How can we best integrate new nurses into a diverse network of health regions and specialties? How can we ensure they are given the knowledge and tools they need do their work, now an in future? The wideranging work of Dr. Angela Wolff is helping the Fraser Health Authority (FHA) and other organizations answer these questions, and build the potential of nurses in an ever-more complex health care environment.
Working in Surrey in BC’s Lower Mainland, Angela is Director of Clinical Education, Professional Practice and Integration. Her doctoral dissertation on Understanding the Influences of Diversity on the Nursing Workforce, completed for her Doctorate of Philosophy in Nursing with the University of British Columbia, is one example of her research interests that enrich clinical practice through understanding complicated practical issues around nursing.
Since Angela came into her role at FHA, she has been the health authority’s principal investigator on nine research studies. These include studies for validating normative scales, determining drivers of co-worker treatment and support, measuring the impact of care models and more. “Her knowledge of research design, methodology and analysis meets the gold standard for validity and reliability,” says FHA Director for Evaluation and Research Services Susan Chunick.
“Workplace environments characterized by conflict, bullying and horizontal violence, rather than by collaboration are detrimental to both nurses and their patients,” says Canadian Nurses Association President Barbara Mildon. “As the nursing workforce ages, creating positive work environments is crucial to foster retention and recruitment and provide the foundation for practice excellence… I believe the results of this research will provide important tools to make a positive difference in the workplace.”
Angela implemented the Nurse Research Facilitator Role at the Fraser Health Authority, improving capacity building and getting practical results. “For instance, novice nurse researchers have had their ‘Point of Care’ Research Challenge’ work, initiated by Angela, published and presented internationally,” says Chunick. “The research has been incorporated into clinical decision support tools that directly benefit our patients.”
In addition to her work with Fraser Health, Angela is an ongoing peer reviewer for four nursing journals. She has also been awarded individually or as part of a team over $5 million in research funding from some of the most impressive foundations in the field, including the Michael Smith Foundation, Sigma Theta Tau International and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. As well, she has produced five peer-reviewed publications and provides countless conference presentations locally and abroad.
As a researcher, role model, mentor and consultant, Angela takes a collaborative approach. She supports her co-investigators on studies, helping them write and submit abstracts for presentations and key events and nominating them for awards. As a reflection of this proactive approach, she was given a 2011 Award for Outstanding Leadership in Advancing Interprofessional Education and Professional Development.
Angela continues to promote research projects with a practical, positive impact on nursing care and patient outcomes to benefit all British Columbians.