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Dr. Kathy Rush

2014 CRNBC Nursing Excellence Award recipient

Excellence in Nursing Education

Associate Professor
UBC School of Nursing Okanagan Campus

Going beyond the foundations of nursing education, Dr. Kathy Rush is an innovative educator, team leader and mentor with a true gift for engaging others. An award-winning instructor and frequently-cited researcher, Kathy continues to push the boundaries of curriculum and practice, influencing educational trends here and around the world.

Kathy is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Nursing. A former Acting Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Development in Kelowna, she has been actively involved in the graduate programs at UBC Okanagan since its inception and remains a graduate program coordinator. Whether building programs from the ground up, teaching in a classroom or carrying out important research, she always makes her presence felt.

“I had the privilege of having Kathy as my professor for a course on nursing research and inquiry,” recalls Christine Gregory. “Throughout the course, she used innovative teaching methods to engage students and encourage participation with technology, interactive activities and intriguing discussions… Kathy also provided mentorship for my work as a research assistant, providing me with constructive feedback; her passion shows through her enthusiastic and caring approach.”

Kathy has shown exemplary leadership as the graduate program coordinator, advising and guiding students as needed, chairing an MSN program committee and also representing nursing at the College of Graduate Studies. Indeed, she helped launch this new MSN program, playing an instrumental role in preparing future nurse educators to rise to the top of their fields. She is particularly well known as an expert in care of the older adult, but her expertise is far ranging as well.

Nursing education, as in other fields, has benefited greatly from adopting new methods and technology; Kathy helped this change to come about. “For example, she has developed teaching strategies using laptop computers in the classroom to connect practice to evidence,” says Dr. Patricia Marck. Her efforts to publicize these new methods have won many converts — her work has been cited nearly 100 times in other online research clearly influencing teaching modalities far beyond the local setting.

Kathy is also researching one of the most pressing issues in nursing education: finding evidence for best practices to support new nursing graduate transitions into the clinical setting, work she is doing for a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research project. Results from online surveys and focus groups have already been used to develop a report to the MSFHR and three peer-reviewed publications and Kathy is developing a best practice toolkit based on this research: “The work is not only timely, but critical when we consider the complex health care environments that new graduates are entering,” Marck says.

Always cognizant of the need to keep her own knowledge up to date, Kathy attends and presents at conferences relating to her field of expertise. She is constantly conducting research and writing: she has published 16 peer-reviewed articles and given countless presentations on nursing education.

As a professor, Kathy is seen as professional, approachable and supportive. “I have never encountered a more dedicated teacher who is thoroughly committed to student well-being,” says colleague Dr. Barbara Pesut.

A tireless teacher, scholar and servant to public health, Kathy Rush continues to bring talent and high standards of excellence that other nursing faculty aspire to achieve.

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