degree in a health-related field, and have an exceptionally high potential for future research achievement and productivity. Applications undergo a highly competitive peer review process.
To be a top-ranked candidate and eligible for this award, the candidate must demonstrate excellence in his or her achievements and activities, characteristics and abilities, and the research training environment.
"It is an honour and a privilege to receive this prestigious CIHR Master's Award," says York, who ranked first in the competition. "This award supports research that will help strengthen the provision of nursing care to families who have a child with Asperger's Syndrome."
Research on Asperger's Syndrome -- a high functioning form of autism -- continues to be in the exploratory phase.
Fellow MSN student Lorrianne Topf has received a Psychosocial Oncology Research Training (PORT) fellowship in March to support her thesis research project, "When a desired home death does not occur: family caregiver experiences."
The PORT fellowship is a transdisciplinary graduate research initiative funded by the CIHR that provides financial support to masters, doctoral and post-doctoral students from a variety of health, social, organizational and technological sciences that share interests related to oncology, a branch of medicine dealing with tumors and cancer.
"I am absolutely grateful to have won this award," says Topf. "Little is known about the experience of family caregivers when a desired home death does not occur. To have (my) work recognized nationally validates the importance of bringing forward family caregivers' perspectives and recognizes the significance of their experiences in the provision of palliative care.
"As a researcher trainee, I am being prepared to bring new knowledge and evidence to oncology health care practices with the focus on contributing to the well-being of patients and their families."
Topf also received the Bryce Carnine Memorial Prize this year, which is a UBC Okanagan endowment given to an undergraduate or graduate student in the Faculty of Health and Social Development who has conducted a research project or special initiative related to the prevention or cure of cancer or improving quality of life for cancer patients.
Carole Robinson, acting director of the School of Nursing, and faculty supervisor of both students, says the national awards speak to the quality of the students' program of study as well as UBC Okanagan's ability to support students in their research.
"These awards recognize the high caliber of our MSN students," she says. "Both Lorrianne and Kaley are strong students with well-crafted research proposals focusing on topics where there has been little research. They are positioned to make significant contributions to nursing knowledge and their research will support enhanced nursing care of vulnerable patients and families."
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