Public health nursing is a specialty that requires a unique mix of medical knowledge and flair for communications. Joanne Ricci has taught and practised in this field for many years, helping cultivate new crops of dedicated front-line nurses while improving the health of BC residents. She has been a Course Leader in Public Health Nursing for over 17 years, developing the course and adapting it to changing needs of graduates who want to offer the best health care possible.
While she began her nursing education career as a specialist in medical-surgical nursing, Joanne shifted to teaching primarily in public and community-based health care delivery — a role for which she has earned a reputation as an effective educator. “Several of the UBC Nursing graduates that I know who work in Public Health who had Joanne as an instructor frequently say that she is the reason they chose to become public health nurses,” says colleague Connie Unger. “Joanne’s energy, passion and conviction in the important role of health promotion for children, youth and adults inspires both students and colleagues.”
Joanne has played a leading role in curriculum development and implementation for community care nursing for all undergraduate students in the UBC School of Nursing Program. She works closely with colleagues in the public health practice setting to communicate important learning opportunities of benefit to all.
Whether she’s teaching through lecturing, tutorials, seminars, clinical laboratory instruction and clinical practice supervision, Joanne is a total professional. She is an enthusiastic innovator, taking learning outside the classroom where beneficial: for instance, she recently developed a partnership with the UBC Faculties of Pharmacy and Medicine to have nursing students deliver influenza vaccines across the UBC campus. She has also partnered with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control in the wellknown “Do Bugs Need Drugs” campaign, informing the public about safe and effective antibiotic use. She engages students through health fairs, community clinics and more.
“These kinds of initiatives engage our students meaningfully in the community, showing the professionalism needed to bring nursing assessments and outreach to the public, immersing them in an accelerated learning program,” says colleague Sally Thorne.
Joanne mentors and inspires as she teaches. “She is a warm, caring person committed to her students’ success,” says Registered Nurse Ranjit Dhari. “She goes above and beyond her duties in supporting them to succeed, especially when they experience a crisis. I have watched Joanne spend many hours in advocacy and connecting students to appropriate services when they have challenges. She handles this in a professional, ethical manner, maintaining the confidentiality of the student — and ultimately puts in extra time making sure that student meets her high standards and graduates as a professional nurse.” An important part of teaching is ensuring your own skills and knowledge set are up to date and Joanne is very responsible in this regard. She participates in many formal and informal professional development activities to continually upgrade her own knowledge and credentials.
“Joanne’s experience and knowledge in health education is impressive, but her true skill lies in knowing how to effectively relay that knowledge in a meaningful way,” says colleague Gilda Mahabir. “She is never too busy to respond to a question, making herself available to her team day or night. Even though she has been doing this job for several years, her drive never wanes.”