One of the most respected nurse instructors in the Thompson Rivers University School of Nursing or anywhere in the province, Susan Ross is well known for her compassion, caring and high standards of nursing care. Her chosen specialization in the fields of death and dying, spirituality and the nurse-client relationship also makes her one of the most uniquely compelling nurses in the province. She is someone that both first year nursing students and longtime nursing professionals can rely on for meaningful, philosophical approaches to clinical problem solving.
“Students who take Susan’s course, ‘Death and Dying: Life and Living’, rave about her teaching style and the impact she has had on their learning and their personal development,” says Renee Anderson. “Many students have said that it should be a required course in the BScN program. Susan has a passion for the topic and we are lucky she is willing to share her knowledge with others.”
Susan developed the course on Death and Dying with the approval of the School of Nursing and it has become one of the most popular courses both for nursing and non-nursing students. She has adapted it to a blended learning course for some classes and introduced a range of innovative—and occasionally, dramatic ways of teaching about caring for patients transitioning through an end-of-life journey. She has experimented with new ways to engage her students throughout her long career as an instructor since the mid-1990s, following a successful beginning as a staff nurse on a medical/surgical unit and a neuro-intensive care ward.
Outside of her hands-on instructional work, Susan has actively helped shape educational policies and practices within the School of Nursing. “Susan generously shares her expertise at faculty development workshops and has worked with the BScN Program Evaluation committee, which collects and disseminates data that instructors and administrators can use to improve these programs. She is also co-chair of the TRU Teaching Practices Colloquium Committee that organizes an annual faculty event to share ideas, promote networking and strengthen ties between faculty in different disciplines.
While Susan’s nursing knowledge is widely admired, she is active in ensuring that her lessons are current and meeting her students’ needs. “Susan is highly respected as an expert nurse,” says RN Laura Ford. “She keeps her practice current by attending in-services and workshops and by doing ‘buddy’ shifts to re-familiarize herself with the ward routines and changes in the clinical setting.” She is always able to relate what she’s learned to how she can teach it; indeed, her popular curriculum was inspired through the completion of her Master’s degree in Science of Nursing from the University of British Columbia, which she was awarded in 2006.
Susan has shared her knowledge widely through important lectures and conference presentations. In recent years she has been invited to present at the iPANEL Symposium and Meeting, the Navigating Through the Health Care System community presentation and Playing in the Sandbox: Technology in Teaching.
Whether she’s in the classroom, clinical setting or conference, Susan has a natural ability to connect with nurses, nurture them and help them evolve, supporting patients undergoing their own delicate transitions.